by Kevin Allman
Chef Chris DeBarr, formerly of The Delachaise, has announced his new venture: The Green Goddess, a vegetarian-friendly (but not vegetarian) restaurant scheduled to open around April 1 at 307 Exchange Alley in the French Quarter (the former site of Jazz Tacos and Old Dog, New Trick).
"We're going to have brunch and lunch during the day. At night I'm going to be psychotic, but not too psychotic," says DeBarr, who's won accolades for his creative and well-executed cuisine. "We'll have two tasting menus, including a vegetarian tasting menu. I think we're going to take it to a new level."
The new restaurant, a partnership with Paul Artigues of Surrey's Juice Bar, is being financed by a small group of private investors and will be heavily market-driven, according to DeBarr. The staff will be drawn from local chefs; he wants everyone who works there to be able to jump into the kitchen at a moment's notice. Liquor licenses have been applied for, but DeBarr says that the Green Goddess won't be a place "for bourbon and Cokes"; he wants to treat the bar menu with as much imagination as the dinner menu.
As for the name of the restaurant:
I like all the allusions the name "The Green Goddess" supplies, which include all those hot ideas, but honestly, I am more fond of the retro salad dressing and how The Green Goddess by Seven Seas serves as a memory of childhood, a signpost that told me that food could be exotic, even capable of turning a boring lettuce salad into something a little bit fantastic. As a chef proud to live in New Orleans, I am also proud to point out the talented legacy of Warren LeRuth, who developed the signature recipe for the taste of Green Goddess dressing that catapulted it to fame. Although the very first incarnation of Green Goddess comes from San Francisco, as both Saveur and Amanda Hesser point out in recent articles, the flavor that lingers in my mind's eye was born in New Orleans under Mr. LeRuth's skilled palate.
DeBarr is one of the best in town in his field, but his talents haven't always been served by working for other people; I'll be curious to see what he plates up when he's both chef and boss.