Prime Grille (3162 Dauphine St., 504-301-1740), which opened quietly earlier this month in the Bywater, has been rolling out its service in stages, and there is quite a bit on tap here.
Prime Grill is now serving lunch and early dinner (until 8 p.m.) Wednesday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday. Weekday and Saturday dinner service will continue later into the evening once the full schedule is in place, which could begin as early as this week. Full dinner service will feature a menu that eschews contemporary Creole flavors and instead springs from its owners' Midwestern background. Some examples include bison rib-eye, venison stew over pappardelle noodles and salmon en croute, a dish akin to a beef Wellington but made with fish.
"There are enough restaurants that fake the Creole thing and don't do it really well. We're both from the Midwest so we decided why not do something that we know and do well?" says Kevin Fruits, who opened Prime with his partner Matt Cummings.
"It's a very Midwest, meat-and-potatoes thing. This isn't small plates, this is something you'll be able to share," he adds.
Fruits and Cummings are service industry veterans from Indiana. In 2009, they opened the Decadence Shoppe (806 N. Rampart St., 529-8874; www.decadenceshoppecafe.com), a cafe and bakery on the edge of the French Quarter. For Prime, they took over the historic corner building that was home to Bywater Bar-B-Q before that neighborhood fixture closed earlier this year. The lunch menu Prime Grille is now serving features bison, lamb and turkey burgers, lavash wraps and salads, and brunch includes omelets, pancakes and unusual items like Scotch eggs, which are hardboiled, wrapped in bacon and fried.
A small back bar is being expanded, and Fruits says they plan to run it as a martini and wine bar with its own separate menu of appetizers. He says they also plan to serve raw oysters at a walk-up window fronting the sidewalk.
The partners also are working on a third restaurant called Comforts, and it's planned for the North Rampart Street building in the French Quarter that was previously the jazz and brass band club Donna's Bar & Grill. Fruits says they're planning a menu for Comforts that will focus on game meats, including elk steaks, ostrich filet and duck confit pot pies.