The Caribbean Room, the Pontchartrain Hotel’s exuberant, throwback, hanging fern-decorated restaurant that was originally scheduled to shutter on March 15, served its final meal last night (Sunday, March 11).
The Sunday night closing of the Caribbean Room let the restaurant to finish on a “high note,” after a “weekend full of celebration and fond memories,” rather than waiting until midweek as planned, according to a statement to Eater from Emery Whalen, CEO of QED Hospitality, the hotel dining group behind the restaurant.
QED will open Jack Rose in its place this April. While the Caribbean Room harked back to the heyday of the Pontchartrain in its design and menu, the new restaurant will mostly abandon that in favor of appealing to “a wider audience of guests and locals” by extending the feel of the lounge area outside the Caribbean Room into the restaurant, changing the menu, and getting rid of the jacket requirement.
In the interim, the Pontchartain’s Silver Whistle will stay open for dinner from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. daily with a menu of popular dishes from the Bayou Bar, as well as some new dishes that are anticipated to join the Jack Rose menu.
QED is a new hospitality group from Whalen and Brian Landry. Originally the hotel arm of Besh’s restaurant group with Landry and Whalen at the helm, the hotel arm was spun off after the many sexual harassment allegations rocked Besh’s restaurant group. The pair rebranded to QED shortly before announcing plans to close the Caribbean Room. Landry is still executive chef at John Besh’s Borgne restaurant.
On that note, David Whitmore, formerly chef de cuisine at Borgne under Landry, will take the reigns from Chris Lusk, who was executive chef at the Caribbean Room from its launch, according to Ian McNulty.
The impeccably decorated Caribbean Room recreated a lost New Orleans restaurant and returned diners to the middle of the last century when white tablecloths were the norm; people dressed for dinner; and hanging ferns, heavy drapes, and rattan furniture were the style of the day. It was a moment in time that many New Orleanians were happy to see return, a place where they could eat crab Remick and mile high pie again.
According to a spokesperson for the restaurant, the mile high pie is staying.
Eater New Orleans awarded the Caribbean Room the Eater Award for Design of the Year in 2016.