Since opening Compère Lapin in New Orleans’ Warehouse District in 2015, Chef Nina Compton has earned raves and accolades for her unique Caribbean-inspired Louisiana cuisine. She was a finalist for James Beard Awards “Best Chef South” and one of Food & Wine magazine’s "Best New Chefs 2017.” In early 2018, Compton will unveil her newest concept, Bywater American Bistro (BABs), slated to open its doors at 2900 Chartres Street in what is part of NOLA’s “Sliver by the River” neighborhood.
“Bywater is our home,” says Compton’s husband/partner Larry Miller. “We’re excited to open a new restaurant with a menu and vibe that embraces the laid-back, approachable feel of our community.”
For BABs, Compton and Miller have teamed up with longtime friend, collaborator and Compère Lapin Sous Chef Levi Raines who will helm the restaurant as Chef/Partner. Formerly sous chef of Andrew Carmellini’s Miami outpost of The Dutch, Raines moved to New Orleans to work alongside Compton in her first solo venture. “Levi took a chance on us when he moved to New Orleans to help open Compère Lapin,” says Compton. “His creativity, loyalty and amazing work ethic are invaluable and we knew if we were going to open another restaurant, it would be with him.”
The menu, still in development, will feature fresh and approachable dishes that will honor ingredients, smart sourcing, proper technique and bold flavor combinations. Diners can expect to find a variety of fresh pasta made in-house, French-inspired charcuterie and thoughtfully prepared appetizers. As a nod to the restaurant’s home in the Rice Mills Loft building, grains and legumes will play a substantial role with dishes such as Farro Risotto with Maitake mushrooms and minted breadcrumbs. Entrées will run the gamut from seafood and pork, to fowl and even rabbit (a tribute to Compton’s first restaurant which was inspired by her favorite story book character). Dishes, such as seared Yellowfin Tuna Steak with pepperonata, soft herb salad and almond cream are certain to tantalize.
“If I had to sum up Bywater American Bistro in a few words, it would be ingredient-driven cuisine with a bistro style of service,” says Nina. “Levi and I are having a great time creating this menu and it’s coming along nicely; we look forward to opening soon.”
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