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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Chef Robert Vasquez departs Briquette and Opal Basil

Posted By on Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 3:06 PM

click to enlarge Chef Robert Vasquez has departed new Warehouse District restaurant Briquette as executive chef. - COURTESY CHEF ROBERT VASQUEZ
  • COURTESY CHEF ROBERT VASQUEZ
  • Chef Robert Vasquez has departed new Warehouse District restaurant Briquette as executive chef.

Just two months in, Warehouse District restaurant Briquette (701 S. Peters St., 504-302-7496) and its opening executive chef Robert Vasquez have parted ways.

Restaurateurs Anna and Anthony Tusa opened the restaurant with Vasquez and his wife Lindsey Jo Vasquez on Oct. 5. Anna Tusa confirmed Tuesday that Vasquez departed sometime last month.

Now helming the kitchen of the restaurant is chef Hosie Bourgeois, who for 15 years served as executive chef of the Beau Chene Country Club in Mandeville.

Bourgeois’ menu debuted Friday, and features a long list of contemporary fish and seafood dishes, including Gulf fish meuniere topped with lump crabmeat, toasted walnut butter and popcorn rice dressing, and snapper Pontchartrain topped with crab and hollandaise and served with heirloom pommes frites and baby green beans.

click to enlarge Hosie Bourgeois is the new chef at Briquette and Cuvee Bistro.
  • Hosie Bourgeois is the new chef at Briquette and Cuvee Bistro.
Not everything on the new menu hails from the sea: An Angus backstrap is served with pan-seared foie gras, smoked blue cheese, fig demi-glace and dauphinoise potatoes. Lamb shank puttanesca tops angel hair pasta served with a market herb gremolata, and veal sweetbreads are served with a caper demi butter sauce, popcorn rice dressing and wilted market greens.

The Tusas own several casual restaurants in the city, including The Crazy Lobster on Spanish Plaza and the New Orleans Creole Cookery in the French Quarter.

It’s unclear what sparked the split, and Tusa declined to comment on the reason for Vasquez’s departure. Vasquez, who is originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, made a name for his Southwest-inspired New American cuisine at Opal Basil in Mandeville, which closed earlier this year. Tusa confirmed Vasquez is no longer involved in Briquette or in the restaurant’s neighboring business, which was — until now — also called Opal Basil. That spot is being renamed Cuvee Bistro, Tusa said. It will be a casual breakfast, lunch and dinner spot with grab-and-go options including sandwiches and salads. Bourgeois also is helming that operation.

No word yet on whether Vasquez plans to open another Opal Basil location elsewhere.


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