by Ian McNulty
Across the restaurant, that term translates to regional flavors and favorites treated to some creative reinterpretations. So sautéed black drum comes with succotash and fried onions, deviled eggs are topped with remoulade and chicken cracklin’s, the bar specializes in contemporary whiskey cocktails and andouille tots make a few appearances as sides and bar snacks. Andouille tots?
“We make them from shredded potatoes and add rendered andouille and manchego,” explains chef Mike Nirenberg, an alum of Patois, the wine bar Oak and the Delachaise.
Pork belly with pickled greens, an egg cream on the dessert menu spiked with whiskey and, at lunch, a po-boy combining fried oysters and pulled pork continue the approach across the menu at Tivoli & Lee.
The restaurant space was previously Tamarind by Dominique, the Vietnamese/French concept from chef Dominique Macquet which lasted not quite 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?, which each week changed up to feature different menus and purveyors from a network of local farmers, fishermen and other suppliers. James Stuart, the creative director for the hotel, says Tivoli & Lee grew out of the Why Not? experience.
“We want it to be approachable with a pure and simple attitude to dining and Mike’s sensibility for what’s fresh and local,” Stuart says.
A redesign since the Tamarind days accentuates views of Lee Circle, while outdoor tables are coming soon. The bar has been revamped too, but there’s still a familiar face behind it. Kimberly Patton-Bragg, who orchestrated the cocktails for Tamarind, is in charge of drinks at Tivoli & Lee, where the focus is on whiskey.
Small plates (remember appetizers?) will run you $11 to $13, though entrees are more modest, with most falling in the $18 to $24 range.
Nirenberg is also working up 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.
Tivoli & Lee
926 St. Charles Ave., (504) 962-0909