Cobalt (333 St. Charles Ave., 565-5595; www.cobaltrestaurant.com) has a new name in the kitchen, Chef David English . The restaurant began as a project of Susan Spicer . Brack May then took over the kitchen and added the popular fried chicken and waffles to the menu. Since May left last summer, Cobalt has been a chef-driven restaurant without a chef. With English in charge, according to the restaurant's management, Cobalt's menu now focuses on 'Contemporary New Orleans cuisine with a dash of the deep South.' New items include grilled Gulf shrimp with Croque Darlin', shrimp in New Orleans-style barbecue sauce with grit fries and duck breast with confit dirty rice and honey glaze jus. English became enchanted with New Orleans while working at Bella Luna . After traveling throughout France and Spain, he returned to create New Orleans cuisine that highlights the city's French and Spanish roots. No matter what changes English implements, though, the fried chicken and waffles will always be on the Thursday lunch menu.
The new Arnaud's Restaurant Cookbook (Pelican) is both a recipe collection from the French Quarter mainstay and a history of Creole cuisine. Author Kit Wohl , who has handled Arnaud's (813 Bienville Ave., 523-5433; www.arnauds.com) marketing since Archie A. Casbarian acquired the restaurant 25 years ago, mixes classic recipes for turtle soup, eggs Sardou and pompano Duarte with archival photos and trivia from the restaurant's 87-year history. A reprinted menu from the 1930s, for example, boasts a dozen potato dishes, 17 fish preparations and not a single item costing more than $2. All of the recipes were carefully tested by a team of amateur cooks to ensure that Arnaud's flavors can be faithfully replicated by any home chef. At the New Orleans Writers' Conference (www.neworleanswritersconference.com), Wohl will discuss the process of writing the cookbook at a panel at 2:15 p.m. Thursday, May 12. Garden District Books (The Rink, 2727 Prytania St., 895-2266) also will host a signing at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21.
Bienville on Bourbon
Oysters Bienville might be on the menu of many New Orleans restaurants, but the broiled oysters topped with a creamy sauce full of mushroom and shrimp haven't been served at Galatoire's (209 Bourbon St., 525-2021; www.galatoires.com) for nearly a decade. At 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, as part of the restaurant's celebration of its 100th anniversary, Galatoire's will feature oysters Bienville on a special $85 prix fixe menu that also includes asparagus and hearts of palm salad, filet with roasted shallot compound butter, brabant potatoes and crepes suzette. Reservations are required. At dinners to be held on Aug. 2 and Nov. 8, two more retired dishes will return to Galatoire's dining room.