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Martinis and More

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For nearly 19 years, The Bombay Club Restaurant and Martini Bistro (830 Conti St., 586-0972) has been a leading destination for locals and tourists seeking a place where classic sophistication meets French Quarter excitement. From the beginning, the club has deftly managed to embody the calm of an oasis while also capturing the lively pulse of its historic urban setting.

"The Bombay Club is not just a restaurant and it's not just a bar," says Richard Fiske, who has owned the club since 1996. "It's both. We're a half block from Bourbon Street, so customers can experience the revelry going on there and then come into the club and feel its tranquility and sophistication and ambiance. Depending on the evening they come in, it can feel like a supper club with entertainment in the background or a quiet, secluded, romantic place to have dinner."

Opened in 1985 by restaurateur Mark Turk, the club originally was located on Dumaine Street and was conceptualized as a restaurant/bar offering the refinement of a British gentlemen's club -- without the conventional limitation of being for men only. In 1993, the club relocated to a larger space in The Prince Conti Hotel -- a small luxury hotel in sync with The Bombay Club's discerning, upscale approach -- and expanded its seating and menus. Rich wood paneling, dark green walls, leather wingback chairs, Chippendale-style dining chairs, and private, curtained booths -- all overlooking an intimate courtyard -- provide a warm backdrop for pre-dinner cocktails, fine dining or a post theater or concert rendezvous featuring cigars and cognac. The Bombay Club is known for its martinis; its signature martini, the Breathless, is made with vodka, white creme de cocoa and Godiva chocolate liqueur, then is rimmed with cocoa powder and garnished with a chocolate swizzle stick.

But patrons also are fond of its equally creative menu of regional American Creole cuisine, and this year the club received four diamonds from AAA. Among the popular dishes prepared by award-winning chef Nick Gile are oysters Rockefeller, fried calamari, barbecue shrimp and The Bombay Filet. Meanwhile, the club's nightly live entertainment has garnered a loyal following of its own. Pianists are showcased Sunday through Thursday, and jazz and swing groups are featured on Fridays and Saturdays.

For those interested in the privacy and grandeur of an historic 19th century home, The Bombay Club caters private functions in The Valentino Conti House, an opulent townhouse built in 1835 by renowned architect James Gallier Jr. and located next to the hotel. Five private dining rooms with 14-foot ceilings, original crown moldings and pocket doors can be reserved separately or together for a variety of events ranging from wedding rehearsal dinners to cocktail receptions. And this month, while The Bombay Club undergoes renovations and updates (including a new sound system) through Jan. 15, nightly diners will be served in the townhouse, a rare treat that Fiske says patrons won't want to miss. "It's like dining in a fine, old New Orleans home," he says. "It's a kind of elegance that's unforeseen by many."

Good Deeds, Great Rewards

Eat, drink and be merry -- all for a great cause -- during the grand opening celebration of Bijoux Bistro and Blu Bar (1011 Village Walk Shopping Center, 985-875-3111) in downtown Covington at 7 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 10).

The business, which opened Dec. 5, is sharing proceeds from the grand opening with Hospice of St. Tammany. Tickets are $40 per person.

Ansley Pair and Genia Hartman, owners of the new restaurant and bar, have tapped Chef Peter Kusiw, formerly of Patout's Restaurant, to prepare contemporary French Creole cuisine. The restaurant also features a large selection of wine sold by the glass and also specializes in martinis. The restaurant and bar are open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.

Challenge of the Heart

A half-dozen health care professionals will be on hand to advise women about how to maintain cardiovascular health during a workshop from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 11) at East Jefferson General Hospital.

The workshop, titled "Woman and the Heart ... A Healthy Challenge" is designed for women 18 to 85 and will educate them about the effects an unhealthy lifestyle has on the heart as well as ways to keep the vital organ healthy.

The workshop -- sponsored by Hadassah, the American Heart Association and the National Council of Jewish Women -- will include a choice of sessions as well as a final workshop by registered nurse Melanie Alford of East Jefferson Hospital.

Admission is $5 per person for those who register before Wednesday (Jan. 7). Call Ruth Hartman at 455-5548.

Known for its martinis, the Bombay Club also offers - a menu of American Creole cuisine and recently - received four diamonds from AAA. - AMANDA FRANK
  • Amanda Frank
  • Known for its martinis, the Bombay Club also offers a menu of American Creole cuisine and recently received four diamonds from AAA.

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