May 30, 201309:47 AM
Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene
Rivista: Magazine Street's New Cafe and Bakery
Chefs Chris and Lisa Barbato have opened Rivista, a bakery and restaurant at 4226 Magazine St. I'm told the name translates to “magazine” in Italian, and as my budget for this column does not include translation services, I'm inclined to accept it. Ultimately the name isn't important; what matters is what's on the plate, and the food at Rivista is worth a look.
Lisa Barbato has been operating a popular stand at the Crescent City Farmers Market for quite a while, and before that she was the pastry chef at Peristyle. Her husband and partner in the venture, chef Chris Barbato, was most recently the executive chef at Cafe Adelaide, and they bring a great deal of experience to their new venture.
The restaurant occupies a narrow space in a block of Magazine Street that has seen a number of new eateries open in the last year. Watch your step when you enter the space, as there's a quick change in elevation. There are tables to your right as you enter, and a long, standing bar to the left. At the end of the room a small counter doubles as a display case for both sweet and savory pastries. A chalkboard menu opposite the counter displays the daily menu.
You will not find a better turnover in New Orleans, and I'd be hard-presed to tell you where I'd found a better one anywhere else for that matter. On recent visits I've sampled mixed berry, apple and a cherry-chocolate pastry that my wife called “awesome.” I had to agree.
I'm also a fan of the madeleines, which at Rivista come with a bit of raspberry jam in the middle. They're perfectly executed; not too sweet, and with a firm crumb. Savory options change regularly, and your best bet is to simply visit and peruse the chalkboard menu. Options include paninis and salads as well as a daily soup special. Here, for example, is the current savory menu:
zuppa - vichyssoise
insalata - market salad of mixed greens, stone fruit, spiced pecans, goat cheese, in a white balsamic vinaigrette
antipasto - prosciutto e melone
panino - smokey pork rillette, with sea salt mayo, and arugula on a warm Bellegrade baguette
piadini - salami, ham, provalone and tapenade or mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto
If this sounds interesting, you can learn more by calling 371-5558; Rivista is open from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.