The space the restaurant occupies was first owned by a Baptist church and in the deed they prohibited any future occupants from selling alcohol on the grounds. So, when a new owner took over they built the restaurant below ground, skirting the no-booze clause.
For the next 37 years, Dakota’s was a 1,800-square-foot high-end underground steakhouse with classic New Orleans charm and a five-tier water wall.
McEneny spent more than a year getting the space ready. In a statement, the owners say they "saved the restaurant’s historic dining room and patio to display its original black and white photographs, hand-cut Italian Carrera marble, dark-wood paneling and New Orleans-inspired gas lamps."
Other new menu highlights include lobster and king crab rigatoni served with 'nduja, mussels, cherry tomatoes, English peas, basil and toasted breadcrumbs. A beef Wellington with puff pastry is made with mushroom duxelles, prosciutto and a bordelaise sauce. Roasted bone marrow will be served with a braised oxtail and beet marmalade.
For lunch, as a nod to the restaurant's history, steak frites are priced at $19.84, to symbolize the year the restaurant first opened. The lunch menu will also include a shaved rib-eye sandwich, buttermilk fried chicken and a traditional turkey club.
Reservations are now available on OpenTable.
Dakota's 600 N. Akard St. (Downtown), 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday - Saturday. Happy hour is every weekday 4 to 6 p.m.