When the Persian/Turkish restaurant Courtyard Grill closed for a few weeks last month, it seemed another example of the common New Orleans restaurant vacation. But when it reopened in August, there was a new name over the door, a new look and a new menu.
The restaurant is now called Vida's Bistro (4430 Magazine St., 504-875-4165; www.vidasbistro.com), and although proprietors Vida and Eddy Salmanian remain at the helm, there has been a change of direction here — as evidenced by the "gyro muffuletta."
"People love the muffuletta and they love gyros," Vida Salmanian says. "We're the only place around that combines them."
Sliced gyro meat, olive salad and sticks of feta are wrapped in a grilled pita for this sandwich, which is novel, but it sounds prim compared to the "Meditchanga." That new menu addition combines gyro meat (or chicken or shrimp) with rice, feta, mozzarella, cilantro and salsa in a tortilla, which is then deep fried and dressed with lettuce, tomato, avocado, Greek yogurt sauce and acili, a Turkish spicy tomato-garlic dip.
The Salmanians opened Courtyard Grill in 2010 with a traditional approach to Persian and Turkish cuisine but decided to retool for a "Mediterranean fusion" format.
"We learned that you can't just cook for Persian people or Turkish people," Vida says. "You have to have something for everyone, so we decided to broaden our menu and focus on what people order the most."
Vida's still serves kebabs, dolma, Turkish beef pies and many other traditional dishes, and the kitchen still cooks with a charcoal grill. But the new menu includes more salads and sandwiches, adds lettuce wraps and wings, and breakfast is served on weekends. There's a full bar and patio seating.