Bywater American Bistro and The Elysian Bar are semifinalists for the honor of Best New Restaurant in America, in the list of semifinalists announced Wednesday by the James Beard Awards.

Bywater American Bistro opened last spring, as the second restaurant for Chef Nina Compton. Compton previously won a James Beard Award for her work at her first restaurant, Compere Lapin.

The Elysian Bar, located inside the Marigny's new Hotel Peter and Paul, opened last fall. Chef Alex Harrell, previously of Sylvain and Angeline, has earned headlines for his work at the new restaurant.

Another local semifinalist in a national category is Ana Castro of Coquette. She is nominated as Rising Star Chef of the Year, an award presented to a chef age 30 or younger.

Several local chefs are semifinalists in the category of Best Chef: South, including Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette; Michael Gulotta, for Maypop; Mason Hereford, Turkey and the Wolf;Slade Rushing, Brennan’s; and Isaac Toups of Toups' Meatery. The Best Chef: South category is open to chefs in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas and Puerto Rico.

As semifinalists, the restaurants will advance in the next round of competition for the James Beard Awards, with finalists to be announced March 27. Winners will be announced in Chicago on May 6.

Frequent nominee and winner Donald Link of Herbsaint is nominated for Outstanding Chef in the country.

Kelly Fields of Willa Jean is a semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef and Brigtsen's is nominated for outstanding service.

JoAnn Clevenger, proprietor of Upperline, is once again nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur.

Also, Bacchanal is a semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Program.