Aug 10, 2023
New restaurant plates will bring tapas to Warehouse District
The now empty restaurant space inside the Cotton Mill building is a big one. Soon, two local restaurant industry pros hope to fill it with small plates with a New Orleans story to tell. The name of
The now empty restaurant space inside the Cotton Mill building is a big one. Soon, two local restaurant industry pros hope to fill it with small plates with a New Orleans story to tell.
The name of the new restaurant taking shape at 1051 Annunciation St. is plates (yes, lower case). It’s slated to open in early September.
This will be the first foray from Farrell Harrison and Brian Weisnicht.
Chef Farrell Harrison and Brian Weisnicht are opening their new restaurant plates in the Warehouse District. (Contributed photo)
“There are a lot of residents in this part of the neighborhood, and there aren’t a lot of nice restaurants for people to come and hang out,” Weisnicht said. “I think we can be that upscale casual neighborhood hang out.”
Harrison, a Chalmette native, came through the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University. He’s cooked at American Sector, Borgne, the revamp of the Caribbean Room at the Pontchartrain Hotel, Public Service at the NOPSI Hotel and Josephine Estelle at the Ace Hotel.
Weisnicht, a Pensacola native, was most recently with the Link Restaurant Group, as a manager at Cochon and general manager at Gianna.
The two ran pop-up versions of plates, at locations like the adjacent Rusty Nail and Sidecar Patio & Oyster Bar, while working on plans for their own restaurant.
The dining area and bar at the restaurant Sac A Lait in the Cotton Mill building in New Orleans, as seen in 2015. (Advocate file photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ)
The menu will be focused on small plates, which the partners describe as “New Orleans tapas,” using the format to work in influences framing modern New Orleans cooking.
“It’s a different examination of New Orleans and what Creole cuisine is,” Harrison said.
Many of the dishes read on the draft menu as familiar from Spanish tapas or French bistro cooking, but with distinctive elements worked in. The garlic shrimp, for instance, will take notes from Asian kitchens with a chile garlic crunch. Scallops get a combination of sweet corn and romesco to mimic a macque choux.
Tuna wrapped with serrano ham, grilled lamb skewers with garlic yogurt, saffron and pork ragu with fresh pasta and crispy veggies with nuoc cham are more tapas examples from the opening menu.
There will also be some large plates, including a fish grilled “on the half shell” (with scales on), crispy coq au vin and braised rabbit with spaetzle. A four-course family-style tasting menu will also be served.
“We want it to be versatile for family dinners, company outings or snacks at the bar,” said Weisnicht.
The dining area of the restaurant Sac A Lait in the Cotton Mill building in New Orleans, as seen in 2015. (Advocate file photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ)
The space on the ground floor of the Cotton Mill is a soaring, repurposed industrial chamber of brick, glass and cypress. As plates, it will have seating for about 150, including 20 at the bar and more at the lounge.
The bar will have a lot of sherry and vermouth, both on their own and worked into cocktails. A Spanish gin and tonic in a big bulb glass is on the list. Wines will be focused on lesser-appreciated Old World regions, Weisnicht said.
“We’re going for fun wine that people might have seen before,” he said.
The address was previously the Mill, which opened in the summer of 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. It had been the inventive Louisiana restaurant Sac-a-Lait before that, and was long known as a location of Sun Ray Grill. Back in the 1990s, it was home to Susan Spicer’s culinary shop and bakery Spice Inc.
To begin, plates will serve dinner six nights a week (closed Wednesdays). The partners plan to add lunch and a brunch service, which will cater to game day Sundays in the Warehouse District.
1051 Annunciation St.
Projected opening: September 2023
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Email Ian McNulty at [email protected].
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