The team behind the James Beard Award-winning CureCo (Cure and Cane & Table) will open “La Ventana at VALS” today in New Orleans at 4632 Freret Street.
La Ventana at VALS, which translates directly to “the window at VALS,” will operate as a walk-up window serving a limited menu of traditional and regional Mexican-inspired dishes from chef-partner Alfredo Nogueira along with a tight list of beer and cocktails crafted by partners Turk Dietrich and Neal Bodenheimer. Both VALS and La Ventana at VALS are designed by CureCo partner Matthew Kohnke who owns boutique construction and design firm, MNK Construction, in New Orleans.
The corner of Valence and Freret was once home to a historic gas station and is now reimagined under Kohnke’s direction to evoke a casual space complete with outdoor patio seating, a lively bar and a laid-back indoor dining space (the latter two will be introduced in the weeks to follow). The name “VALS” was discovered on the wall of the space as Kohnke and his team were peeling paint, removing panels and updating fabric of the building.
“Our vision for VALS always included an approachable window offering tacos and margaritas to-go,” shared partner Turk Dietrich. “Once the pandemic hit, we knew that window would be essential for VALS survival. This is not the opening we planned for. We imagined seating guests in our dining room, hugging neighbors and friends on their way in and sharing a meal. However, we are grateful that we are able to open La Ventana at VALS -- in a neighborhood that has supported us for over a decade -- as a limited version of what’s yet to come.”
Chef-partner Alfredo Nogueira pulled from his extensive travels throughout Mexico to develop a menu that includes both traditional and regionally-inspired dishes. To start, La Ventana at VALS will offer chips with a selection of salsas, constantly rotating seasonal ceviches, salads, elotes, pickled vegetables and pit beans alongside a menu of tacos. Initial taco offerings include Crispy Beef Belly, Pork Shoulder, Green Mole Chicken, Fried Fish and Sweet Potato with Salsa Macha at $3 each. La Ventana at VALS will serve frozen margaritas (16 oz or by the gallon), micheladas, beers, Mexican sodas and non-alcoholic beverages to start.
“We wanted to create a menu that was approachable, value-driven and transportive. The dishes were inspired both by the decade I spent living and cooking in Chicago and my travels throughout Mexico, including a brief stint living there,” said Alfredo Nogueira. “Bright and acidic notes to complement the deeply flavorful meats, fresh fish and seasonal produce we are working with. Salsas and marinades to layer flavor and add texture to the plate. Everything is done with intention, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously at VALS, either.”
La Ventana at VALS will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 4:00 - 10:00 PM. Guests will place walk-up orders at the window either to-go or to enjoy while at the restaurant’s outdoor patio. The patio seats 32 guests, though full service will not be offered immediately upon launch. In the next two weeks, full bar service and placing online advance orders will become available. VALS indoor dining options are planning to open later this summer and will follow guidance from the CDC and local/state officials to ensure the safety of both the restaurant’s team and guests. Updates will be announced on Instagram @valsnola and at valsnola.com.
CureCo is responsible for two of New Orleans' beloved cocktail bars and restaurants, Cure and Cane & Table. Cure, nationally regarded as a pioneer in the New Orleans craft cocktail movement, won the coveted James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Bar Program,” in 2018. Sister concept, Cane & Table, which champions rum and Caribbean culinary traditions, was named a James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalist and one of Esquire’s “Best Bars in America.” In Summer 2020, CureCo will introduce VALS, a traditional and regionally-inspired Mexican restaurant and cocktail bar, to its hospitality group.