The Munch Factory (6325 Elysian Fields Ave., 504 324-5372; www.the- munchfactory.net) raised the bar for restaurants in its Gentilly neighborhood when it opened last year with a menu combining New Orleans traditions (Creole gumbo, roast beef po-boys) and more classical traditions (the fines herbes chicken is one of my favorite examples of roasted chicken around town).
Recently, proprietors Alexis and Jordan Ruiz moved the Munch Factory to a new location near the University of New Orleans (UNO) campus.
Initially, the Munch Factory will keep its same schedule, serving dinner Tuesday through Saturday and lunch on Fridays only. By October, Alexis Ruiz says, they plan to add lunch on more days. This new Munch Factory is significantly larger than the original location, both in the dining room and the kitchen.
"Before, the kitchen was the size of a bedroom, now it's like a living room," Ruiz says. "We made it work, but it was really difficult."
The larger kitchen will allow Jordan to expand his menu and serve on a regular basis some dishes previously available only as specials. One of those is fines herbes chicken, which is first sauteed, then roasted and finished with a creamy sauce of fines herbes, a textbook French culinary bouquet of tarragon, chives, parsley and chervil. Panko-crusted potato croquettes with smoked Gouda and tasso and green beans complete the plate and neatly showcase what this kitchen does best. The Ruizes also plan to expand the menu with more salads, gourmet pizzas and other dishes intended to appeal to UNO students and faculty looking for quick meal options. The Munch Factory may add bicycle delivery service catering to the UNO campus, and a full bar is in the works pending a liquor license.