Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Notorious B.T.G.

Culinary innovation is nothing new in New Orleans. Places like Antoine's and Galatoire's are credited with inventing Oysters Rockefeller and the six hour lunch that turns into dinner, respectively. Later, Paul Prudhomme's blackening technique would cause more than one legislative body to pass a law or two limiting fish counts. And now New Orleans, while not the first to embrace the fervor of the trend, has run towards the temporary eatery in a permanent space.

Until now the pop-up restaurant's gracing New Orleans's streets have focused on specific foods. There is the original and still the best, Pizza Delicious. There have been noodle joints, barbecue bivouacs, pie purveyors, Asian vegan ventures, and even one inside of F&M's- a spot more known for coeds dancing on pool tables than fine food. Now in a reversal, a restaurant will turn into a bar. 

Tonight at Company Burger, Joe Briand turns Company Burger into his Platonic wine bar. There will be food as well from the capable, studied hands of Adam Biderman; but make no mistake the focus is on wine. "Doing it for fun really. Adam is excited to cook something other than burgers and I just want to showcase some wines by the glass that aren't on lists at the wine bars in New Orleans," Briand said by email. 

The explosion of Freret Street has been well-documented and a great boon to the city. B.T.G. hopes to capitalize on what has become a consumer magnet. A magnet that attracts a specific diner, "Look at what's going on on Freret Street.  You've got Cure doing amazing cocktails, Ancora with an wine list that's all from Campania, just people doing new things.  Our ideal customer wants to drink something new and different." says Briand. 

The wine menu - and it is only wine - is a romp through the offbeat wines of the Old World. Things begin with a Manzanilla Sherry and a Patrick Piuze Chablis, that speaking from experience is an incredibly focused white wine, with lemon and stone flavors (see With Oysters below). There is an Italian white and Gewurztraminer from Abe Schoener, who is such an eccentric wine maker he might as well be European. The darker side features a Tami Frappato, a Nuits St. George from Domaine Faurey and an '89 Cornas from Robert Michel. At $10 a glass, that last red adjusted for inflation is basically free. 

Also, featured will be a selection entitled "The Best $5 Glass in Town" highlighting a Gruner Veltliner from Stadt Krems and a Cab/Syrah blend from Provence. If you are a fan of wine bars that actually charge a fair price for an interesting glass of wine, this is going to be your ChristmasKwanzaKuh. With wines by the glass (get it now?) ranging from $5 to $16 (a Cramant sparkler), you don't have to break the bank to sip a glass of wine. Which is the way it should be. 

As for the food, raw Blue Point Oysters ($1 a piece), deviled eggs, chicken liver terrine, sweetbreads, and seared scallops should provide all the ballast to what is sure to be a night of indulgence. About that, but Joe I thought you left the restaurant biz to get away from the insanity of that lifestyle? "My wife calls it restaurant A.D.D.  There is an immediate gratification in the restaurant biz that is kind of addictive.  We will see how this goes. Again really doing it for the fun of it," Briand explains.

Well, this should be fun. B.T.G. is cash only and starts pouring at 7 p.m. See you there. Need more info? Hit Joe up on Twitter @cartedesvins.

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