by Ian McNulty
When the Persian/Turkish restaurant Courtyard Grill closed for a few weeks last month, it seemed like another example of the common New Orleans restaurant summer vacation. But when it reopened in August, there was a new name over the door, a new look and a new menu.
The restaurant is now called Vida’s Bistro, and although proprietors Vida and Eddy Salmanian remain at the helm it’s obvious there’s a change of direction here — as in “gyro muffuletta” obvious.
“People love the muffuletta and they love gyros, we’re the only place around that combines them,” says Vida Salmanian.
Sliced gyro meat, olive salad and sticks of feta are wrapped in a grilled pita for this sandwich, which is novel but still sounds almost prim compared to the “Meditchanga.”
That new menu addition combines gyro meat (or chicken or shrimp) with rice, feta, mozzarella, cilantro and salsa in a tortilla, which is then deep fried and dressed with lettuce, tomato, avocado, Greek yogurt sauce and acili, a spicy tomato and garlic dip Turkey.
The Salmanians opened Courtyard Grill in 2010 inside a thoroughly renovated Magazine Street address that had been home to Tee Eva's Famous Pies and Pralines (Tee Eva’s moved a few blocks up the road). They started with a more traditional approach to Persian and Turkish cuisine, including large, family-style platters of kebabs.
“We learned that you can’t just cook for Persian people or Turkish people, you have to have something for everyone so we decided to broaden our menu and focus on what people order the most,” Salmanian says.
Vida’s still serves kebabs, dolma, Turkish beef pies and many other traditional dishes, and the kitchen still cooks with a charcoal grill. But the new menu includes more salads and sandwiches, adds lettuce wraps and wings, and has been expanded to serve breakfast on weekends, with a mix of American morning standards, breakfast burritos and a Persian chicken salad made with green peas, olives and pickles. There’s a full bar and outdoor seating.
Vida’s Bistro serves lunch and dinner Wednesday through Monday and adds breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.
4430 Magazine St., (504) 875-4165