Scientists calculate that dressing up a crawfish in beads and teaching it to play the trumpet only succeeds once every 800 attempts. Opt for an easier taste of the Big Easy with today’s Groupon: $12 gets you $30 worth of authentic Cajun and Creole fare and drinks at Broadway Oyster Bar in downtown St. Louis.
Broadway Oyster Bar is a bona fide bayou destination for Mardi Gras and beyond. Sauce magazine readers named the laid-back NOLA fare their favorite Cajun/Creole and third-favorite seafood in 2009. Boasting the most authentic Louisiana dining this far up the Mississippi, Broadway’s menu offers up French Quarter staples like the beloved crawfish ($13.95), a spicy bucket of the delicious crustaceans flavored with lemon garlic butter. The fried catfish platter ($10.95) comes with traditional rice and beans for those with a limited tolerance for spice and a love of all things golden and crisp. Tickle your spice tooth with a heap of jambalaya ($9.95), packed with savory andouille, chicken, shrimp, and ham. Other N'awlins favorites include classic po’ boy sandwiches ($8.95 with catfish, $9.95 for shrimp or oysters) and creamy crawfish étoufée ($13.95). Broadway also offers daily fresh-fish specials, as well as half-shell slups at the oyster bar.
With a party atmosphere modeled after the French Quarter, Broadway is prime St. Louis real estate during Fat Tuesday. The historic, 150-year-old building houses an old-fashioned dining room and a heated outdoor patio that plays host to nightly entertainment. Catch nationally touring bands and local favorites, including New Orleans funk, blues, reggae, rock, roots, and jam bands. Mardi Gras should see the place completely jazzed: the saints will march, the catfish will sizzle, and the Groupon-garnered wine will flow. You can buy multiples as gifts and use two Groupons for tables of four or more, so call your three cousins with the French-sounding middle names.
- You can't fake atmosphere like this. In a building that dates to the 1820s, there's a fireplace, a drafty door and vigorously uneven floors. The side patio is in the oeuvre of the House of Blues. Still, the kitchen puts out food that will satiate that itch to head for New Orleans. – Gayot
- All the ingredients combine to create a true St. Louis experience, even if they’re trying to transport you to the bayou. These qualities are genuine to Broadway Oyster Bar which is indeed one of the best beer gardens and indoor/outdoor dining establishments the city has to offer. – Steven Fitzpatrick Smith, Sauce
- I had oysters on the half shell and a fried oyster po' boy. The food was excellent. The oysters were sweet and succulent. – jpap10, TripAdvisor
Broadway Oyster Bar
Though it sits squarely in St. Louis, Broadway Oyster Bar might as well inhabit New Orleans. Even from the outside, the 150-year-old building exudes the revelry of the French Quarter, as an art-deco neon sign emblazoned with music notes joins colorful string lanterns to form an illuminated invitation for patrons to come in and live a little. Of course, inside is where the Cajun atmosphere is most apparent, especially in whiffs of dishes named the favorite Cajun/creole cuisine of the Sauce Magazine readers’ poll every year since 2003. Chef Brad Hagen's acclaimed recipes include marinated alligator with homemade tartar sauce, shucked oysters topped with spinach cream sauce, and fresh-baked Gambino's bread filled with traditional po' boy fixings, such as fried catfish and shrimp. Feasts unfold in a cozy dining room or an open-air patio enclosed and heated in winter. There, local and national musicians grace the stage seven nights a week to play funk and blues tunes, just like Mom used to.