Housed in a 114-year-old building, The Delachaise (3442 St. Charles Ave., 504-895-0858; www.thedelachaise.com) provides patrons a place to slow down on a bustling Uptown thoroughfare. Customers nosh on elevated pub fare and sip wine and craft beer from a vast chalkboard menu, which wraps around the interior of the lounge.
Owner Evan Hayes opened the wine bar in June 2003. After working as a wine vendor for five years, Hayes noticed a dearth of restaurants and bars offering fine wines for late-night crowds. "You could not get a good glass of wine in town after 10 p.m. without going to a fancy hotel," Hayes says. He hoped to solve the problem by building his oenophile sanctuary. "I called it the hotel bar without the hotel," Hayes says.
Hayes paired the wines, beers and spirits with a concise food menu, which has shifted over the years to reflect changes in direction in the kitchen. "The culinary repertoire has evolved on its own," Hayes says. "Currently, chef R.J. Tsarov is at the helm." Tsarov introduced global touches to his dishes. "He has a great palate and cooks original interpretations of classic dishes from his world travels," Hayes says.
The global influence is evident in the mofongo relleno de pollo guisado, which consists of fried plantains stuffed with stewed chicken and topped with a roasted poblano pepper sauce. Moules et frites are mussels steamed in a broth infused with lime leaf and Thai chili. Comfort food gets a haute cuisine twist when prepared with high-end ingredients — e.g., hand-cut pommes frites fried in goose fat. There are also house-made pate and gourmet sliders.
The menu pairs well with the wine list, and most dishes are easy to share. The result is a bar that's conducive to socializing.
"I always envisioned The Delachaise to be a cocktail party where strangers become friends and drink good wine while they're doing it," Hayes says. "People like to frequent The Delachaise, because it is accessible by design. You can walk in and get a great glass of wine and then leave. You can also walk in and stay for four hours and meet interesting people."