Some restaurants are formal affairs, complete with white linens and endless tiny forks. Not so at Cajun Swamp—referred to fondly by most as just "The Swamp". Eating crawfish is never a delicate affair, that's why butcher paper takes the place of starched linens, and grown folks wear bibs with a smile on their faces. Other New Orleans-style dishes include jambalaya, po’boys, and crab legs. In the background of the main event, flat-screen TVs play sports and music to add to the casual ambiance. On weekends, The Swamp stays open until 2 a.m., perfect to grab a late-night snack or to plan a midnight raid to rescue frog legs from their top halves and give them a safe stomach to hide in.
JP23BBQ Smokehouse & Sports Bar's menu of saucy, slow-smoked barbecue has quite literally risen from the ashes. Bouncing back from a January 2012 blaze that postponed the restaurant's grand opening, the eatery's doors are now open and the signature sauces are flowing. The wing station alone brims with 23 varieties of sauces, which range in spice from the mild tandoori curry to the five-alarm Inferno, a sauce that contains enough habanero peppers to heat a small planet. Brisket, pulled pork, and baby back ribs hit platters after spending hours in the onsite smokehouse, while hulking half-pound burgers slide off the grill to don toppings of cheese, caramelized onions, and bacon. At the bar, 30 taps bring forth imported, domestic, and craft beers as mixologists craft 23 different types of cocktails, adding even more life to a space equipped with 40 TVs, a 12-foot projector, and an expansive heated patio.
Max Bloom's treats customers to classic café fare in an old-timey 1940s ambience, as vintage film posters, black-and-white photographs of glamorous starlets, and other remnants of pulp past line the walls. Max Bloom's menu percolates with caffeinated cups of house-blend coffee ($0.89–$1.80) and café lattes ($2.70–3.85), as well as vintage sodas ($1.85) and milkshakes ($4), which are concocted by a 1940s commercial mixer to impart the wholesome taste of postwar America. Diners can don their swellest petticoats and order a roast-beef panini as fuel for future foxtrot competitions ($4.75), or wake up with the breakfast burrito before imparting on a noir-esque detective hunt to find out who murdered the department store's mannequins ($3+). Max Bloom's also has a swinging calendar of events, including open-mic nights, film showings on Mondays, and live music.
A small flight of stairs leads guests down into a rustically decorated room, which evokes the ambiance of a subterranean wine cellar with its earthen arches, barrel-lined walls, and soft chandelier lighting. Designed by the artisans who created Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean, the dining room appeals to a similarly nostalgic whimsy. However, the cooks slightly modernize the menu's historic European roots by introducing unexpected ingredients.
The chefs elevate simple grilled-cheese sandwiches by slipping in braised short ribs, caramelized shallots, and horseradish cream alongside the gruyere and monterey jack cheeses, and a splash of cognac adds even more richness to the silken lobster bisque. Thai barbecue-glazed tofu and basmati rice also help to distinguish the menu by lending it a distinctly international flare.
Staying true to its name, The Cellar proudly features a 1,400-bottle wine list, which, according to the staff, helped to garner the restaurant Wine Spectator's exclusive Grand Award. The selection includes familiar staples, boutique producers, and rare vintages from virtually every major wine-producing region except the Marianas Trench.