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Big Easy Eats: Doing Dinner Differently

May 11 2012 | What's New

This May, New Orleans Restaurants’ Big Easy Eats blog series serves up the best places to eat on every occasion!

The dinner date is an age-old standby; there’s something to be said for creativity, but there’s also something to be said for better-than-just-edible food that you don’t have to cook yourself. All that’s left is to pick the perfect place. Luckily, New Orleans Restaurants knows just where to go. We’ll start with a Louisiana staple, and branch out from there.

If it’s actually a date, you’re looking for somewhere intimate--not too loud--and unless you’ve been married for eighty years and have run out of things to say, or you have iron self-control, avoid places with wall-mounted TVs like the plague. Try Cafe Atchafalaya on Louisiana Avenue: after changing hands several times in the past few years, they’ve found a winning combination of solid chef, attentive service and indulgent Creole dishes. The boudin-stuffed quail wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon will make you glad you scored a nearby parking spot.

Those looking for less-local flavors are in luck, and so are their wallets with the advent of Uptown's Magasin Vietnamese Cafe, a fresh, modern take on a Vietnamese noodle shop. A traditional menu with bun (vermicelli) and com (rice) is updated with tons of options, like the lemongrass chicken banh mi (Vietnamese po-boy) and panko-fried shrimp balls. There’s even vegan pho (noodle soup). Best of all, everything on the menu is under $11. Did we die and go to foodie heaven?

“But, New Orleans Restaurants,” you cry helplessly. “I want both Creole and Vietnamese in the same night!”

Wish granted, and mind blown. Chef Dominique Macquet, of Dominique’s on Magazine, has opened Tamarind by Dominique inside the Hotel Modern, where he and chef de cuisine Quan Tran are dishing up delectable creations like Louisiana shrimp with tempura kohlrabi and tamarind remoulade. Imaginative cocktails from seasoned mixologist Kimberly Patton Bragg, like the Bird’s Eye Vieux (Kumquat Thai Spice Liqueur, Canton, lime, cilantro, and soda) provide the perfect liquid accompaniment.

So, whether you're jonesing for local tastes or exotic plates, New Orleans' restaurant scene is here to serve.

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