Nathaniel Zimet (pictured with knife) has said from the beginning that Que Crawl, the big, purple catering truck from which he feeds the late-night masses outside Tipitina's, was a steppingstone on the way to his own New Orleans restaurant.
Next week he plans to make good on that goal. Zimet says he'll open the doors of Boucherie (8115 Jeannette St., 862-5514) on Tuesday, Dec. 9, in the same Carrollton-area cottage that had until recently been home to his friend Ian Schnoebelen's restaurant Iris, which moved to the French Quarter in October.
Since starting Que Crawl in 2006, Zimet quickly made a name for himself by serving outstanding cochon de lait po-boys on Vietnamese French bread, grit fries and barbecue all enhanced with homemade condiments well into the wee hours. But it was clear he had bigger things on his mind than sidewalk service.
A native of North Carolina, Zimet is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu culinary arts program and worked at some of the most ambitious restaurants around his home state. He followed his girlfriend to New Orleans in 2003 and has worked at a long list of local restaurants, from Stella! to Commander's Palace, before striking out on his own.
At Boucherie, he has in mind a contemporary spin on Southern comfort food with some casual French bistro cooking in the mix as well. The restaurant will serve on attractive china, but prices will top out at $15. Yes, you'll be able to get Que Crawl grit fries, but also mussels steamed with collard greens, house-made sausage and boudin, fresh pasta, ceviche and cheese plates.
Boucherie will serve lunch Tuesday through Saturday to start, and Zimet plans to add dinner service within a few weeks.
Meanwhile, Zimet says the Que Crawl truck will continue to serve late-night food outside Tipitina's, and says with the help of his new restaurant's staff he may be able to operate the truck more often than before.