Making the Turn: New Discoveries at Riverbend
Riverbend continues to pop with a growing mix of both fine and casual dining choices. New to the party is Carrollton Market, housed in the location formerly occupied by ONE Restaurant and Lounge. With its tasteful renovation, open kitchen and modern design, Carrollton Market deepens the pool of upscale restaurants in the neighborhood which Brigtsen’s and Dante’s Kitchen also call home.
Chef and owner Jason Goodenough caught the cooking bug while a student at Millsap’s College in Jackson, Mississippi. He worked at a series of high-profile restaurants in Philadelphia and Washington D.C., before moving to New Orleans with his wife and family, where he spent a year as sous chef at Emeril’s NOLA. When a subsequent gig as a private chef for a wealthy South Dakota client ended, Goodenough decided it was time to strike out on his own. “At that point I said hey, I’m 35 years old, it’s now or never, so I took the plunge.”
Carrollton Market’s overarching philosophy is ingredient-driven and modern Southern, which is a big part of the menu’s execution (his wife is from Mississippi). But that isn’t exclusively so you’ll also find subtle Asian influences from his time spent working with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto as well as French Brasserie classics such as steak frites. Goodenough has a particular soft spot for our Gulf seafood as well. “My job gets a lot easier when I’m working with such great ingredients,” he says.
One dish that’s garnering attention is his appetizer of Crispy Fried Pork Tail Tots, a dish that Goodenough concocted during his tenure at NOLA. Just when you thought you’d seen every possible pig part on a menu, along comes this. The addictive capsules are served with pickled peppers and a creole mustard jus.
The tots aren’t the only tails on the menu. Goodenough also has a deft hand with oxtail. His artfully composed Oxtail Terrine, sourced from Two Run Farms in Mississippi, offers braised shreds tucked into a cylinder shaped from planed potato slices and topped with a shallot compote and peppery arugula for balance. Goodenough also reserves the braising stock from the oxtail to build the bordelaise sauce for his Hanger Steak Frites. “Along with that liquid, we use red wine and veal stock,” Goodenough says. The result is a sauce that’s especially well fortified from the flavor of the oxtail. It gets finished with a compound butter made with shallots, garlic, parsley and lemon zest.
Seafood is a favorite of Goodenough, and his Shellfish Risotto is a recommended dish. It all starts with his stock – “We start with roasted lobster shells, tomato paste and mirepoix to make a traditional French shellfish stock and par-cook the risotto with that. The balance of the stock then gets fortified it with our shrimp shells,” he explains. The dish gets hit with some lemon juice at the end for brightness and a dollop of mascarpone for creaminess.
Complementing Goodenough’s food is General Manager Stephen Deisinger’s cocktail program. Deisinger makes several syrups and bitters in-house, and special attention is paid to the ice as well. “He spec’d an ice machine that makes totally clear spheres, and he also hand-chisels ice off of blocks,” Goodenough says. “Steve is as detail-oriented towards the cocktails as I am the food.” Classic drinks include Sazerac and Negroni cocktails as well as several of his own creation. Carrollton Market is open for dinner only Tuesday through Saturday.
The Sammich, the concept-driven brainchild of owner Mike Brewer, started as a pop-up in music club Chickie Wah Wah before Brewer made the leap to a full-time spot on Maple Street.
“I dreamt up the idea at the first Po-Boy Festival,” Brewer says. “They had all these specialty poor boys there that you could only get once a year. It also occurred to me, when have I ever had a meal without bread? I decided then to start taking fine dining and put it on Leidenheimer’s bread.”
Leidenheimers serves as the canvas for all of Brewer’s creations, and fine dining is his muse. He draws a lot of his inspiration from dishes served at famous white-linen stalwarts, such as his Fried Shrimp Sammich with hot sauce beurre blanc, tasso and pepper jelly, which is based on a dish from Commander’s Palace. Brewer spent time working there, as well as at the original Brennan’s on Royal Street, and counts as his friends many of the city’s top chefs. “The Braised Rabbit we’re running right now came from David Slater at Emeril’s. I asked him if it was OK before I used it first,” Brewer says.
Indeed, the menu reads as though he sells $38 entrées between two halves of Leidenheimer’s bread. The en Brochette features fried oysters with Brie, bacon and meuniere sauce. The Osso Bucco presents braised veal shank with carrots, red gravy and mascarpone cheese, as well as a bone marrow mayonnaise. “The Fried Lobster is by far our best seller,” Brewer says of his creation made with tempura-fried lobster knuckles and a spicy mango-cream sauce, but the Fried Chicken (topped with pulled pork and homemade barbecue sauce) is a close second. In June, look for a summer lineup featuring drum grilled fisherman-style, then fileted and topped with a lemon-basil hollandaise and garnished with fresh tomatoes.
Brewer was the wine and liquor manager for Commander’s, and The Sammich comes well equipped with more than 50 bottled beers as well as 20 wine selections by the glass. The wines in particular are reasonably priced; all are between $3 to $5 per glass. “We try to make sure we’re a place where neighbors can come in and have a sammich, a couple of small plates and a few drinks, and not get hurt when the check comes,” Brewer says. After all, sandwiches make a good snack, but sammiches are forever.