Summer 2021 is seemingly New Orleans’s summer of major hotel openings. Tuesday, August 17 brought the debut of the Four Seasons New Orleans, the long-awaited luxury hotel and private residences in the former World Trade Center building downtown, along with Miss River, Alon Shaya’s restaurant in the hotel.
The world-renowned hotel brand partnered with Shaya and his wife Emily, who through their company Pomegranate Hospitality opened acclaimed Uptown restaurant Saba a few years ago for the Four Seasons’s “primary” restaurant. Miss River is on the lobby level of the 34-story hotel tower, with a bar that seats 30 people, and another 120 or so more seats spread throughout a dining room and on an outdoor dining terrace.
Eater spoke to the Shayas in January 2021 about Miss River, a journey that began nearly two years prior when they had their first of many meetings with the Four Seasons team. “When we finally decided it would be the right move for Pomegranate, we knew we wanted to cook the food and create the atmosphere that means so much to Emily and I. We’ve lived in New Orleans the last 18 years — we wanted to share our love for Louisiana with this new restaurant,” Alon said at the time. To him, that meant exploring the cuisine’s West African, Central American, and Vietnamese influences, as well as incorporating what the couple has eaten while traveling throughout Cajun country, in places like Abbeville, Lafayette, and New Iberia, they said.
Along those lines, the Shayas also wanted to create the same special occasion feel that some of their favorite New Orleans restaurants do so well. “Brennan’s, Galatoire’s, Commander’s [Palace], all of those places have had such positive influences on our life here,” Alon said. “We want to share that tradition here.”
Dining at Miss River is meant to be a progressive experience, beginning at the Chandelier Bar that starts at the hotel’s entrance and flows onto a patio. It’s run by Hadi Ktiri (an alum of Arnaud’s French 75 Bar) and focuses on Champagne offerings and iconic New Orleans cocktails, with a menu of upscale bar bites from Shaya. From there, the restaurant itself is broken up into sections: it has its own bar and lounge area, a “food stage,” raw bar, expansive dining room, sommelier station, and large outdoor terrace.
The food is a departure from Shaya’s Saba in New Orleans and Safta in Denver, which are both centered around modern, upscale Israeli cuisine. Miss River shifts the focus to modern Louisiana interpretations, with dishes like clay pot dirty rice topped with seared duck breast and duck egg yolk; a Louisiana oyster patty with puff pastry and caramelized mushrooms; salt-crusted red whole red snapper; and whole buttermilk fried chicken.
The Link Restaurant Group, owners of Herbsaint, Cochon, and Gianna, will run a restaurant on the hotel’s fifth floor, adjacent to floor-to-ceiling views overlooking the Mississippi River. Chemin à la Mer, which means “pathway to the sea” is expected to open in October 2021.
As of Tuesday, August 17, Miss River serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, and will add brunch when Chemin à la Mer opens and takes over breakfast this fall.