In the quietest of restaurant openings, Jayne, the new restaurant in the Troubadour Hotel, slipped into Phillip Lopez’s lackluster Petit Lion without ever even closing the doors on operations. While the sign for Jayne went up in front of the hotel two weeks ago, Phillip Lopez and his Rebel Restaurant Group had already been replaced in November of last year when the hotel partnered with the Hilton, Nicole Cheramie, Director of Sales at the Troubadour, told Eater.
“The revenue just wasn’t there,” Cheramie said. The hotel wanted a chef who could be there every day, and Lopez was never in the kitchen, she added.
Dana Whitmore, a Commander’s Palace alum, took over as executive chef last November. The biggest change in Whitmore’s new menu is that it is more “local.” Shrimp calas with pickled vegetables, the “oyster dome” (Gulf oysters and tasso in an Herbsaint cream broth and served with a puff pastry on top), gumbo of the day, a smoked chicken salad po-boy, and NOLA beer brined and smoked chicken are a few of the new offerings.
Other changes include the addition of a buffet (popular with business travelers), a curtailed lunch menu (gumbo, a few salads, and sandwiches), and a Saturday and Sunday brunch (which can be a boon during Saints season with the restaurant’s proximity to the Superdome).
Monkey Board, the roof top bar inspired by food trucks, is retaining its name, but is no longer under Lopez’s management either. Whitmore has updated the menu there as well, making the items more bite-sized and more local in flavor. Also, a new bar manager plans to introduce a new cocktail menu.
Also, the hotel plans to kick off rooftop crawfish boils on March 16, with the possibility of extending the offering to Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays depending on its popularity. Twenty-five bucks affords three pounds of crawfish and two draft beers — and those 18th floor, expansive views of the city.
The interiors of both Petit Lion, with its handsome horseshoe shaped bar and smart deep blues and golds, and the Monkey Board, with its brightly colored cushions and comfortable, deck-like seating, have not changed.
Lopez’s Petit Lion was beleaguered from the start. The Times-Picayune’s Todd Price said that “it fails to roar,” while the Gambit’s Helen Freund said that it was “still figuring itself out,” lamenting that it demonstrated none of the creativity that was so prevalent in Lopez’s other restaurants. The hamburger, which the menu described as the best, was good but ultimately fell short of deserving that title.
Lopez’s restaurant group, Rebel Restaurant Group, once operated several restaurants: Root, Square Root, Part and Parcel, and Petit Lion. Lopez closed Part and Parcel, his provocative deli and sandwich shop dishing out face bacon and other meaty items, closed at the end of August 2017. Root and Square Root served their final meals on New Year’s Eve. (Square Root was New Orleans’ most expensive restaurant.)
Rebel Restaurant Group has also closed up operations. No word yet on what the creative and driven Lopez is up to now, though he posted a photo on Instagram at the beginning of February of the Texas State Line with the caption, “Howdy Texas! Like my father always said. ‘You weren’t born in Texas but you hauled ass to get here!’”
- Aglio Replaces Philip Lopez’s Part & Parcel [ENOLA]
- Phillip Lopez’s Root and Square Root Closed Permanently on New Year’s Eve [ENOLA]
- Peek Inside Nola’s Hotly Anticipated Bistro Petit Lion [ENOLA]
- Look Around Rooftop Hotspot Monkey Board [ENOLA]