At last count, there were more than 1,500 restaurants in New Orleans. We feel confident when we say that Suis Generis (pronounced: soo-ee jen-er-is) in the Bywater is like no other. But, more than that, it’s not even the same restaurant this week that it was last.
The menu at Suis Generis changes every week, inspired by whatever’s ready to pick at Tiki Farm in Pearlington, Mississippi, located just 40 minutes from New Orleans. Here the staff personally plants, tends and harvests their own exotic fruits, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. They even keep bees to make their own honey and grow six kinds of sugar cane. What’s more, they’re one of only a handful of restaurants in the world who make their miso from scratch. They’ve taken farm to table to a whole new level.
Most restauranteurs will tell you that it’s crazy to change the menu up every week but owner chef Ernie Foundas and his partner Adrienne Bell who runs the front of the house think doing the same thing over and over again is even crazier–not to mention boring. A constantly evolving menu also keeps their neighbors in the Bywater coming back week after week.
To keep things even more interesting, Suis Generis also has theme weeks. After Foundas acquired some “purple rain spinach,” the menu became Prince-themed with items such as “When Quail Fly.” During “Jurassic Week,” they served "Deviled Dinosaur Eggs." They’ve also had an “Invasive Species Week,” and, working with a staffer at the Audubon Insectarium, one Halloween they had bugs like mealworms, dragon flies and water bugs on the menu. According to Foundas, ants, a garnish, have a lemony flavor.
Like their neighbors in the artsy Bywater neighborhood, for the team at Suis Generis, it’s always about creating something new and delicious from scratch. They even make their own dirt here through composting. Their goal is to create very little waste.
The restaurant opened in 2012 and, with things humming along in the Marigny, now the pair is working on their next project – the Food Lab at Tiki Farm – which will open in November of 2022. The Food Lab will be playground for both Suis Generis chefs and for special guest chefs. It will feature cooking glasses as well as multi-course tasting menus in an intimate setting. Guests can tour the farm with the chef who will then cook a meal for them on site. The whole idea is to see where your food comes from so that you feel connected to it and to each other.
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