File this under shuffle shocker: Todd A. Price reports that one half of MiLa's dynamic duo/chef Slade Rushing is now on board to run the kitchen at Ralph Brennan's upcoming revamp of The Big Pink ie. the restaurant formerly known as Brennan's, which may very well still be known as Brennan's when it reopens in September, or not. If this is any indication of what to expect once the multi-million dollar renovation is complete, and Rushing takes to the kitchen, then just... dang. Ralph Brennan seems to be taking this place from lawsuit-ridden sinking ship to champagne-christened yacht.
As for Rushing's chops, he's honed his skills at Mr. B's, Dakota, Jardinière in San Francisco (alongside Donald Link), and Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar in NYC, where he met wife/Beard award winning chef Allison Vines-Rushing. The duo opened Longbranch in Abita Springs in 2005, and after its closure, MiLa in 2007. While not much is known about how MiLa will change after his departure, there are a few hints at what to expect at The Big Pink.
To audition for the job, Rushing was asked to create an Eggs Benedict variation, which he did, sticking close to the original recipe but making everything from scratch, from the muffin to the Canadian bacon. Rushing even says, "There are things that you don't change for a reason. You've got a classic dish that's perfect. You can't recreate it, but you can make all the elements perfect." Sounds like the restaurant's famous dishes shall remain, with Rushing also noting: "My food is basically grounded in classic French technique. If you stay true to it and bring great ingredients in, you're going to have wonderful food."
As for the build out, Rushing notes that Bobcats have been all up in The Big Pink, but assures that Ralph Brennan and company aren't "gutting the restaurant and putting in some cheesy concept." It's all about tradition and history, so it would make a lot of sense for the restaurant to be called Brennan's upon reopening.
· Former Brennan's Restaurant on Royal Hires Slade Rushing of MiLa As Its Top Chef [NOLA.com]
· All Chef Shuffles [-ENOLA-]
· All Brennan's Saga [-ENOLA-]