Down South is now downtown, thanks to Nola's A Taste of New Orleans, which celebrated its opening with a splashy Creole brunch on Sunday.
Nola's is on east 3rd Street in the Arts District in a space owned by Jason Ha, whose restaurants Zip Fusion and K-Town Bar B-Q are next door.
Nola's owner Cabrini Schnyder poured non-stop bubbly on Sunday, and the menu showed off her New Orleans roots with fried catfish, fried chicken, shrimp etouffee with rice, beignets snowy with powdered sugar, French toast, chicory coffee and what may be the best bacon in the city: it's seasoned with Nola's own spice blend and brown sugar.
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Buffet brunches with live music and free-flowing wine will continue on Sundays. The weekly schedule also includes red beans and rice on Mondays, catfish on Fridays and a daily assortment of Louisiana specialties including jambalaya, gumbo, muffalettas and po'boy sandwiches.
Schnyder, who once had a mid-Wilshire bar called Cabrini's Jazz Alley, has outfitted the long dark room with a stage for musicians, a new baby grand piano, and, on one wall, a portrait of Duke Ellington. There's a patio too. The accents are deep purple and gold, and the fleur-de-lis, emblematic of New Orleans, is the restaurant's symbol. It's even been worked into the floor, although the pattern is so dark you might not realize what you're stepping on.