Written by: MARISSA ALTAZAN
Photography: SAM HANNA
The past meets present in a magical New Orleans dining experience.
Josephine Estelle, located in the Ace Hotel New Orleans, is a beauty that takes you to a magical place where the past meets the 21st century. “New Orleans is full of magic, we need magic here,” says Andrew Jay, food and beverage director at the hotel. “We tell stories with our cuisine, and I’d like to think that the stories we tell are some of the most interesting.”
Light piano melodies mix with quiet conversations drifting through the wide-open dining room with its high ceilings. The dark green leather cushions, glass separators, original tiling, and brass light fixtures give the space a 1950s feel, and rows of wine glasses catch the sunlight pouring in through floor-to-ceiling windows. You can watch as the cooks pull long sheets of pasta and clang steaming pots in the open kitchen.
At Josephine Estelle, “traditional Italian cuisine meets the flavors of the American South,” creating a “Southern osteria,” according to executive chef Chris Borges. The boutique style of the Ace Hotel in the Arts District of New Orleans draws a hip, artsy crowd, local and traveling alike, willing to try new things and experiment with different flavors. The restaurant’s corn ravioli is one shining example, sitting in smoked butter and topped with earthy chanterelle mushrooms, which play and contrast with the sweetness of peaches. The heirloom tomato, cucumber, and melon salad feels like a breath of fresh air, the soft shell crab like a dip in the ocean. You can’t go wrong with the truly unique menu that chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman have dreamed up. Josephine Estelle is sure to leave you with a new story to share and a lasting impression.