It’s the best of times, the worst of times, and all that.
August can be pretty tough in NOLA: Daylight hours are spent hiding from the sun, hoping you don’t get news that a dear friend burst into flame on the way to the grocery store. Nights combine treatment for second degree car upholstery burns with checking the revised spaghetti maps of whatever tropical bitch currently spins in the Caribbean. It’s really not our best month.
But this weekend brings the opportunity to taste New Orleans in two very different flavors: Friday’s 11th annual Satchmo Club Strut in the Marigny and Saturday’s 17th annual White Linen in the Warehouse District. You can choose one or celebrate your diversity and attend both. Continue reading
This review is long overdue. In August, Chris Starnes, Sophie Lee, and Dan Esses opened Three Muses on Frenchmen Street, between Blue Nile and Praline Connection. Billed as a fusion of hospitality, food, and music, this place looked promising to us. As former residents of the Marigny Triangle and now part-time French Quarter habitués, we have a great affection for our old stomping grounds.
We’ve run across Dan Esses’ food in a number of venues: The now-defunct Bank, formerly at the corner of Dauphine and Touro, the Marigny Brasserie, Clever Wine Bar, and the courtyard Sunday nights at Bacchanal. For whatever reason, Dan’s been kind of a gypsy chef, bouncing from place to place. What has been consistent is the quality of his work. This guy knows what he’s doing, so hopefully he’ll stay around for awhile.
We got to know Chris when he was running the front of the house at The Marigny Brasserie, right after Katrina, when that was a very solid place. After that, he ran Coffea Café in Bywater, where Satsuma is now, and also popped up at the very well-regarded Boucherie.
So, knowing some of the players, we had high hopes. But we also had significant reservations as we waited to see the concept. In recent years, Frenchmen has grown more and more funky, and less and less amenable to fine-dining. The Brasserie, blessed with by far the best space and location on the street, did a good job for awhile, but the wheels have come off in recent years. Some may remember Belle Forche anchoring the other end of the block years earlier. For the most part this stretch of the Marigny has proved friendlier to casual, eclectic places like Yuki, 13, and Adolfo’s. We wondered if Three Muses would open it’s doors with a concept that would catch fire with the very singular Frenchmen crowd, but we worried they might aim too high. We’ve now been five or six times, and this review keeps getting away from me, so it’s time to sit down and knock it out.