by Scott Gold
True to its name, the world came to a rather abrupt end for the restaurant La Fin du Monde, which had a brief run recently on Magazine St. in the space that formerly housed Cafe Rani. Undaunted, Chef Jonathan Lestingi, along with bar manager Sonali Fernando, snapped up a sweet spot in the hoppin' Bywater for their newest venture, Oxalis, which opened today.
A first look at the new restaurant finds a place that fits perfectly into the neighborhood's hip vibe, with a vintage feel that would be just as home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as it is in the Ninth Ward.
The drink menu has a heavy focus on American whiskey, with a particular attention to bourbon. Those looking for staples like Bulleit, Basil Hayden's, Eagle Rare and Buffalo Trace will find them on Oxalis's shelf, as will whiskey geeks searching for inexpensive but enjoyable "plastic cap" offerings like Mellow Corn, Fighting Cock, and Old Charter, among others.
As for the food, Lestingi hasn't ventured too far from the menu at La Fin du Monde. Fans of the chef's previous venture will be well pleased to find his Korean bo ssam available (pork belly, mushrooms or shrimp served with popcorn rice and kimchi on butter lettuce). Small plates include a duck pâté, the requisite charcuterie and cheese plates, as well as sweet potato poutine, a jar of pickles with kimchi, frites with a pair of sauces, and Cajun-spiced buttered rum popcorn. There are also American and Korean-style chicken wings, a burger, steak frites and duck confit. A few vegetarian options include a cauliflower steak, as well as seasonal vegetables with polenta.
Oxalis, located at 3162 Dauphine St., is open seven days a week beginning at 4 p.m., and can be contacted at (504) 267-4776.