The former Samurai J building is shaping into a new upscale eatery. Dumbwaiter is the new restaurant everyone is talking about, and 167 Dauphin St. is starting to show signs that it won’t be long before we will have another spot to dine in style.

What we have right now is a sign that says “Coming Soon” and a website ripe with sample menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast looks delicious with market price poached lobster, omelets, pancakes and eggs Benedict. Lunch focuses on sandwiches including but not limited to Dagwoods, Reubens, Monte Christos, Sloppy Joes, and the usual suspects. Vegetarian entrees are also on the list.

Dinner is where it’s at. The seafood heavy sample menu shines with scallops, lobster, swordfish, shrimp and crab cakes as well as more terrestrial items like rack of lamb, roasted duck, and grilled sirloin. Sides are separate and are as tame as local veggies or as wild as stuffed squid.

If they stick close to the sample menus then this place should be a hit. Judge for yourself by visiting The sign is up and a quick peek in the window from the street looks good. We will let you know as soon as they open.

Noble South expanding with a wine bar
You won’t get the full dinner menu, but the fine folks at Noble South are working feverishly to open the small space next door.

The future holds a wine bar that could possibly be the spot to wait for your table to open. Expect cold plates. I will be okay with that if they serve their delicious pickled shrimp. Any other way to enjoy the Noble South menu is a plus for our downtown food scene.

Until then enjoy their amazing lunch and dinner options. Whatever you do, be sure and get the fried okra.

Azalea Manor opens Azalea Lounge
The Bayou block of Dauphin Street has a new tenant in Azalea Manor. The former Gus’ building is open for business in time for Mardi Gras. With a fantastic courtyard the Manor houses the Azalea Lounge and is offering plenty of drink specials including $5 Bahama Mamas, King Cake Martinis and Greek appetizers.

Right in the thick of the parade route, this spot provides a touch of class if you get caught on the west side of Washington Street. Open from 4 until 10 p.m. Check out the Azalea Lounge on Facebook.

Serda’s Screaming Moon Pie shot a tradition
New things are going on at Royal Street’s Serda’s Coffee Co. along with some old favorites. Mardi Gras is here, so you must visit for a Screaming Moon Pie shot. While there you should wash that shot down with their latest sandwich addition, the New Orleans style Muffuletta.

If you make it in on Feb. 14, their new Valentine’s Day Latte will be an imperative that may become your next tradition. It’s a chocolate and strawberry treat complete with adorable heart shaped sprinkles. Get one for your girl. It’s guaranteed to get you some sugar.

Celebrate National Fondue Month at Melting Pot
I don’t know who deemed February National Fondue Month, but I guess it makes sense with all of the chocolate covered strawberries. Though the month is listed just as fondue, Feb. 5 is National Chocolate Fondue Day.

February is National Fondue Month.

February is National Fondue Month.

Mobile’s Melting Pot is encouraging everyone to celebrate all things fondue by either visiting their restaurant on Montlimar Drive for monthly specials or by checking out some of their recipes at to celebrate at home.
Of course if love is in the air then you must make reservations for Valentine’s Day. Specials run on the 13th and 14th, and if you forget the roses they can take care of that, too. Just call them at 251-341-7395.

Kitchen on George takes aim with Cupid’s bow
Another hot Valentine’s dinner is at the corner of George and Savannah. Kitchen on George is celebrating the day of love with a four-course dinner paired with wine selections for only $75 per couple!

A jicama, citrus and watercress salad is paired with Coterenzio Pinot Grigio for starters. Second course finds a Columbia Valley Owen Row Sharecroppers Cabernet with blackened beef medallions and gorgonzola cream sauce.

If you aren’t a fan of oaky wines you will love the Chamisal Stainless Chardonnay from California. It should go well with Lobster Capellini and leek tarragon cream sauce. For the ride home you will be discussing bittersweet chocolate mousse paired with Veuve de Vernay Brut from France.

Though they are not required, I would make reservations to be safe. Do this through Open Table or by calling 251-436-8890. Sounds like a spectacular deal to me.

Recycle those beads and have a safe and happy Mardi Gras celebration!