The duck and cashew butter sandwich will likely always have a place on the lunch menu at Bayona (430 Dauphine St., 504-525-4455; www.bayona.com), but the daytime menu has been getting more eclectic than usual. Credit for this goes to sous chef Scott Maki, who first gained notice at the helm of Rambla. That Spanish-themed restaurant closed earlier this year, but by then Maki had moved on to Bayona, working with chef de cuisine Brett Duffee and chef/owner Susan Spicer. More recently, Maki has been put in charge of lunch and a recent visit showed the direction he's headed.
There was pan-bagnat, which essentially is a Nicoise salad made into an open-faced sandwich and served with planks of seared yellowfin tuna. Shaved Parmesan melted over sweet potato gnocchi, pork meatballs and bitter rapini and seared scallops arrived over somen noodles and a stir-fried mix of bok choy and slivered mushrooms. Lamb tenderloin was skewered on a kebab and served over fennel-olive relish, yogurt and feta with triangles of fried eggplant.
Maki's menus change a great deal but follow a coordinated theme. Earlier menus paired seared scallops with a Wagyu beef noodle bowl and kimchi, and gnocchi supported braised rabbit and Italian sausage one day and escargot and spinach another. A few staples of Spicer's dinner menu, including sauteed sweetbreads with sherry-mustard butter, make lunch cameos, and there's always that duck and cashew butter sandwich.
Bayona serves lunch Wednesday through Saturday, and on Saturday there's a special three-course deal for $25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dinner is served Monday through Saturday.