Digging In: New twists add sparkle to Cava’s crab cakes _lowres

Photo by Ian McNulty -- Crab cake trio at Cava.

WILDCARD

Boil-Rito

Juan’s Flying Burrito

2018 Magazine St.

(504) 569-0000

4724 S. Carrollton Ave.

(504) 486-9950

juansflyingburrito.com

The rituals and personal variations that flavor our crawfish boils do not stop with the preparation. They also extend to how people eat them. If, like me, you’re the type who likes to pair a tail with a mushroom cap or onion strand for one complete, packaged bite, you’ll probably appreciate the boil-rito ($12.95). One of the many seasonal specials at this pair of homegrown, unconventional taquerias, it is simply and beautifully a burrito turned into a handheld delivery system for a crawfish boil. Each bite is a different, randomly-assigned combination of spicy, salty, boiled tails, potato chunks, corn, sausage slices and those all-important whole garlic cloves. The only thing you have to peel here is the foil wrapper.

CASUAL

Suga Burger

Bear’s Po-Boys

3206 Metairie Road, Metairie

(504) 833-9226; bearspoboys.com

All the interrelated local restaurants using the Bear’s name are known for their roast beef po-boys. But this one, attached to Gennaro’s Bar in the shadow of the Causeway Boulevard overpass, also has a major specialty in burgers. The suga burger ($13.99) starts with a substantial, 10 oz. patty with pepper Jack cheese and a layer of thick, somewhat sweet barbecue sauce, while the key addition is sliced, fried jalapeños, which are more flavorful than blazing hot. If these peppers really ring you bell, start with a basket of them ($4.99) mixed with fried pickle slices.

UPSCALE

Crab Cake Trio

Cava

789 Harrison Ave.

(504) 304-9034

This new upscale neighborhood restaurant in Lakeview serves a wide-ranging menu with plenty of different twists for familiar dishes. Take the crab cake trio ($10). Shaped into short columns, thickly crusted and fried, these are more like crab croquettes than the standard crab cake. Each is dabbed with a bit of sabayon, a creamy, slightly frothy sauce with a little kick from Crystal hot sauce, and stand like chessmen on mats of crunchy, slivered jicama. A popular appetizer, it’s also a good pick for a snack over drinks at Cava’s large, attractive bar.

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.