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.
Located in the heart of River Town, Amour de Cafe momentarily whisks guests to the French countryside, amusing tastes buds with delectable baked goods washed down with hot and iced caffeinated concoctions. Before seizing the day, early risers can grasp the classic breakfast combination of egg and cheese with bacon or sausage sandwiched between a biscuit or English muffin ($2.75), or have the same on a bagel or croissant ($3.25). A hot cappuccino ($2.90/12 oz., $3.55/20 oz.) or iced café mocha ($3.75/16 oz., $4.60/24 oz.) pair well with morning foodstuffs, intriguing the senses with the perfect mixture of coffee, chocolate, and uncontrollable sighs of contentment. Cinnamon rolls ($1.99) and biscotti ($1.25) silence plaintive sweet teeth after a tuna- or chicken-salad wrap ($3.50/one, $6/two) or Caesar salad ($3.99/small, $5.99/large).
With four of its art-deco bedecked establishments open 24 hours, Dots Diner awakens morning munchers and lulls late-night eaters with fresh ingredients and made-to-order fare piled generously atop platters. Dots' fixed menu, fashioned from family recipes and teeming with eggs, grits, buttermilk pancakes ($3.99), and burgers ($1.39–$5.99), is available for breakfast, lunch, and twilight brunch. The house specialty, new orleans omelet packs crawfish, savory sauce, and swiss cheese in an eggy embrace ($7.99), and the fried shrimp po' boy dresses crispy shrimp in lettuce, tomato, pickles, french bread, and a beret ($6.99). Greet sweet teeth of all ages with apple pie à la mode ($3.69) or sip a root-beer float, lavishing your taste buds with ice cream and soft drink ($2.99), a fusion as memorable as whiskey and cookies.
In the kitchen at Fat Molly’s, the hands of chefs flutter above sheets of marinara-cloaked dough, scattering inventive toppings such as gulf shrimp, artichokes, and boudin. Athletic events broadcast on four flat-screen TVs, augmenting the clatter of silverware with the sounds of cracking bats and mascots with their tails under rocking chairs. Drawing upon a selection of meats including fried chicken and smoked sausage, patrons design their own poor boys. Tearing into the sandwiches despite their warmth, they take swigs from 30 beer options, including Abita Purple Haze and Lazy Magnolia’s brown ale crafted from roasted pecans, which bestow the mash with earthy caramel flavors. The eatery's walls are festooned with works by local artists, ranging from a triptych of a jazz musician to an abstract of a stacked sandwich and a poignant deconstrionist piece by the back door, which reads, simply "Exit."
X-treme Burger's menu lets burger connoisseurs architect towering creations from the bun up. Adorn a half-pound beef, turkey, or veggie burger with a Carmen Miranda hat of pineapple, avocado, and onion rings, or take a less-traveled road with bacon, chipotle, and peanut butter. Beside the flock of possible toppings, the sandwiches are customizable with sesame buns, whole wheat, or texas toast, and can be drizzled with sauces such as barbecue, honey mustard, or the house X-treme sauce and served with sides such as sweet potato fries and baked macaroni. Shakes or malts provide a sweet finish for dining duets, who can also opt to feed each other spoonfuls of a classic banana split in a recreation of the Nixon-Kennedy presidential debate. Meal-seekers can also opt to apply the $12 value toward breakfast eats ($2.49–$5.49 for entrees) including short stacks of fluffy pancakes or a country breakfast of grits and eggs.
Harnessing the heat of an open-flame char broiler, the spatula specialists at Ground Pat'i flip, sear, and season succulent burgers and steaks made with USDA Choice beef. Sharpen incisors on a juicy half-pound signature Ground Pat'i burger ($8.25), or opt to challenge chompers by excavating through strata of bacon atop the applewood-bacon cheese Ground Pat'i burger ($9.25). Tender rib-eye steaks ($17.95) are char grilled before providing diners with enough delicious protein to bench-press unsuspecting dates. A variety of hot sandwiches fills restless jazz hands with lighter cuts, including chicken, shrimp, and tuna. After meals, rattle stomach estates one more time with a deluge of chocolate and frosting from the Oreo brownie sundae ($5.45), one of three sacchariferous dessert options. To sate thirsty urges, browse the eclectic selection of specialty drinks and draft beers at the full-service bar.
Roaring grills and bubbling fryers at Rosco's prepare fresh meaty delights and comfort fare seasoned with a flurry of traditional Cajun spices. The menu unfolds to reveal 16 full or half-portion po boys, which cradle fillings such as fried catfish ($8.99 for a full portion) in a bassinet of fresh french bread ringed by golden fries, tomato, and secretly sentient stuffed animals. Seafood baskets gather together morsels of fried shrimp ($10.50) trained to leap neatly into mouths, and sides such as crawfish pie ($2.50 for a small portion) illuminate all four of the tongue's tasting centers with complex spices and a drool-proof light plot. Rosco's also sells fresh-caught seafood such as crabs and crawfish, and sets out a kids' menu for developing palates and miniature appetites.