New at Nouvelle
La Nouvelle Cafe (3650 Magazine St., 269-8130), a petit sandwich-salad-coffee shop, now serves two Ethiopian dishes every day. Fans of the now-shuttered Red Sea Restaurant might remember kifto, the buttery ground beef dish prepared raw or barely cooked; there's also tibs, which resembles a beef stew made with lots of onions and jalapeno peppers. Both dishes come with injera, the porous Ethiopian, pancake-like bread, or French baguette. Chef Seitfu hopes to offer a full Ethiopian menu soon, including vegetarian dishes. The cafe is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Bucking for Position
Recent visits to two Uptown diners reinforced the long-known truth that consistency can make or break a restaurant's standing. When Slim Goodies (3322 Magazine St., 891-3447) first opened, its food hovered right around average, the meatloaf weighing in slightly higher and the burgers occasionally dipping lower. Its fresh look and Happy Days-meets-yogi menu, however, earned it a spot on my personal A-list; it supplanted Bluebird (3625 Prytania St., 895-7166), which I thought had gone stale. Then last week at Slim's, I shared the dining room with just two other tables and still it took 30 minutes to get an iceberg salad -- without the menu-promised onions -- floating in a virtual pond of blue cheese dressing, a lukewarm "grilled" sandwich with unmelted cheese, and a measure of attitude from the server (the meatloaf was up to par). This week at Bluebird, the huevos rancheros and buckwheat pancakes tasted like they always have -- just fine, in other words. The wait was a brief pain, as usual, the staff was characteristically tired but tolerant, and the weak coffee was still no way to wake up. Exactly what I expected: what a comfort.