The decor in the restaurant is understated elegance with a big dose of comfort. A small but handsome bar separates the dining room from an area at the entry that is decked out with a three-dimensional wall-size hanging sculpture, the TV and inviting easy chairs and couches.
"We want people to feel comfortable, that they belong here," Adams says. "We want them to feel a part of it. Frenchmen Street is becoming a hot spot in the city for locals. I want to be a part of New Orleans, like the old-line restaurants."
To help reach that goal, Marigny Brasserie's menu features not only specials based on seasonal produce but standards such as seafood, steak, veal, lamb, crab, salmon, chicken, pork and duck. Top sellers include duck and andouille spring rolls, an appetizer that mixes the two meats with Asian vegetables inside crispy spring rolls with three-chili and ginger dipping sauces. Paneed veal is a favorite entree, featuring veal medallions topped with black truffle demi-glace and served with carbonara angel hair pasta and sauteed asparagus. On the lighter side is the strawberry walnut salad, which combines baby spinach, toasted walnuts and crumbled bleu cheese with fresh strawberries, dressed with strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.
Longoria declines "elegant" as a description for his dishes, instead characterizing them as having simple components with the creativity coming in preparing the dishes perfectly every time.
"I like honesty in food more than elegance," he says. "It's all fresh; everything except the angel hair pasta is made from scratch here. I'm not going to serve confusing 20-component dishes. You want to have fun when you go out to eat. I want them to repeatedly come in and enjoy the food."
His Cuban roots are represented on the menu, but Longoria says Marigny Brasserie's goal is to be a local eatery that presents familiar cuisine in a neighborhood atmosphere. "I like to do our regional food, and I'll do it perfectly," Longoria says. "We're definitely geared to the locals. Since it is mostly locals, the prices have been lowered to accommodate that, but the quality hasn't suffered." The theory has proved successful as well in attracting tourists referred to Marigny Brasserie by hotel workers who are regulars.
The restaurant is open daily, with the kitchen serving until midnight on weekends and a happy hour that offers two-for-one drink specials from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Early-bird specials from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. feature a prix fixe three-course dinner, and Sunday brunch soon will include live music.
Adams also owns Cafe Marigny (1913 Royal St., 945-2716), a coffeehouse around the corner from the Brasserie that opened in 1994. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
Shoppers looking for unique products and a way to help children achieve business goals should check out KidShare, a new retail store that features products from youngsters and organizations that serve youth.
The store's grand opening is scheduled from from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and its regular business hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays at Cafe Reconcile (1631 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.) Merchandise includes art, crystal mosaics, gift baskets, T-shirts, confections, fashion accessories and more.
The project is being administered by Young Christian Entrepreneurs, a faith-based training program for youngsters and women, which provides young vendors with retail space, entrepreneurial training and support. Youngsters and youth-oriented agencies interested in participating in the program should call 525-6655.
The professional beauty industry magazine Salon Today recently ranked Louisiana's own Paris Parker Salon and Spas (4900 Prytania St., 891-8874; 1400 Annunciation St., The Saulet, 528-1962; 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Lakeside Shopping Center, 846-5256; 333 Canal St., Canal Place, 568-1124; 4900 Hwy. 22, Mandeville, 985-845-4404) 11th among the top 200 fastest-growing salons in the country.
The magazine published its sixth annual ranking in January, marking the fourth time Paris Parker has shown up on the list. In 2002, Paris Parker opened three new locations and plans this year to add a full day spa to its current salon in Mandeville.
Paris Parker, owned by Edwin and Debra Neill, began as a single Aveda concept salon in Hammond in 1990 and has expanded to eight locations in the southeast part of the state.