The antique cypress sign bearing only the letters DTB hangs outside this new modern coastal Cajun restaurant on Oak Street. DTB, short for Down the Bayou, throws open its doors next Wednesday, March 29. Just the name of the restaurant conveys “a shortening, interpreting, and modernizing,” according to Carl Schaubhut, executive chef and owner. The concept here is a modern and accessible approach to a cuisine that is well-known in Louisiana, but relatively new to the Creole character of New Orleans.
A highlight of the design is a long bar with a backsplash of white penny tile full of taps for beer and space to concoct the craft cocktails on Lu Brow’s drink menu. It extends directly into an open kitchen, making the actual making easy to see for the interested. Importantly, the chairs at the bar look comfortable, like you could sit in them for drinks and decide to stay for dinner without ever moving to a table. This bar is directly in line with the entrance, so the diner can walk in and peer straight down the line - past the hostess stand, through the bar, and into the kitchen. It is a design that feels like an invitation.
With polished concrete floors and natural wood, the look is at once modern and warm. Objects, like oysters shells and pock-marked metal balls found near Bayou du Large off LA-1, hang from the ceiling, forming a kind of wall that separates the entrance from some tall tables meant for cocktails. At more traditional tables, the dining chairs look like bigger, more comfortable versions of the molded plywood Eames chairs, reminding the diner that though the concept may be grounded in a old Cajun cuisine, it is thoroughly fresh in its approach. Beneath Spanish moss-covered fixtures, there is an interior splashed with natural wood - white oak banquets from Construct NOLA, back-illuminated wood blocks on the walls by the high-backed booths, and an overhang that looks a bit like bark. All this evokes a forest, but a forest in an urban, open, and contemporary space.
DTB has released a few menu highlights: mushroom boudin balls (which happen to be vegan) served with smoked tofu mayo, crawfish bread with green chili fonduta, and a brown butter old fashioned (brown butter washed bourbon, bitters, satsuma, cherries). It opens March 29.
Valerie Legras Atelier designed the interior of DTB. Brooks Graham was the architect.
8201 Oak Street