by Ian McNulty
Tonight is opening night for a new restaurant in Metairie, which also signals the return of a chef with a long history in the area.
The "Mike" of the new Mike's American Grill (4300 Veterans Memorial Blvd., 885-5566) is Michael Uddo, who was chef/owner at G&E Courtyard Grill in the French Quarter. G&E was open in the Decatur Street space now doing business as the lounge Pravda from 1990 until 1999, the year Uddo says the lease skyrocketed and became unfeasible. People who frequented G&E still rave about the cooking, especially the roasted rack of lamb and dishes from the restaurant's rotisserie.
Uddo got his start at the Bouligny, a bistro on Magazine Street open in the 1980s. After closing G&E he turned up at the gourmet food store New Harvest Market on St. Charles Avenue and later was chef at Nautical, a bistro on Maple Street. Like Bouligny, New Harvest and Nautical have long since closed. Uddo then moved on to Atlanta, where he worked for a corporate restaurant group until returning home last year.
Mike's American Grill takes over the building near the Clearview Mall that was until recently Ardoise, a short-lived fine-dining restaurant operated by the same owners, Kevin Lagraize and Bruce Frommeyer. It was the Italian eatery Sal & Sam's prior to that venture.
Uddo describes Mike's American Grill as a "modern day grill" with steaks, chops and grilled fish. There is a separate bar, and the chef is considering offering half-glasses of wine along with bottles and full glasses to facilitate inexpensive sampling from the wine list.
As of dinner tonight, the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner Mondays through Saturdays, including brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays.
-- Ian McNulty