One of the season’s most highly anticipated new restaurants, DTB, in New Orleans’ Carrolton neighborhood, officially opened to the public on Wednesdayat 1801 Oak Street. DTB, which stands for Down the Bayou, is poised to become the neighborhood’s new hotspot for reinterpreted coastal Cajun cuisine and a vibrant bar scene. The playful restaurant concept, which tips a hat to the Cajun roots of Co-Owners Jacob Naquin and Chef Carl Schaubhut –who grew up on Bayou Dularge and Des Allemands, Louisiana, respectively—features a menu rooted in inventiveness and approachability, served up in a relaxed and convivial setting.
A veteran of the Commander’s Palace family of restaurants, Schaubhut is a New Orleans native who began his culinary career at Fire on Annunciation Street in New Orleans, and later served as sous chef at the critically acclaimed Commander’s Palace. After two years in the kitchen of one of New Orleans’ most famous restaurants, Commander’s co-proprietor Ti Martin tapped Schaubhut to be Executive Chef at Café Adelaide & The Swizzle Stick Bar in the Central Business District (CBD), where he earned rave reviews and accolades. In 2014, Schaubhut opened bacobar in Covington, Louisiana with Chef Jean-Pierre Guidry; the restaurant is revered for its international street food with a Louisiana twist.
Developed by Schaubhut and Chef de Cuisine Jacob Hammel, also a Commander’s alum, the menu at DTB focuses on modern interpretations of Southern Louisiana’s coastal cuisine, recreating the region’s antiquated dishes with refined technique and a lighter, more creative twist.
Menu categories are divided into Sociables, T-Plates, Beaucoupe Plates and Lagniappe. All offerings are designed to be shared, mix n’ matched. Sociables ($6-14) are the perfect starters and include Crawfish Fry Bread with Louisiana crawfish tails and green chili fonduta, accompanied by pickled okra chow-chow; St. Louis Ribs with sugarcane caramel, peanuts and slaw; and Crab Boiled Chips—a playful version of a crawfish boil featuring seasoned tempura fried red bliss potato slices with popcorn crème fraiche and pickled lemon. Mushroom Boudin Balls, which just happen to be vegan, are a doppelganger of the classic but utilize three types of mushrooms, charred eggplant, and Louisiana jasmine rice, served with a smoked tofu mayo and collard pickles. T-Plates ($8-14) include Stuffed Squash Blossoms with alligator chorizo, ricotta, olives and a sauce piquant and Cacio e Pepe—a play on the Italian classic with house made cayenne spaghetti, tossed a la minute in crab fat butter and garnished with pecorino Romano and trout roe. Beaucoupe Plates ($15-26) are the heartiest on the menu and feature dishes such as Crispy Duck Confit with charred cabbage, citrus, sweet potato and pecan vinaigrette; 24 Hour Short Rib with marinated tomatoes, fermented pepper jelly and baked grits; and Barbecued Local Fish with andouille, fried pickles, corn, tomatoes and chermoula. Lagniappe ($5-7) round out the meal with Roasted Cauliflower with brown butter, lemon and almonds; Hand Cut Fries with jalapeño, dill and za’atar ranch; and more.
Diners can end the night on a sweet note with innovative Nightcaps ($6-9) featuring Banana Toffee Cake with banana pudding, meringue, peanuts and sesame; Ice Cream Sandwich with gateau de sirop, creole cream cheese ice cream and pecans; and Seasonal Hand Pie with bouillie custard and candied jalapeño.
DTB libations—created by award-winning Beverage Director Lu Brow—complement the Chefs’ savory menu and focus on creative concoctions using Louisiana ingredients. Cocktails ($8-10) include Brown Butter Old Fashioned—brown butter washed bourbon, bitters, satsuma and damn good cherries; Louisiana Cocktail—sassafras infused rye whiskey, barrel aged Peychaud’s bitters, amaro and a pecan oil drizzle; and Fire on the Bayou—Baton Rouge-based Magnolia vodka, Lillet, fresh squeezed citrus and house made pepper jelly, served as a ‘shot’ alongside a pony beer to lessen the heat.
Designed by Valerie Legras and architect Brooks Graham, DTB brings the old bayou country to the city, combining rustic and natural elements with modern, polished décor. Upon entering, guests are greeted by a corrugated rusted tin bar seating 10, offset with a white quartz countertop, mother of pearl oyster shell backdrop and floating white shelves, which will house everything from reserved bourbons to old Dixie beer cans. Two communal white oak tables will offer the perfect place to perch and socialize—a tenant of the restaurant’s mission. In the dining area, white quartz and metal tables with deep green alligator upholstered banquettes are backed by burned cypress panels. A sleek stainless steel open kitchen will allow diners to take in the action, while Spanish moss accents and lighting, inspired by the steel wheels used to reel in fishing nets hung across the bayous, reminds us of the ingenuity the bayou communities had using the resources available.
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