Ever the forward-thinking businessman, chef Lenny Russo is making a shrewd move into the sausage and deli business in anticipation of the Saints Ballpark opening in his 'hood this spring. Russo is poised to accommodate the throngs of hungry fans who will undoubtedly be storming the area for sausage and beer.
The working name for the deli is Heartland Sausage Company and the location is Russo's current culinary emporium, Heartland Farm Direct Market. Changes will include additional seating and the elimination of produce and fish for sale. Meat, cheese, bakery, and hot food items will still be available along with expanded deli offerings, beer, and wine. They are anticipating an April 2015 reopening.
Service will continue to be counter-service only, and hours will be expanded to include days that reflect the scheduled games and events at the ballpark.
Russo and his crew will be producing hotdogs and sausages both for the ballpark as well as for the deli. He assures us that he will still be sourcing locally.
The final day of the market as we know it seems to have put Russo in a reminiscing sort of mood. It falls on New Year's Eve, and he (and you can too) will be celebrating with some special menus in the restaurant that evening.
"This year's menus came about through some odd inspiration that I am crediting to some Thanksgiving Holiday cheer. I was down in our basement at home and I was feeling rather cheerful due to some intoxicating libations. That's where I keep all of my books, and I started rummaging through the shelves where I happened upon my 1966 copy of Henri-Paul Pellaprat's Modern French Culinary Art," he says, in his signature pensive style.
"Chef Pellaprat is probably best known as the founder of Le Cordon Bleu. At any rate, it got me thinking about when I began my culinary career back in 1977 as a dishwasher in a French restaurant in Miami. Wouldn't it be fun, I thought, to create a retro New Year's Eve menu."
He says the menus are "spins and riffs" on the vintage recipes, and that they will reflect his dedication to local ingredients and a more modern interpretation of the classics. The prixe-fixe menus are $75, tax and gratuity additional:
Pasture & Prairie
First course: Oxtail consommé/ root vegetable brunoise /chicken meatballs /Italian parsley
Second course: Suckling pig /cranberry-apple compote /pickled green strawberries /microgreens salad
Main course: Free range Limousin veal Marsala /caramelized mushrooms /baby broccoli
Dessert: Dark chocolate mousse cake /red beet mousse /smoked sea salt tuile /rum raisins /cocoa sauce
Rivers & Lakes
First course: Pickled yellow perch /aromatic vegetable julienne /tomato-dill rémoulade
Second course: Braised sturgeon/ tiny vegetables /house smoked bacon /braising jus
Main course: Coulibiac of steelhead trout /buckwheat groats /duck egg /fish marrow /puff pastry /spinach /sour cream
Dessert: Baked Alaska /espresso ice cream /meringue /strawberry sauce
Farms & Fields
First course: Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese tartlet /baby lettuces /glazed chestnut /walnut vinaigrette
Second course: Tricolor borscht /black pepper crème fraîche
Main course: Vegetarian cassoulet /heirloom beans /fennel /wild mushrooms /sunchokes /breadcrumbs/brussels sprouts
Dessert: Poached pear /chèvre mousse /candied pecans /spicy pumpkin seed brittle /macerated cherries
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