PHOTO BY HELEN FREUND
Emeril Lagasse's NOLA in the French Quarter reopened Sept. 22 with a revamped bar area and updated menu.
One of the things that made dining casually at chef Emeril Lagasse's NOLA
(534 St. Louis St., 504-522-6652) difficult was the size of the bar: It was tiny.
That’s no longer the case now that the celebrity chef’s French Quarter restaurant has reopened following a massive, two-month renovation to the three-story space in anticipation of the restaurant’s 25th anniversary next month.
The restaurant reopened Sept. 22, and the ground-floor area has been transformed into a more casual bar area, with a long bar, ample banquette and high-top seating and a chef’s table overlooking an open kitchen.
The look at the new restaurant also is brighter and bolder than before, featuring exposed brick walls and neon accents.
Philip Buccieri, who began working with the restaurant group in 2011 and most recently was the sous chef at NOLA, is now the restaurant’s chef de cuisine. When Lagasse’s most recent New Orleans restaurant, Meril, debuted, the casual, shared-plates format proved a quick hit, and the revamped menu at NOLA feels like it might have taken a few hints.
A long list of appetizers in the “social” tab includes alligator sausage bao with house-made hoisin and kimchi, “hot” frog legs with bread and butter pickles and garlic yogurt, and oyster boudin toast served with mirliton chow chow and Crystal butter.
A selection of small plates includes charred Gulf tuna escabeche with skillet vegetables and olivade, oyster and brie pot pie with roasted marrow and parsley salad, and a crunchy mirliton salad with cashew-bacon praline and nuoc cham. Old standbys like Saint Paul’s Gumbo and Miss Hay’s stuffed chicken wings remain on the menu.
NOLA is open daily for lunch and dinner. For more details, visit the restaurant’s website here.