Drago's Broils Down by the Riverside
The new downtown location of Drago's Restaurant opens to the public this week in the Hilton New Orleans Riverside hotel (2 Poydras St., 584-3911; www.dragosrestaurant.com). Located on the ground floor of the hotel, the new restaurant is very large with 382 seats, but the kitchen uses the same menu of charbroiled and raw oysters, Mama Ruth's gumbo, lobster and other seafood dishes that have made the original in Fat City (3232 N. Arnoult St., Metairie, 888-9254) one of the area's busiest restaurants. The downtown Drago's is open for lunch and dinner daily. The Hilton also operates its memorabilia-laden Kabby's Sports Edition sports bar and grill daily and has reopened its high-rise restaurant Kabby's on the River for Sunday brunch only.
Tony Angello's Reopens
You can see the walls of the 17th Street Canal from the sidewalk outside Tony Angello's Restaurant (6262 Fleur de Lis Drive, unlisted phone) and it doesn't take much imagination to envision how high the floodwaters were here after the levees failed. But owner Tony Angello vowed to rebuild even when his Lakeview neighborhood was still damp, and now his popular Italian restaurant has reopened. The kitchen prepares a menu of Creole-Italian food but the restaurant is best known for a special called the "Feed Me, Mr. Tony" Ñ a parade of small portions of the restaurant's best dishes that can often exceed a dozen courses. As before the storm, Tony Angello's looks just like a Lakeview house and offers few external signs that a bustling restaurant might wait behind its doors.
Like every other facet of New Orleans life, the local restaurant scene was imperiled by the Hurricane Katrina disaster, so when restaurants began reopening they were greeted as harbingers of hope by people who care about the Crescent City. A discussion to be hosted next week, May 29, by the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (www.southernfood.org) asks just how important a role our restaurants play in the city's recovery. Titled "Can Restaurants Save New Orleans?Ê Food Culture and the Future of the City," the forum is open to the public and will be held at Restaurant Anatole (600 St. Charles Ave., 274-0105; www.restaurantanatole.com), an upscale Creole restaurant that opened last year. The discussion will be led by David Beriss, associate professor and chair of anthropology at the University of New Orleans. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Formed in 2004, the nonprofit Southern Food and Beverage Museum hosts events and exhibits at various locations and plans to open a permanent home in the Contemporary Arts Center building in the Warehouse District.