UPDATE: An earlier version of this article listed the start date for the pop-up as Nov. 2; Bechtold has pushed back the opening, and this post has been updated.
Chef Rob Bechtold, who ran NOLA Smokehouse, will be popping up at Bevi Seafood Co. on Nov. 2 with Asian baos and more.
Weeks after shuttering his barbecue operation NOLA Smokehouse, pit-master Rob Bechtold is back behind the stove. Bayou Bao, an Asian-inspired concept featuring the steamed buns omnipresent in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine, will pop up at Bevi Seafood
(235 N. Carrollton Ave., 504-488-7503). No date has been set yet for the pop-up.
It’s the newest business venture from Bechtold, who together with his wife, Emily, ran the Irish Channel barbecue darling, NOLA Smokehouse
. The duo shut the business Oct. 3 due to an illness in the family, but not before closing days saw up to 200 people lining up around the block for Bechtold’s slow-smoked meats and fatty, burnt ends.
“It was a great way to go out … and we do appreciate all the well wishes we got,” Bechtold says. “We still have bills to pay in the family, and we still want to get out there and supply a good product for our loyal customers. This is something new and totally different, a big step away from our barbecue past.”
Bechtold said the inspiration for the bun theme came from his love for Asian — and Vietnamese — food in particular.
“I thought these little steamed buns would be great when filled with some chef-inspired ingredients," he says. "They’re a great vehicle for great ingredients and I thought it would be fun to do it a different way.”
The menu is still being finalized, Bechtold says, but will likely include Bayou Bao, a combination of blackened Gulf fish, Steen's slaw and preserved lemon tartar sauce. There also might be pork belly bao with sweet soy sauce, homemade kimchi and pickled vegetables, and Bechtold says he is experimenting with a fried boudin-stuffed version.
The buns will be about $6 for two.
Bevi Seafood Co., which opened on Carrollton Avenue earlier this month, was as easy fit, as Bechtold and Bevi owner Justin LeBlanc are old friends, having cooked side by side as line cooks at the since-shuttered Chateaubriand nearly 15 years ago.