"Modern Southern" is the concept for Tivoli & Lee (926 St. Charles Ave., 504-962-0909; www.tivoliandlee.com), the restaurant now open inside the Hotel Modern on Lee Circle.
Across the restaurant, that term translates to regional flavors and favorites treated to creative reinterpretations. Sauteed black drum comes with succotash and fried onions; deviled eggs are topped with remoulade and chicken cracklings; the bar specializes in contemporary whiskey cocktails, and andouille tots make appearances as sides and bar snacks. Andouille tots?
"We make them from shredded potatoes and add rendered andouille and manchego," says chef Mike Nirenberg.
Pork belly with pickled greens, an egg cream spiked with whiskey on the dessert menu and a lunch menu po-boy combining fried oysters and pulled pork continue the approach across the board at Tivoli & Lee.
The restaurant space previously was Tamarind by Dominique, the Vietnamese/French concept from chef Dominique Macquet that lasted about a year before closing last fall. In the interim, the Hotel Modern brought in Nirenberg to operate an extended pop-up concept called Why Not? in the space. James Stuart, the creative director for the hotel, says Tivoli & Lee grew out of that experience.
"We want it to be approachable, with a pure and simple attitude to dining with Mike's sensibility for what's fresh and local," Stuart says.
A redesign accentuates views of the circle, and outdoor tables are coming soon. The bar has been revamped too, but there's still a familiar face behind it. Kimberly Patton-Bragg, who created cocktails for Tamarind, is in charge of drinks at Tivoli & Lee. Nirenberg also is developing a new menu of bar food for Bellocq, the upscale craft cocktail lounge also inside the Hotel Modern. Tivoli & Lee serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.