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Photo by RANDY BERGERON -- Poutine at P-Beau's

Joining the growing diversity of eateries clustered near Bass Pro in Denham Springs is P-Beau’s.

From the family that brought Portobello’s Grill to Baton Rouge comes a relaxed, open-air restaurant that promises “comfort food elevated.” And, it is.

Settling into a cozy booth on a Friday night, we soaked in the atmosphere — casual and industrial — from the concrete floor to the ceiling with its exposed air-conditioning ductwork. Many on the wait staff wore shorts as they whisked from the kitchen to their tables and back again.

Speaking of the kitchen, patrons can see right in, as there’s only a partial wall between it and the dining area. Awash in grays and whites with pops of red, the cavernous room features a bar to the left of the front door and a table shuffleboard game sitting along the far wall.

Having trouble nailing down an appetizer, our waitress, Juls, recommended the Poutine ($9.99). Thanks, Juls. Once our eyes popped back into their sockets, we dove into this giant offering.

Served in its aluminum baking pan (more of that industrial feel), this Canadian dish takes house-cut fries (a little thicker than shoestring), pours on bits of short rib meat in a thin, brown gravy; adds some melting, stringy cheddar curds; and drizzles horseradish cream over it all for that little extra kick. A wonderful mix of flavors in each bite, the appetizer could easily feed four.

We were also tantalized by the Tavern Double Cheeseburger ($9.99). Two thin juicy patties topped with melted sharp Cheddar were stacked between a fresh, slightly sweet bun. The menu says P-Beau’s grinds short rib, brisket and chuck into its burgers, and it works. Add mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, purple onions and house-made pickles and you get a drippy, delicious, not-soon-to-be-forgotten masterpiece. The burger is usually served with fries, but since we had had the poutine, Juls said substituting the Stir-fry Green Beans was no problem.

Attractively presented, the beans had a nice little crunch and lots of flavor, although the bits of red pepper made the vegetable a bit too spicy for our tastes.

The Redfish LeBeau ($18.99) offered a man-hand-sized pan-seared, mildly flavored redfish filet and about a half-dozen plump shrimp in a nicely seasoned New Orleans-style barbecue butter, not overly spicy, all served over thin spaghetti. Served in a large bowl with rounded sides, we found cutting the spaghetti somewhat annoying and think this could be avoided by serving this one on a large plate.

Extending its originality to its dessert menu, P-Beau’s calls its sweet meal-enders “goodie jars.” The Lemon Icebox ($4.99) was a luscious, layered confection served in a petite Mason jar with a wired lid. Lemon custard alternated with graham cookie crumbs topped off with loads of whipped cream. Sweet, but remarkably light, my guest and I easily shared this one, as well. Next time, we may attempt the Chocolate Jar, which sounds perfectly sinful: “Layers of milk chocolate custard and sweet mascarpone cream over a bed of Louisiana pecan crumble, and topped with double whipped cream.” OMG!

Follow Judy Bergeron on Twitter, @judybergeronbr.