The Times-Pic's favorite beanie baby Brett Anderson throws TWO BEANS at Tivoli & Lee this week: "Tater tots are the best things on the menu at Tivoli & Lee. Dismissing the statement as faint praise can only mean you're undervaluing the humble tot's true potential. Marcus Woodham, Tivoli & Lee's promising chef, doesn't make that mistake."
Some mistakes that are made: Unwelcome duck breast, overworked waitstaff that isn't forthcoming with 86'd items, and entrees/apps arriving at the same time without apology. Anderson gets the "feeling the food could improve measurably if its kitchen's many interesting ideas were better test-driven and edited," but for the most part it is good, and best accompanied by one of Kimberly Patton Bragg's creative drinks. [NOLA.com]
Tom Fitzmorris ventures down to the land of +3 hipness points, the Bywater, to bestow FOUR WHOLE STARS unto Ian Schoebelen and Laurie Casebonne's Mariza this week. First, remarkably, despite the warehouse-like interior its somehow "not as noisy as most spaces like this," but of course, "they have a serious parking problem here." Don't park in the giant empty lot because the NOCCA overlords will tow. Sure, "there are spaces on nearby streets, but most of them involve rolling over curbs or even old railroad tracks." Oh, the horror of urban-off-roading in a Cadillac Deville. Inside T-Fitz finds "another strong piece of evidence that the days of fine dining are ending, with casual eats writing not only a new chapter of the annals of New Orleans food but a new book." Instead of mourning the end of white-table-clothdom, T-Fitz seems to be almost embracing it, noting that "few have created charcuterie with the exactitude of Schnoebelen in his time." #1 Essential dish is the snapper crudo, from there, order the salumi plate and "whatever appeals, however it falls." Okay, hepcat? [CityBusiness, subscription required]
Sarah Baird gets mixed signals at newcomer Mint Modern Bistro & Bar, which brought the Vietnamese new wave to Freret back in January, or did it? "Mint would do well to retire the modern label and focus on areas where the kitchen excels: standard, flavorful Vietnamese fare and a smattering of inventive entrees" such as the "hearty banh mi," the "festive" chicken and waffles, and creative cocktails. Also note that the menu is sometimes misleading: "a dish called 'sticky chicken wing' is actually a small plate of fried chicken in a pool of salmon-colored remoulade." [Gambit]
· Tivoli & Lee Receives Two Beans: New Orleans Restaurants Reviews [NOLA.com]
· Mariza Becomes Sole Simple Focus of Iris Team [CityBusiness, sub req]
· Review: Mint Modern Bistro & Bar [Gambit]
· All Week In Reviews [-ENOLA-]