Chef Alon Shaya's namesake restaurant (4213 Magazine St., 504-891-4213; www.shayarestaurant.com) is on a roll. It was named Best New Restaurant in America at the James Beard Foundation awards in May, and Esquire's Tom Junod named Shaya the magazine's restaurant of the year in March.
Last week, GQ included Shaya among its top restaurants in America. Written by New Orleanian Brett Martin, the survey explores dining trends from New York to Los Angeles, as well as cities less well known for dining, such as Atlanta. Martin reflects on everything from yacht club restaurants to more casual concepts, such as David Chang's chicken sandwich concept Fuku, and Shake Shack creator Danny Meyer's Chick'n Shack.
It's in extolling the virtues of simpler things, such as cabbage and pita bread, that he arrives at Shaya: "It is nothing less than astonishing that the number one culinary destination in the city of gumbo should be, at the moment, a high-end Israeli restaurant. When I moved to New Orleans, not six years ago, the city was still giddy about finally getting a modern regional-Italian spot, at least a decade after the rest of the country had learned to take handmade pasta for granted. As it happens, the chef of that Italian place, Domenica, was and is Alon Shaya, and his strengths come into full flower at his new namesake."
Shaya also drew recent accolades from Saveur, Garden & Gun and other publications. The Beard Foundation named Alon Best Chef: South in 2015. — WILL COVIELLO
Many local restaurants roll out dining specials during summer. Palace Cafe (605 Canal St., 504-523-1661; www.palacecafe.com) begins its annual "temperature lunch" special this week. For two decades, the restaurant has offered the summer special in which today's high temperature sets the price for tomorrow's two-course special — so 87 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday translates into an $8.70 Friday special. Diners get soup or a Werlein salad and an entree such as Gulf fish ceviche, chilled duck breast over black-eyed pea salad or crabmeat-stuffed swordfish with corn puree. The special is offered Monday through Friday until Labor Day.
Ralph's on the Park (900 City Park Ave., 504-488-1000; www.ralphsonthepark.com) offers its annual summer deal beginning June 1. Diners can pick three dishes from a list of 14 small plates and a glass of wine for $33. Dishes include smoked fried oysters, marinated crawfish salad with provolone and prosciutto and beef mole sopes with a mix of chili peppers. The deal is offered through August.