Considering how anything even remotely New Orleans-related stops traffic, this is big news.
David Kinch, the chef-owner of Los Gatos' Manresa (which won its third Michelin star this fall), will open a comparatively casual bar and restaurant half a mile away from his flagship and named for the gorgeous neighborhood of the city Kinch grew up in. The Bywater, opening Jan. 12, will be cocktail-heavy, as its bar team comes from some top-notch places 50 miles or so to the north, like Trick Dog, Kin Khao, ABV, and Rickhouse, and divide its menu in thirds: Crescent City Classics (think Sazeracs and other Vieux Carré favorites), Exotic Delights (odes to the city's historical association with the tropics), and a slightly more mysterious Creole Goods. If that sounds a little highfalutin for your taste, fear not, because there will be a frozen daiquiri machine.
Like Brenda's Soul Food but with a raw bar, the Bywater will serve a lot of fried green tomatoes and po'boys, fried chicken and red snapper court bouillon with andouille and shrimp, shrimp and grits and gumbo z'herbes. For such ambitions, it's on the small side, with a 10-seat bar, a 20-seat heated patio, and a 30-seat dining room, but then again, Manresa's Fireplace Room only seats 26. A month or so after opening, there will be brunch, too. Suddenly a commute to Los Gatos doesn't sound so terrible.
The Bywater, 532 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos