A new restaurant has opened downtown, owned and operated by the team behind The Office bar, and with a menu conceptualized by Chris Wadsworth, former executive chef at Nottoway Plantation. Restaurant IPO’s (Map it!) menu focuses on tapas with Louisiana ingredients—nearly everything comes from within 150 miles of Baton Rouge—but with some worldly flair thrown in. Between the coconut-curried mussels, bleu cheese wings, redfish ceviche tacos and fried shrimp tossed over Asian noodles, it’s a world tour on small plates.
“I love infusing flavors that you wouldn’t think would typically work together,” says Wadsworth. “I like it when people look at the menu and kind of say, ‘Really?‘” Items like pork confit with peach barbecue sauce, sweet potato bread pudding, and even specialty drinks like the ginger and cilantro margarita are Wadsworth’s inventions. For hungrier diners, Restaurant IPO offers more substantial stand-alone dishes, like the ribeye steak and pecan-smoked duck, as well as light soups and salads. Influences on the menu are varied—there’s a little French, Spanish, Italian, Asian and much more. And everything on the menu, from tapas to entree to salad, is designed to be paired with a glass of wine, a cocktail or a beer.
The interior is just as locally-focused as the menu, with handmade cypress furniture designed and built by a local artisan. The décor bears that downtown trend of exposing the bones of the building and letting them stand on their own, giving it a somewhat industrial feel. Still, with lots of natural wood and a lofted ceiling, it could also be called cozy. For downtown diners looking for a place to grab a bite and a sip before or after a show, this may prove to be a new favorite.