Borgne set to open at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans

The Times-Picayune – If you notice an abnormal amount of activity around the Hyatt New Orleans this weekend, it will be due to these two reasons: 1) There are roughly 2 jillion sports fans in town to watch the Saints and/or BCS Championship, and 2) Borgne is coming to life inside the hotel.

The restaurant is a partnership between John Besh, chef-owner of Restaurant August and Domenica, among others, and Brian Landry, the executive chef at Galatoire’s for five years.

The seafood-focused menu draws its inspiration from the cooking of the Islenos, the people who immigrated to south Louisiana in the late 1700s and eventually settled along Bayou Terre-aux-Bouefs in St. Bernard Parish. The Islenos came from the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coasts of Morocco and Western Sahara.

The restaurant takes its name from the Louisiana lake where both chefs have been known to fish. The opening menu includes oyster spaghetti, drum a la plancha, chicken paella and shrimp toast risoles.

On Wednesday, Besh said Borgne’s staff was still ironing out the kinks. “Right now, I can’t even work the dimmers on the lights,” he said. “I’m hoping by Saturday that we’ll quietly open the doors and people will quietly appear.”

The chef sounded tired when he admitted, “I swore after August that I’d never open another restaurant.”

August, which opened in 2001, was Besh’s first restaurant. Borgne will be his eighth in the New Orleans area.

The restaurant officially starts taking reservations on Wednesday.

By: Brett Anderson