You can't find this neighborhood identified on your Urbanspoon app, but the folks at Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave., 899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com) want to put SoBou (310 Chartres St., phone n.a.) on the map. That's the name of the restaurant a group of Commander's partners plan to open this spring inside the W French Quarter hotel (316 Chartres St., 581-1200; www.wfrenchquarter.com).
The name is short form for "South of Bourbon" – and that's riverside of Bourbon for those with strictly New Orleans-centric internal compasses. SoBou is taking over the space that was long held by Bacco, the Italian restaurant owned by another scion of the Brennan family, Ralph Brennan.
The team behind SoBou includes Ti Martin, co-proprietor of Commander's Palace, and Tory McPhail, executive chef at Commander's Palace, and they recently released details of their plan. Describing the venture as "an unexpectedly playful, modern Creole saloon," beverages will be at the forefront of the concept. In addition to a large bar, there will be enomatic machines, or self-serve wine dispensing systems that allow customers to sample wines not typically offered by the glass, and there also will be a beer garden with booths equipped with their own taps.
"We call it cooking with a Louisiana DNA and adult beverages," McPhail said of the SoBou concept in a release.
The chef for SoBou is Juan Carlos Gonzalez, who has worked at other restaurants under the Commander's Palace umbrella, including Bistro Alex in Houston. The cuisine is characterized as "Louisiana street food inspired," and some representative dishes will include bruleed Creole tomatoes, shrimp and tasso pinchos (a type of tapa) and burgers.