A concentration on light flavors is one thing that distinguishes Iris Restaurant (321 N. Peters St, 299-3944; www.irisneworleans.com) from other eating establishments in the area, says chef Ian Schnoebelen. The restaurant is known for its fresh, seasonal ingredients, including lots of Asian vegetables, to which Schnoebelen applies French cooking techniques. "I'm very inspired by Vietnamese food," he explains.
Schnoebelen, named one of Food & Wine magazine's 10 Best New Chefs in 2007, operates the restaurant with his partner, Laurie Casebonne.
The two first opened the restaurant in the Riverbend area, then relocated to the French Quarter late last year. The menu offers a blend of American contemporary and New Orleans cuisine.
Schnoebelen and Casebonne are pleased with the new space, which is connected to the Bienville House Hotel.
"The atmosphere is very similar," Schnoebelen says. "But we have more space in the dining room, so it's a lot more comfortable for the customers."
The previous restaurant was open for dinner only, but Iris' new venue also has a lunch menu, served Thursday-Saturday. Customers can enjoy one of Schnoebelen's three-course meals for only $20.
From the menu, Schnoebelen recommends several of the signature dishes, including veal cheek ravioli with wild mushrooms and cream, seared scallops, or Gulf shrimp with a green papaya salad.