It's no small feat to whip up one of The Olive Branch Café's gourmet pizzas. The painstaking process begins long before lunchtime, with chefs preparing dough fresh for the day each morning. There's barely a moment to rest before orders begin flying in and the pizza makers spring into action, showering crusts with housemade sauces and high-quality cheeses. Their brows furrowed in concentration, their hands blurs, they layer pizzas with fresh garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and fine spanish olives. Once the pies arrive triumphantly to the dining room, the chefs turn their attention to thick muffuletta subs, plump meatball calzones, and the jambalaya pastas that caught the attention of Gambit’s Best of New Orleans guide.
Out in the casual dining room, beneath warm red walls peppered with abstract art, guests clink glasses, feeling more content than a robot in a microchip factory. There, owner Russell "Rusty" Autry often strolls around the room, greeting newcomers and exchanging jokes with regulars.
At Daiwa Sushi Bar & Japanese Cuisine, executive chef Ken transforms fresh ingredients into dishes that embody the traditional spirit of Japanese cuisine. Building upon a decade of schooling, chef Ken hand selects superior ingredients for his dishes, from top-end Japanese rice and fresh uni to ruby-red tuna steaks and jewel-encrusted salmon fillets. These ingredients contribute to hibachi dishes and sushi rolls—plated with zig-zags of sauce and curled herb sprigs—that emerge from the kitchen either piping hot or revenge cold. Inside the dining room, light fixtures shaped like flowers and walls with murals of cherry blossoms contribute to the tranquil ambiance.
With 15 finger-devouring flavors of Buffalo wings and a menu offering meaty burgers and fresh salads, Wing Zone has become a national go-to for delivery and takeout. Nosh on wings in their boneless or original style, with orders ranging from 7 ($5.99) to 50 wings ($31.99), and use the flavor's heat index (1 for mild, 4 for hottest) to determine the sauce's spiciness and ability to provide warmth when coating a body. The garlic-parmesan sauce artfully blends garlic with cracked pepper, and the hot honey-teriyaki mixes honey with ginger and soy. Wing Zone also serves a variety of side dishes, such as wedge fries ($1.99–$3.49) and beer-battered onion rings ($2.99–$4.99), which offer the occasional respite from wing munching. Savory half-pound burgers and chicken sandwiches ($7.99+) make for an adequate post-wing dessert.
Southern Sweet Potato Pie Company specializes in creating authentic, freshly baked New Orleans desserts made with all-natural ingredients and steeped in old family recipes and Deep South flavors. Surprise your taste buds and their sweet teeth frenemies with the Ooey Gooey cake, an 8"x11.5" two-layered palate-approving confection. The bottom layer is a bastion of buttery yellow cake, smoothed with a top layer of decadent cream cheese and powdered sugar, and filled with a middle layer of flirtatious yet chaste demeanor. The cake is frozen to maintain its quality and can be easily thawed before serving.