CASUAL

Cold Pork Loin Sandwich

Pagoda Café

1430 N. Dorgenois St., (504) 644-4178

pagodacafe.net

A cold roast pork sandwich ($9) doesn’t seem to jump off the menu at this casual, colorful, wonderfully eclectic counter service cafe. But it was just the thing on a recent hot afternoon for a quick lunch with a lot of flavor, hearty satisfaction and a lighter edge. The concept comes from the hometown heritage of co-owner Dan Etheridge. He was raised in Australia where cold slices of leftover roast are a traditional sandwich filling. A soft tart apple relish dresses the meat and a slaw of purple cabbage, carrots, parsley and garlic fills out the crisp contours of a banh mi loaf like a crunchy, colorful salad.

WILDCARD

Squid Ink Dumplings

CellarDoor

916 Lafayette St., (504) 383-5583; cellardoornola.com

The small plates at this new, seductively atmospheric CBD restaurant and lounge seem to come from a Spanish sensibility, though in this case it’s the sense for modern cuisine rather than traditional tapas. These squid ink dumplings ($12.50), for instance, are subtle little bundles of flavor, presented with an artful touch.

The dumpling wrappers — imbued with squid ink for a faint marine flavor — encase small, creamy/sweet dollops of shrimp while a green sparkle of roe decorates the top. They are bite-sized, but you’ll probably want to take two bites just to extend the pleasure.

UPSCALE

Duck Confit with Roasted Peaches

Gautreau’s Restaurant

1728 Soniat St.

(504) 899-7397

gautreausrestaurant.com

The duck confit ($15) that chef Sue Zemanick serves at this Uptown preserve of the finer things is a classic that also shows what it can be with some imagination. The duck’s surface truly crackles with a deep and rigid crust of cooked-in fat, encasing the lusciousness inside. All around it, the sweet meatiness of roasted peaches brings juicy contrast, as does the bitter harmony of arugula leaves strung with Marcona almonds and a wash of sherry vinaigrette.

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.