Designated Diner: Shane Colman
Day job: Education Data and Technology Coordinator at The NET Charter High School, just down the block from Primitivo
Night job: Music writer for NolaVie
Restaurant chosen: Primitivo, 1800 O.C. Haley Blvd.
The culinary MO: Open hearth cooking. Everything on the menu benefits from an open flame. And it’s all made in-house, from smoked bacon to thin, crispy potato chips.
What excites Shane: The bar, for one thing. This street needs a good bar. Casa Borrega has live music, but your bar bill can really run up there. Purloo at the Food and Beverage Museum has a mixologist, and is very cocktail-centric. I love all the beers on tap here. Chafunkta is a Louisiana brewery, but you don’t often see it on tap in New Orleans bars. And something like the Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is a high-end Brooklyn brew.
Worth shouting about: The Catfish Terrine, an open-faced sandwich of marinated catfish, fresh veggies, arugula on a toasted baguette slice. It has a bit of a bite to it. I feel like when you think lunch, you think sandwich. This is a sandwich presented in a very upscale way.
Also: The coulette (think flank steak) with turnip slaw on a biscuit, served with cantaloupe infused with smoked onion and cracklings. Intense. Complex.
Also: The chicken pot pie. Not like your mom used to make. Dive under a cap of light fluffy pastry for a burst of flavor from the robustly seasoned crowder peas and stewed chicken.
Sweet tooth: Go for the S’Mores. Comfort food, done decadently. Served on a silver skewer, it’s got a hot gooey charcoaled marshmallow center and rich, rich chocolate that definitely didn’t start life as a Hershey bar.
Décor: Distressed wood, lots of windows, high ceilings; airy and light, yet downhome, too.
Bottom line: Upscale comfort food that borders on the hearty and complex. I’ll definitely come back here.