Once barefoot castaways find a table amid The Beach House’s bamboo wall coverings, tiki statues, and paper lanterns, they can savor a Mexico-inflected menu while nodding emphatically to live music from local singers and songwriters, blues groups, and country artists. Silence your stomach's snarls and endless complaints about the declining quality of The Simpsons with The Beach House queso dip ($6.95) and the southern-fried pickles ($4.95) before deep-sea diving into a steaming ocean of fried shrimp and spinach salad ($8.95), the grouper po' boy ($10.95), or the favorite among The Beach House's regulars, the fish tacos ($10.95). Landlubbers who prefer turf to surf can instead sharpen their incisors on a charbroiled burger ($7.95) or lime and jalapeño chicken ($9.95). A dessert of banana chocolate-chip bread pudding drenched in rum sauce ($5.95) caps the meal with a spectacular finish, much like watching an Olympic diver explode into confetti upon hitting the water.
Crawfish, crabs, and sweet potato fries better watch out at Orlando's Seafood Restaurant, where the cooks transform such gems into sky-high heaps of homestyle meals. Savored on a pile of fettuccine, between the buns of a po' boy, or plain on a plate with a squeeze of lemon, the fish and shellfish at Orlando's routinely inspires the licking of fingers and the throwing of bottled thank-you notes into the sea. While fried catfish, oysters on the half-shell, and boiled Dungeness crabs keep seafood-spearing eaters content, juicy steaks seared to order cater to land-based palates. And on Thursday nights, ears indulge in live jam sessions as local bluegrass musicians strum, drum, and pick.
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 Beach House's flame brandishers grill up hearty entrees, seafood spreads, gumbos, and meat-laden sandwiches comprising a menu teeming with local New Orleans flavors. A basket of fries ($3.49), which can come baptized with a splash of Cajun seasoning, prepares stomachs for the Tolstoy-size rib-eye steak, a 16-ounce slab of hand-cut beef ($14.99) that can sport an optional shawl of crawfish sauce for $1 more. Broiled shrimp butterfly stroking pools of barbeque sauce ($9.99), a crab-cake salad ($8.49) souses tongues with tastes of the sea, and an esophagus-warming cup of chicken and sausage gumbo ($3.99) and a roast-beef po boy ($7.99) lend mouths land-based flavor treks devoid of bland soil and shifty tectonic dishware.
You can get virtually everything on Kenner Seafood's long list of seafood prepared up to five ways. That means the restaurant's tables regularly teem with blackened shrimp, grilled tilapia, fried frog legs, and endless others served on plates, stuffed in po-boys, and tossed in pasta dishes. They also enrich home-cooked meals with heat-and-serve dishes and direct shipments of seafood.
Overlooking St. Charles Avenue, Mia's Balcony offers Mardi Gras revelers a central view of grand, glittering floats and shimmering beads. But the restaurant isn’t content to host a party once a year; on the other 364 days, visitors cheer on the college, professional, and sock-puppet football games broadcast over the patio's outdoor televisions, and a banquet room is available for private soirees. While watching a Saints or LSU game or just chatting, guests can share small plates of seared scallops on the half-shell or fish croquettes or dig into substantial entrees such as pepper-jelly lamb chops. On weekend mornings, the chefs prepare brunch dishes including creole omelets and veal grillades over grits.
Local artwork, exposed-brick walls, and fireplaces set an inviting scene indoors. Bartenders fill glasses with craft beers, wine, and potent cocktails such as the French 75, a champagne- and gin-based drink based on a vintage recipe.