Lately there have been a few out-of-towners from Europe setting up shop in New Orleans. Bonci, the Roman al Taglio Pizzeria, and Bar Marilou are outposts from companies based in Rome and Paris, respectively. Bar Marilou opened a few months ago in the hotel Maison de la Luz, a new concept of the Ace Hotel Group. The bar is small, cozy, and antique. Everything in it is new but made to look old. Think your Parisian grandmother’s apartment where she has lived her whole life, but it smells better. Books from 1900, etc. Tables are small and it is dark. Dark velveteen sofas with fringe. Bar Marilou opens at 4pm, but there is no food served until after 5. Until 5 there are bar snacks. Almonds, olives, fried chickpeas and thin slabs of parmesan cheese. These are individually $3 or all for $10.
The menu at Bar Marilou is small but that doesn’t mean simple: gougeres, beautiful crispy stacks of potatoes with creme fraiche and caviar, anchovies as a course, and a burger unlike what you’re used to. Ceviche, burrata with fennel pollen, salted cod fritters, and a few sweet things like crushed strawberries on a croissant, and pots de creme. There is also gelato from the divinely delicious Piccola Gelateria.
We were only there for an hour, and not the hour food was served, but there was a 2017 Cabernet on the table and the bar snacks bonanza for $10. And that was good. Excellent bar snack food. My companion, quite an oenophile, reported this house red excellent.
Getting to Bar Marilou is tricky. The entrance is a long corridor of leafy plants with an Instagrammable red Bar Marilou sign at the end of the plants. Enter there. This is the most interesting thing about the place to me. Bar Marilou is definitely not for everyone. It is not for me. It is for someone younger and hipper. Someone who actually uses the word aperitif. If that is you, or you would like it to be you, go. Definitely. It is exactly as it is described on the website. Exactly.
Bar Mariou at Maison de la Luz Hotel
544 Carondelet New Orleans
Aperitif Hour 4-6pm