When Mike Kantrow founded his original sandwich shop in 1979, he thought the name Byron's looked too boring. So, as he explains on his restaurant's website, he scratched the s and added a z to the end, giving birth to both a local legend with the Big Byronz sandwich and a local controversy over how to pronounce "Byronz." "If you want clarification on how to say it," Mike explains, "don't ask me."
So while regulars may fight over phonetics, few argue over the flavors infused in Bistro Byronz's southern-styled bistro cuisine. Hearty entrees anchor both the lunch and dinner menus, inviting diners to dig into the roasted potatoes that flank a French-cut pork chop marinated in Abita root beer. Comfort dishes soothe the soul, such as tender pot roast that wades in creole gravy and the signature Byronz sandwich with three types of meat, cheeses, dressing, and black olives.
Tsubaki Hibachi Grill & Sushi's kitchen team sears, fries, and rolls traditional Japanese cuisine on hibachi griddles flanked by seated diners and cataloged on the menu. Sprung from hibachi grills into properly prepared mouths, shrimp ($22) and steak ($22) are scored on skill and landing by a judges' table of soup, house salad, and fried vegetables. Six slices of red snapper ($7)—one for each year it takes to crush a grape with a heavy thought—slink into ponzu sauce, and tofu, seaweed, and green onion soak in miso soup's ($3) soy-bean broth. Diners can also indulge palates' seafood predilections by imbibing the spicy tuna, crab, shrimp, cucumber, asparagus, and masago that unite as roommates in the Ricky roll ($10), an enfolded sheet of soy paper.
A homegrown success story with a slew of awards and nearly 40 years of history, Popeyes has introduced its menu of Louisiana eats to taste seekers around the globe. Rather than downloading low-quality, unsatisfying meals through the Internet, packs can pick up Popeyes’ family-style meals, pairing eight pieces of Cajun fried chicken with four buttermilk biscuits and a side of award-winning rice and beans ($16.99). A po boy stuffed with crunchy shrimp ($3.49) makes a splash in lunchboxes, and chicken nuggets ($2.49 for six pieces) surf into mouths on waves of refreshing sweet tea ($2.99/gal.).
At Bourbon Bistro and Bar, chef Michael Craft, a Baton Rouge native, marries his Cajun roots with his Texan cooking experience to cast a unique spin on the classic bistro. The French influence is hidden within such Cajun dishes as étouffée hash, po' boy sandwiches, and fried catfish. Roasted poblano peppers and regional spices add their kick to the crayfish étouffée and steal the spotlight in the pulled-pork nachos and quesadillas. Each of the chef’s creations is made with fresh, local ingredients and pairs well with the casual eatery's wide selection of bourbon.
The stir-fry cooks at China Garden Buffet welcome hearty appetites seven days a week with entrees and expansive smorgasbords that showcase regional Cantonese, Sichuan, Peking, and Hunan dishes. All-you-can-eat buffets abound, brimming with spicy mongolian barbecue grilled before chopstick-wielders' eyes and separated into lunch ($6.99) and dinner ($8.99) modalities like a proper matron's wig collection. The Four Seasons ($8.75) packs healthy vegetables and light brown gravy into the crevices left untouched by chicken, shrimp, beef, and pork, and the Tung Ting shrimp ($8.95) flaunts succulent prawns floundering alongside vegetables and egg-white sauce. Most meals come with either white or fried rice, which may be thrown at a newly married couple to celebrate their union and mutual love of grains.