Small Openings, Big Changes Following an autumnal flurry of high-end restaurant openings, the in-between winter months are sounding with lower-profile openings and significant changes in long-established restaurants. Deanie's (841 Iberville St., 581-1316; 1713 Lake Ave., 834-1225) celebrated the grand opening of its new French Quarter location with a spot on the Food Network in January. The second restaurant offers the same "Taste of Bucktown" as the original has since it opened in Bucktown in the 1960s.
Corbin Evans, most recently chef de cuisine at Bayona (430 Dauphine St., 525-4455), has quietly opened Lulu's (307 Exchange Alley, 525-2600) nearby in the former Old Dog New Trick space. Lulu's will remain primarily a breakfast and lunch spot for now, opening for dinners on Saturday only. The short menu seems to emphasize simplicity and freshness with entries like a roasted chicken salad with celery heart, carrots and Amish blue cheese. There's a honey-roasted pork loin sandwich with aged Provolone, caramelized onions and peppers, and a grilled chocolate-marshmallow sandwich for dessert.
Uptown, Nautical owner Eric Bay has hired Chef Michael Uddo to replace Bay in the kitchen at Nautical (7708 Maple St., 866-7504). Uddo is well known for his days at G&E Courtyard Grill and, most recently, New Harvest Market (both now closed). He will maintain an emphasis on fresh seafood at Nautical, incorporating his own style into what Bay calls an "eclectic Louisiana" menu. Launched Feb. 1, a new menu includes a flash-fried calamari and white bean salad with greens and Romano cheese, and caramelized Atlantic salmon with wilted spinach and a fried potato haystack. Nautical recently earned a liquor license, so be on the lookout for the long-awaited wine menu (something Uddo was never able to finagle at New Harvest). And you're likely to see Bay out in front, where he says he's happiest.
Christian's Restaurant (3835 Iberville St., 482-4924) is also bragging about a new chef. Michel Foucqueteau was born in Marseilles, France, and has worked in the culinary field since he entered an apprentice program in 1969. Foucqueteau worked at Tavern on the Green in New York before opening his own place in Baton Rouge, his most recent endeavor. While Christian's regular menu remains the same under the new chef's direction, you'll taste his own creativity in daily specials.
Earlier this month, Chef Dennis Hutley of Le Parvenu (509 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 471-0534) began serving both lunch and dinner on Tuesdays. Look for new additions to all food and wine menus, including a glass of champagne he's now tossing into the $30 prix fixe, four-course brunch. -- Roahen