Compere Lapin (535 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-599-2119; www.comperelapin.com), the highly anticipated restaurant from Top Chef runner-up Nina Compton, will open June 2. The menu will showcase Compton's background in Italian and French cuisine as well as Caribbean flavors and dishes inspired by her upbringing in St. Lucia.
Compton, who was a fan favorite on the New Orleans edition of Top Chef, says she moved to New Orleans after falling in love with the city while filming the show.
"I knew right away that New Orleans was where I wanted to be," Compton says. "The culinary community here is unlike any place I've been, and I'm thrilled to become a part of it."
The 86-seat restaurant features floor-to-ceiling wood and glass doors overlooking Tchoupitoulas Street and includes an 80-foot cocktail and raw bar. The raw bar will feature cold-smoked wahoo tartare with avocado and crispy plantains. Small plates include conch croquettes with pickled pineapple tartar sauce, roasted jerked corn with smoked mayonnaise and lime and a dish of crispy pig ears with smoked aioli.
Some of the larger dishes include stracciatella with apples, pears and brown butter vinaigrette, faro salad with warm broccoli rabe, chorizo and mustard vinaigrette, curried goat and sweet plantain gnocchi and roasted Louisiana drum with fennel and pine nut gremolata.
Pastry chef Danny Alas' desserts will include smoked banana torta with basil gelato and brown butter cake paired with rum raisin ice cream.
Compton's husband and partner in the venture, Larry Miller, is the general manager. Cure alum Ricky Gomez directs the restaurant's bar program, and Abigail Gullo will be mixing cocktails. Drinks include a shandy-type cocktail made with IPA, lemon, elderflower and fortified wine and a variation on the Pimms Cup made with lemon and watermelon.
Diners can sample Compton's menu at preview dinners May 26-30. Tickets are $39 and can be reserved via the website or by calling (504) 599-2119.
The restaurant will serve dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily.