I wasn't sure what to expect from SoBou, a restaurant from Commander's Palace, but it wasn't gold-and-black interiors, walls of illuminated glass bottles, and an almost Scandinavian aesthetic. This sleek spot, whose name refers to its South of Bourbon location, is miles (literally and figuratively) from the Garden District go-to.
The bar feels less stark and more comforting, thanks in no small part to ex-New Yorker Abigail Gullo. She started me off with her favorite tipple du jour, Paris between the Wars, a fizzy scotch-based cocktail with bitters, lemon, and apple cider that's the perfect aperitif for chef Juan Carlos Gonzalez's Latin-influenced fare.
To start, I had cones of yellowfin tartare with pineapple and basil-avocado ice cream topped with toasted coconut—the perfect combination of sweet and salty, creamy and crunchy. I saved room for oyster tacos with Cajun ghost pepper caviar and summer squash three ways, proof that the South can do vegetables (even if one of the preparations is deep-fried).
Before I left, Gullo poured me a shot of her homemade negroni, a potent, tasty concoction. I'll be back for the chef's cochon de lait gumbo and more of Gullo's clever cocktails.