New York City’s latest New Orleans-style eatery opened on Monday at St. Mark’s Place. The brainchild of Southern transplant Jeffrey White, the restaurant evokes The Big Easy in both its lavish Southern decor and seafood-heavy menu.
Despite its name, Mr. White is not associated with British celebrity chef Marco Pierre White. The White in question refers to Jeffrey White, the owner of the new eatery. White previously worked at Ruby Foo’s Asian restaurant in Manhattan’s Theater District and Whiskey Town, a bar in the East Village. He started his new venture with Kelly Rheel, a former employee of Nell’s nightclub. Inspired by the delicious oysters they enjoyed in New Orleans, the pair lured chef Andrew Dunleavy away from the Clam and Chowder House on Long Island to recreate the Cajun dish for New Yorkers.
Located at 123 St. Mark’s Place, Mr. White has taken over the space once occupied by The Belgian Room. The much-beleaguered European-style bar and restaurant was seized by the state of New York in 2015 for non-payment of taxes. The restaurant also expanded into the former premises of the Ton-Up Café, a tiny Italian wine bar that was once located next door. White replaced the venues’ low ceilings and wood paneling with crystal chandeliers, a fireplace and golden candle sconces.
The restaurant strutted its stuff Saturday night in a private opening for family and friends, but the grand opening was reserved for Monday. Mr. White draws on the traditional cuisine of New Orleans. The menu is built around chargrilled oysters, but includes Louisiana favorites like bourbon chicken, pork belly and Southern-style oxtail stew. The eatery even boasts a vegan catfish dish for patrons who won’t want to partake of Mr. White’s many pork-based dishes.
Mr. White also features plenty of delicious crustacean-based dishes like a saffron-infused shrimp and grits plate and a crawfish po’ boy sandwich dipped in remoulade. For patrons looking to relax with a beverage, the restaurant also offers mouthwatering champagne cocktails featuring delectable flavors from smoked honey, lavender, fresh blackberries and sage.