French-Algerian chef Farid Zadi, the organizer of L.A.’s couscous festival who was previously found cooking at Cafe Livre et Le Marche and Spanish Fly Gastropub, is now serving his own take on U.S. Southern and Creole cuisine at NOLA’s in Downtown, confirming our earlier suspicions that the two unlikely bedfellows were indeed bedding down. In an email, Zadi explains that he was approached by NOLA’s owner Jason Ha to become both executive chef and a partner here, and felt like branching out to show what he is capable of cooking besides paella and couscous. The chef explains his previously drawn connections between North African cooking and Creole cooking, noting that both styles have a multitude of influences from other countries, some of which cross over such as the French, Italian, African, and Spanish strains found in both. Zadi will offer dishes like jambalaya cooked in a paella pan using short-grain Spanish rice, add French meat stocks and harissa to his barbecue sauce, and says he makes his cobbler crust “more like a pate sablee,” and his biscuits with butter, not shortening. What else?
In another intriguing blend of North African and Southern U.S. cooking, Zadi announces a weekly all-you-can-eat Saturday brunch series. He’s kicking this off on May 11 with a special nose-to-tail barbecue starring a whole smoked lamb rubbed with ras el hanout and a full smoked pig that will be turned into six-dollar porchetta sandwiches. Sides dishes will include a creole take on mac and cheese, rice and beans, and cornbread, among the several sides, for $30 per person, along with five-buck craft beer and seven dollar cocktails. Future brunches may include whole goat, rabbit, or duck, too.
Check out NOLA’s full menu online and find the restaurant open from 11:30 P.M. to 2:30 A.M., Monday through Friday, with weekend brunch from 12:00 to 3:00 P.M. and live music nightly on weeknights starting at 5:00 P.M.