Doris Metropolitan Named New Orleans' Best New Restaurant
Miami's Loss; New Orleans' Triumph
When your grandchildren ask you about the urban myths of a mournful female apparition along a place called Mona Lisa Drive, or whether you have ever encountered a loup guru, or about the story of a couple of business men who stopped over in New Orleans on their way to open a restaurant in Miami, saw a bigger opportunity, so stayed and let the opportunity in Miami go by, you can tell them you aren’t certain about the first two things, but as for the latter, you were here for the entire episode and it’s true – not a myth.
Partners Itai Ben Eli and Doris Reba Chia enjoyed grand success with previous restaurant efforts in Israel, Costa Rica and California.
Before embarking on a new project, Chia came to New Orleans for a bit of rest and a scenery change. After about four days he called Itai and said, “Get over here.” Itai was hesitant, and noted that he had plenty to do with the company’s properties as well as assure that the plan for development of a location in Florida was a workable schedule.
“I’m not asking you to get over here for vacation,” Chia noted. “I think we should do the next project in New Orleans instead of Miami.” Itai was amenable to the trip, but not convinced that the Crescent City was the direction the company should head. He came. And within two days saw what Chia was so excited about. They agreed New Orleans was something very special and the partners’ project could fit perfectly into the dynamic dining and cocktail scene alive all over town.
And they settled on a place that had been for years a breakfast destination, the shuttered Alpine Restaurant on Chartres Street, just off of Jackson Square. Lots of work, but here was an historic building they could fashion for their own purposes.
Doris Metropolitan’s trademark is aged steak. The steaks at Doris are butchered and aged to the restaurant’s specifications. They created a room facing Chartres Street to serve as the dry aging space. According to Itai, “Dry aging beef allows it to develop flavors more slowly and with more complexity. We keep it for a minimum of 21 days and some of our cuts, the bone-in New York strip and the ribeye, are also aged to 31 days. Both time-frames provide the development we’re seeking.”
The surprising discoveries about this steak house menu are the fish offerings. “Look where we ended up,” Itai notes. “We could not turn our back on the finest seafood to be found anywhere that is literally at our doorstep.”
The appetizers are Mediterranean-rooted, with carpaccio, calamari, eggplant, artichoke and sweetbreads all playing central starring roles in various preparations.
In addition to the open kitchen design, the bar also became a point of emphasis, with the usual offerings as well as more innovative creations, such as the Aviation Ball. The wine list is literally on display on all the walls, with bottles placed in individual racks to entice the diner to select the perfect liquid accompaniment from around the world, including the owner’s native Israel.
If al fresco is your mood, the courtyard has been completed with the same excellent and comfortable taste as the interior.
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