Maurepas Foods (3200 Burgundy St., 267-0072; www.maurepasfoods.com) opened last week in the Bywater, bringing an interesting new dining option to its neighborhood.
Chef/owner Michael Doyle has been sous chef at Dante's Kitchen (736 Dante St., 861-3121; www.danteskitchen.com) in the Riverbend for years. He describes his direction for Maurepas Foods as country cooking with refinements and updates and an emphasis on seasonal local ingredients.
His opening menu looks promising, and a little unorthodox. Instead of being divided into appetizer and entree sections, it's simply split between "vegetables, starch and grain" and "meat and fish." It includes dishes like sweet potato and peanut croquettes with salted plum jam, shiitake and Amaro glaze; crowder pea and bacon stew; goat tacos; pork and bacon terrine; root vegetable gratin; mussels in brown ale and Stilton broth; and raw oysters. Diners can order cheese plates and house-made pickles. Most dishes cost between $5 and $10.
The restaurant is located in a historic corner building that required an extensive overhaul.
"We basically took it apart and redid the whole thing," Doyle says.
The renovation includes a great deal of recycled and repurposed woodwork and a long bar for dining or sipping drinks. The restaurant has a liquor license and a full bar.
The chef says he is stoked by the excitement the restaurant has generated in its neighborhood and among his staff, which includes many local restaurant business veterans.
"The idea of opening an ambitious, well-grounded restaurant in the Bywater has really attracted a lot of great people to the project, so I'm confident we can open without the training wheels on," he says.
Maurepas Foods' kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to midnight every day except Wednesday.