As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. We've already covered the 2015 restaurant standbys. Now it's time for best newcomers.
Q: What are the top restaurant newcomers of 2015?
Rene Louapre, cofounder of Hogs For The Cause
Balise and Shaya, because both are doing things with vegetables which make them much more interesting than they have any right to be.
Kim Ranjbar, writer, Suck The Heads
You weren't paying attention to the New Orleans food scene last year if you didn't hear people raving about Compère Lapin. White linen cuisine in a casual atmosphere. Also, though it just opened, I was thoroughly impressed by Kenton's. The menu, even at lunch, is uber-pricey but you can bet your bottom dollar every morsel that passes your lips will blow you away, especially the desserts.
Scott Gold, author of The Shameless Carnivore, writer/contributor for Thrillist, NolaVie, and Louisiana Eats!
Willa Jean bakery makes my soul happy, and Kelly Fields and Lisa Marie White couldn't be more talented or hospitable if they tried. Compere Lapin is just outstanding, a stellar addition to the dining scene, and their cocktail bar is just as good. Kin is doing truly inventive things, even if the place is phone-booth-sized and in an "interesting" part of town. Balise is a winner for Justin Devillier, as is Angeline for Alex Harrell, both really great dining destinations. And The Big Cheezy, because what New Orleans really needed, deep down, was a restaurant solely dedicated to grilled cheese sandwiches. And it was also edifying to see Cam Boudreaux and company turn Killer Po-boys into a true brick-and-mortar store.
B.E. Mintz, founder and editor of Nola Defender
Hieu Than and Nate Nguyen's Kin— Wow! Nick Lama's Avo. Nathaniel Zimet's Bourrée. Basil Zerinsky and Konrad Kantor's El Libre gave a new meaning to the term "Quarter daiquiri shop." Everything Adolfo Garcia touches turns to meaty perfection: Primitivo. Speaking of meaty perfection, Damian Brugger's Black Label Icehouse... And, in a happy-ending twist Michael Stoltzfus is killing it at Brugger's old spot in Barrel Proof. (On the new-ish front, the expansion at Cochon Butcher was much needed and the addition of a Nine Roses outpost in the Quarter is treat.)
Josh Brasted, photographer
Compere Lapin, Cheezy Cajun, Kenton's.
Nora McGunnigle, beer writer and contributor for Eater NOLA and Gambit
Kenton's, Kin, El Pavo Real.
Gwendolyn Knapp, editor, Eater NOLA
I really dig Paladar 511— good food, good vibes, and the staff is laid back and competent— and the mighty fine McClure's Barbecue at Nola Brewing Taproom.