A hunk of brisket at VooDoo BBQ & Grill begins its journey suspended over a bed of pecan and oak logs. Coated in a dry rub of local spices, the meat slowly turns on a rotisserie rod for up to 16 hours, its skin crisping while the inside stays a warm pink. The chefs smoke all their beef brisket and pulled pork over logs from Louisiana-based trees to lend them the region's unique smoked flavor, even at the risk of confusing passing botanists. They lightly coat grilled sausages, chicken, and burgers in three signature sauces inspired by the state's Cajun recipes. To complement their menagerie of smoked and grilled meats, they sling a variety of southern sides such as corn pudding, greens, and potato salads. At each of the 13 locations, the aroma of roasting meat fills a space of dark-stained wood and wrought iron; dining rooms awash in a palette of reds, greens, and oranges buzz with the sounds of jazz and blues.
Named for the ever-present loaves of bread that stood as religious offerings at the Temple in Jerusalem, The Table is Bread mingles Southern culinary and spiritual traditions in a spacious dining room. The menu brims with classic Southern specialties alongside Cajun-tinged seafood such as the signature Table La-La, a juicy catfish fillet fried or grilled and smothered in zesty crawfish étouffée. The centerpieces aren't the only flavors in the spotlight, however. "The candied yams were my favorite," writes Shermin Khan of Dig Baton Rouge. "Cooked with brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon, [they were] neither too greasy nor overly sweet." Khan also expands upon the restaurant's spiritual focus, which draws weekly performances by gospel musicians and includes maintaining an alcohol-free atmosphere.
Chefs top their oven-baked specialty pizzas with eclectic combinations of ingredients—such as shrimp and jalapeños or barbeque chicken and mozzarella—but that’s just a slice of the Phat Boy'z pie. They also slather crispy golden wings with nine unique sauces ranging from lemon pepper to spicy mango and concoct fruit-festooned dessert pizzas for carry-out or delivery to the bottom of a precariously placed well.
D Jon's Restaurant soothes rumbling stomachs with a menu of lunch and dinner offerings, including seafood, sandwiches, and Southern classics. Reel in the Catfish Baton Rouge, which smothers a battered and fried catfish with crawfish étouffée ($14.95), or soak up the syrupy stylings of the chicken-and-waffle plate ($12.95), an unlikely partnership of no-nonsense sass and smooth-talking charm coming soon to a theater near you. D Jon's Restaurant also serves up breakfast fare and offers entertainment to soothe ears and eyes weary from the gnashing of hungry mouths.
Thai Pepper spicys up evenings with authentic Thai cuisine served with a plethora of fresh vegetables and herbs, minimal oil, and extra-lean meat. Feasting begins at 5 p.m. with the clanging of the bell pepper, ushering in dinner-menu options such as the papaya salad ($7.25), a dynamic duo of papaya and carrots flying high with lime juice, roasted peanuts, and fresh chili. Rice gangs stick together, staking out their turf on the entrees, all of which can be made-to-order with meat staples such as chicken, pork, or beef ($9.75 each), shrimp or combo entrees ($11.95 each), fish ($12.75), vegetables, or vegetables and tofu ($8.95 each). Cuisine conquerors can wash down hearty meals with imported beers ($3.75), such as the Sapporo from Japan or the Tsingtao from China, or the house wine ($3.25/glass), which comes in chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and white zinfandel incarnations.
Lucy's laid-back staff chops, slices, and serves a mouthwatering mélange of Cajun, Californian, and Mexican cuisine from their eclectic menu. The Cali burger ($8.95) healthfully silences the stomach's high-pitched whale calls with a tender turkey patty nestled on a whole-wheat bun. Diners can also feast on surfer-inspired handhelds such as todos santos fish tacos ($10.95 for two), or dive into the fried-shrimp-and-spinach salad's sea of creole mustard vinaigrette ($9.95). Appetizers such as the Jamaican jerk chicken ($7.95) prepare teeth for cross-cultural chomping with four chicken-breast skewers drenched in tangy Pali sauce and dressed in matching mini swim trunks.