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Serendipity open in Mid-City 

  Serendipity (3700 Orleans Ave., 504-407-0818), the new restaurant from former Green Goddess chef Chris DeBarr, is open and serving dinner nightly.

  The restaurant is inside the American Can Apartments building in Mid-City. Serendipity represents a change in style and ambition for the restaurant space here, formerly a location of the Olive Branch Cafe chain, and it's a quantum leap in size for DeBarr and his crew compared to the tiny dining room and kitchen at Green Goddess.

  The chef says his approach here is "more spare" than what he was doing at the Green Goddess, but fans of his cooking will recognize his eclectic style, his passion for exotic ingredients and a few familiar dishes.

  The menu includes "shrimp 'wearing a grass skirt,'" which DeBarr describes as a "tiki re-interpretation of New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp," with shrimp wrapped in phyllo strands and roasted. There also are Malaysian red curry goat empanadas and grilled Ruston peaches topped with blue cheese and Nueske's bacon on Spanish quince paste.

  Most dishes cost between $8 and $12, and there's a five-course tasting menu with more of DeBarr's characteristic dishes, like ravioli fashioned from golden beets instead of pasta and his "grilled 'spooky' wild mushrooms," prepared with huitlacoche, a rare (but edible) Mexican corn fungus. For dessert, look for "magic carpet foie gras fantasia," a Moroccan-spiced pastry ring filled with foie gras mousse, and also an interpretive homage to the Hubig's Pie, which will change frequently.

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