Fans of the popular brasserie Sainte Marie were shocked at the recent announcement that the restaurant will be soon closing its doors. But in an interesting twist, the Sainte Marie crew will be headed to reopen the recently shuttered Meauxbar. Until that happens (Meauxbar is expected to open in late May), Sainte Marie's team still wants people to know that they have until Sunday, May 4th, to check out their fare. They're even offering new menu items for Spring.
“We’ve dedicated ourselves to saying that Ste. Marie isn’t closing, we’re just transitioning to a different restaurant," said Chef Kristen Essig. "Realy, it’s not just about the menu. The way we see the transition, we’re so fortunate, in that we’re able to take our whole team over. We love this restaurant, and we're so proud of what we’re doing."
Essig noted that the decision was partly-based on the brasserie's location. "The corridor that we’re on has taken on more of a commercial bent," Essig said, "and though we feel valued in the CBD, we want to appeal to a wider crowd, and we want to appeal to a broader audience. We’ve taken such care in cultivating a relationship with our clientele, and so many of them are willing to take a nine block walk or a short taxi ride to visit us when we open as Meauxbar. Or jump in a pedi cab! I’m very optimistic about that."
The chef was quick to add that certain popular menu items will remain on Sainte Marie's menu until they move to the new location, including the mussels, beef tartare and steak frites. They are, however, still making some seasonal menu changes. A dish of potato gnocchi, formerly served with a butternut and mascarpone puree, will be updated with fresh lima beans from Covey Rise Farms, house-made lardo, diced carrots, fresh tarragon, mint, and parsley, garnished with milk-poached garlic chips.
Also, the chicken dish, which was formerly inspired by Middle Eastern za'atar flavors, moves to a more Provencal preparation. The new chicken farci (stuffed chicken) will feature roasted eggplant, roast garlic puree, breadcrumbs, tarragon, thyme and butter, and will be accompanied by fingerling potatoes and an artichoke barigoule.
The new menu changes will take effect this coming Monday, March 17th.
When asked if she was wistful about the last days of Sainte Marie, Chef Essig was far from nostalgic. “I don’t think of it as the final weeks," she said. "I think of it as the end of a chapter. This is really just us going into the next saga. This is our part two.”
Sainte Marie is located at 930 Poydras St., and can be reached at (504) 304-6988. While the restaurant is generally closed on Sundays, it will be open on the two Sundays of Jazz Fest (April 27th and May 4th).