O'Henrys has served baskets of complimentary salted peanuts to guests since its founding in 1982, and the floors remain whimsically festooned with shells to this day. Owner Rhonda Conley, with more than 20 years at O'Henry's under her belt, works to keep the tradition of the restaurant alive at both locations. Waiters crunch across dining rooms from midday to midnight, bearing plates of freshly ground filet mignon burgers, hearty steaks, and signature Monica cream sauce dishes. Outside, an outdoor balcony scattered with tabletops wraps around the restaurant. The eatery boasts private dining rooms for parties of up to 25 people. It also treats guests to a free new york strip steak if they can prove it's their birthday with a valid ID or by showing video tapes of them not celebrating their birthday the previous 364 days.
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.
Creole and Mexican culinary traditions are a natural fit for one another. Both rely on a healthy dose of spice, and both elevate comfort food. At The Oyster Bar and Grille, chefs draw on the region’s bounty of seafood as well as a range of Mexican recipes. They fill homemade tacos with hot crawfish and batter farm-raised catfish in homemade corn-meal mix. Splashes of champagne make mesquite-grilled oysters sparkle at tables in the dining room, where surfboards and lifebuoys adorn the wall. Murals of beach scenes seem to admit warming sunshine, and an aquarium lets amateur scuba divers practice looking a fish in the eye. High-top tables and stools around the full bar comfortably situate diners, who can also carry po’ boys and oysters on the half shell to the outdoor patio.
At the tender age of 7, Andrea Apuzzo began honing his culinary skills at a bakery in his Italian hometown. "I was spoiled as a kid. We made our own olive oil and wine,” he says in a Gambit article. His breadth of knowledge expanded greatly when, at 14 years old, he embarked on a culinary adventure across Europe and South America. Now at the helm of his own restaurant, Chef Andrea applies the knowledge he learned amid the cream-hued rising loaves and on the chattering South American streets.
The dishes that fill tables at the eatery have been enjoyed by the likes of Queen Elizabeth, President Carter, Sophia Loren, Clint Eastwood, and one dog that figured out how to use a credit card. To share his abilities and experiments, the chef also publishes cookbooks, which detail formulas for the award-winning pastas, fresh seafood, and steaks. Chef Andrea's bistecca pizzaiola earned a place on Esquire's 2008 list of the 20 Best Steaks in America. "Like the best Italian dishes," the article says, "its simple parts add up to an unexpectedly powerful whole."
The expert chefs at China Inn Restaurant captivate taste buds with a diverse menu of delicious Asian fare. Each epicurean excursion begins with a tasty appetizer, such as the boneless spare ribs ($9.75) or the Chinese pizza ($5.75), which celebrates China's close proximity to Italy with flavorful scallion pancakes. Mouthwatering broths, such as the seafood and bean curd soup ($6.95/qt.) prelude an impressive spread of main courses such as the vegetarian Buddha Delight ($5.50/pt.; $7.50/qt.) or the multitextured chicken with chinese mushrooms and bamboo shoots ($6.25/pt.; $8.95/qt.). Refreshing glasses of wine ($5.50 each) cleanse palates in between bites before a dessert of cake and choice of daily-changing flavors of ice cream ($3) cap off enjoyable feastings and challenge conventional chopstick techniques.
For more than 30 years, Star Steak and Lobster House's doorman Joey has been opening the restaurant's door to fill the French Quarter sidewalks with the aromas of aged USDA prime steaks and buttery lobster. After passing through the entryway, patrons can take their seats at sleek wooden tables to share Cajun gator sausage with creole sauce and housemade Louisiana crab cakes glazed with crawfish and mushroom cream sauce. Signature dinner entrees include slow-roasted prime rib and the Cajun filet mignon stuffed with crab, lobster, shrimp, and crawfish tails. To complement the food's lively flavors, every Wednesday through Sunday night bands perform jazz, blues, and classic rock tunes while bartenders mix black-cherry-peach mojitos and pour pint glasses of beer into other pint glasses until infinity is achieved.