Brett Anderson adorns the Link Group's seafood and asado mecca Peche with FOUR BEANS (denoting excellence) this week. For starters, Anderson notes that chef Ryan Prewitt has leapt "to the front rank of New Orleans chefs... the considerable thought that goes into the cooking is hidden beneath a veneer of simplicity," which is quite suiting for Peche, which "doesn't pretend to be a luxury restaurant."
It sounds like Anderson had a grand time each visit, watching fellow diners take "to the food like Alaskan brown bears to spawning salmon," and also partaking in the feast, from the "fragrantly smoky" tuna dip, a yellowfin crudo arranged like "fallen dominos," to the signature whole fish: "Surrounded by salsa verde, any one of them looks like it's breaking the surface of an algae-covered pond." A couple sour notes included the overly sweet cocktails and service that varies "in relation to your server's experience" and borders on the young side. But overall, Anderson reports that the rumors about Peche being like "Cochon, only with seafood" are quite apt. [NOLA.com]
Ian McNulty reviews chef Michael Gulotta's "casual, very cool" MoPho this week, calling it: "The fullest expression to date of a contemporary New Orleans culinary perspective worked through that infatuation with Vietnamese food." In other words, this is not the place for traditional Vietnamese fare: "Rather than sating specific cravings for the pho of your dreams, this is a restaurant where you can test how duck sausage or hog headcheese taste in the soup (answer: excellent) or even cocks comb, that barnyard exotica (answer: as gelatinous and funky as chicken feet)." There's an experimental element for patrons and the kitchen alike: "If people who already love traditional Vietnamese food are coming here to see where else it can go, Gulotta and his crew are in the same boat." [Advocate]
So rather than sating specific cravings for the pho of your dreams, this is a restaurant where you can test how duck sausage or hog headcheese taste in the soup (answer: excellent) or even cocks comb, that barnyard exotica (answer: as gelatinous and funky as chicken feet). I liked my chicken pho better with chunks of skin-on thigh meat and mustard greens as sharp as wasabi.
Sarah Baird reviews new pop-up Arabella Casa di Pasta in the Tasting Room wine shop: "Patrons pass in and out between the wine shop and courtyard, sampling glasses of wine from the ever-growing list while waiting for Italian dishes." As for those dishes, you'll find "some of the best house-made fusilli and linguine in the city" with the "perfectly portioned sauce-to-noodle ratio." [Gambit]
· Not content to riff on standards, a cool new restaurant shows a different perspective on Vietnamese flavors [Advocate]
· Review: Arabella Casa di Pasta [Gambit]