News From the Kitchens
Bakery Bar, Trinity & Café Henri
SARA ESSEX BRADLEY PHOTOGRAPHS
Bakery Bar opened in April at the space that housed Eleven 79. The renovated space has a much more open feeling, with natural light coming in from windows that were either formerly shuttered or altogether new.
The restaurant is part bar, part restaurant and part cake-shop. The small savory menu was designed by chef Mason Hereford, the former chef de cuisine at Coquette, though one suspects chef Jordan Brown will be putting his own spin on things going forward.
The cakes are by Charlotte McGehee and Charles Mary IV of Debbie Does Doberge, which heretofore lacked this kind of retail outlet. You can buy a whole cake (eight layers of cake and seven of pudding with poured fondant icing), but they also offer “Do-bites,” little pyramid-shaped, four-layer cakes for $3 that give customers a chance to sample a variety of flavors that go beyond the traditional, such as key lime or butterscotch.
Jeff Schwartz’s small, focused drinks menu offers some classic cocktails; the absinthe frappe or the Roffignac – cognac, raspberry shrub and soda. More modern choices include the Scenic Route – scotch, ginger liquer, lemon and chamomile soda.
Bakery Bar is located at 1179 Annunciation St., and is open Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-midnight. Call 265-8884 to order a cake or get more information.
Trinity opened in May in the space formerly held by Maximo’s after negotiating a long renovation and permitting process. Maximo’s served rustic Tuscan cuisine, and the décor fit that template; Trinity is going for a more modern approach and the interior design matches. There is a long, marble dining bar facing an open kitchen. Shades of grey and blue dominate the interior.
Chef Michael Isolani, formerly of Bouglingy Tavern, is in charge of the kitchen. The menu is divided into sections titled “oysters,” “fingers,” “forks” and “knives.” The first two are what you’d ordinarily find on an appetizer menu: oysters served raw, broiled and in an herbsaint soup on the first; duck fat hush puppies, crawfish and fontina beignets and beef tartare with white bean crackers on offer in the second. “Forks” are smaller plates that could be sides (pommes gratin with brie) or components of the entrée course of a small plates meal (blackened lamb chops with cauliflower and mustard, or duck confit with potato salad and chicory). “Knives” are what you’d expect from the main course section, with choices like seared snapper with avocado-citrus salad and toasted pecans, grilled strip loin steak with chanterelle mushrooms and Béarnaise sauce.
Trinity is located at 1173 Decatur St., and you can call 325-5789 to make a reservation for dinner Sundays-Thursdays, 6-10 p.m., and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Café Henri replaced Booty’s Street Food at 800 Louisa St. in May, and while the casual atmosphere is the same, the food is more traditional. Owners Neal Bodenheimer, Kirk Estopinal and Nick Dietrich (See also: Cure and Cane & Table) didn’t change much, but they’ve gone with a color palette of grey and black, complementing the silver tin ceiling.
There is a small cocktail menu of mostly “old-school” drinks like martinis, rum and coke, Tom Collins and a frozen Negroni, the recipe for which Estopinal got from his friend Charlie Schott of Parson’s Chicken & Fish in Chicago; a few local and craft beers; and house pours by the glass of red, white and sparkling wines.
The food menu is similarly abbreviated and offers choices such as an iceberg wedge salad with Russian dressing, which also shows up on the Henri burger, along with house-made pickles, lettuce and for $1 blue, American or cheddar cheeses. Soba noodles are paired with Louisiana crabmeat, green onions and a Champagne-butter sauce that works beautifully despite the seemingly disparate ingredients.
Café Henri is open seven days a week, 11-11. As of this writing, there’s no phone number specific to Café Henri, but Bodenheimer told me that they’re working on a unified number for Cure, Cane & Table and Café Henri, and that should be available online by the time you read this.