NOLA newcomer SoBou celebrated its one-year anniversary this past week in conjunction with the Tales of the Cocktail Festival, a festival honoring and promoting cocktail culture, and although the timing was unintentional, the two may just complement each other perfectly.
SoBou, which is located in the French Quarter and stands for “South of Bourbon” has proved popular with foodies and drink connoisseurs alike. While the menu has been hailed for its contemporary lineup of Louisiana and Puerto Rican street food, the bar has received similar accolades, including the New York Times, as a prominent contributor to New Orleans cocktail revival movement. It is this reputation as a place for craft drinks, (not to mention a 25¢ martini served from 11-3pm) that have put SoBou at the top of the list for locals and visitors.
“It’s casual, laid-back, its not pretentious” explains Chef Juan Carlos Gonzalez (pictured above), whose small-plate style menu serves to reinforce a bar atmosphere, while still bringing the heat with delicious—and innovative—creations. And with a year under SoBou’s belt, Chef Juan Carlos and his team are poised to mix things up a little.
“As far as food goes we have really evolved from where we started,” he explains, “now that people have seen that food for a good year its time to change the menu more often… keep the people excited, keep the employee’s excited… and ultimately that’s happening as we speak and I’m excited for it.”
SoBou fans needn’t fret, as menu staples won’t be changing. The wildly popular Shrimp and Tasso Pinchos, served with a ghost pepper jelly, are there to stay, along with the Yellowfin Tuna Cones, bite-size cones stuffed with tuna and pineapple tartare and topped with avocado ice cream.
“I don’t think I could ever take those two off the menu,” he assures.
And what about the rest of the New Orleans food movement? Beyond just cocktails, is SoBou indicative of greater things?
“I would have to say, in my opinion, the food scene in New Orleans is probably the best it has ever been,” says Carlos. We agree.