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Here’s the First Look Inside Nina Compton’s Bywater American Bistro

A gorgeous industrial chic interior tempered with Caribbean blues and forest greens


Bywater American Bistro, the hotly-anticipated restaurant from Nina Compton, Larry Miller, and Levi Raines, swings open to the public this Thursday (March 15) with a menu of rabbit curry, farro risotto, and charcuterie — and Eater has the first look inside the restaurant’s 2,600 square foot, converted rice mill home.

Compton, who designed the space with Miller, told Eater that the space already had “great bones” like brick walls and wood columns, so the aim was to make it feel “not so stark and cold.”

There are plenty of aesthetic similarities to Compton’s first restaurant, Compére Lapin: It’s a warm-yet-no-nonsense, industrial chic interior that mixes raw materials like wood beams and glass globe lighting, and exposed brick with Caribbean blues and forest greens, while keeping shapes and silhouettes simple.

Pops of red and art from Michalopoulos, Raine Bedsole, and NOCCA students dot the walls, making the space feel lively and energetic.

Though the interior is open, diners have some seating options. A new exhibition kitchen covered in deep blue tile and surrounded by a commodious bar provides 18 diners a view of the chefs whipping up tuna-bresaola-topped toast with tomato jam; fresh pasta; and crab fat rice while they order bottled negronis from the adjoining bar. The exposed brick dining room accommodates 60 in banquettes with forest green accents and bistro chairs under soft, warm lighting from the suspended, glass globes. Between the exhibition kitchen and dining room are “high boys” for a more casual option. A private dining nook with floral wall decor and tufted leather banquettes can seat 10.

Bywater American Bistro (BABs) has taken over the space that was formerly Mariza, across from NOCCA.
Josh Brasted

Most tables have a view of the exhibition kitchen
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA
Diners can watch the chefs in action from an exhibition bar surrounding the exhibition kitchen
Nods to Compton’s first restaurant, Compére Lapin (named for a rabbit in a Caribbean folk tale), remind diners that the two restaurants are connected.

The bar and the kitchen are one space separated by bar shelves that allow peeks onto the other side
Josh Brasted
Forest green banquettes
Josh Brasted
The private dining nook at BABs
Josh Brasted
Josh Brasted
High tops in the bar area
Josh Brasted
Josh Brasted
Josh Brasted

Bywater American Bistro (BABs)

2900 Chartres Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70116 Visit Website

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