New Orleans ‘East’ Style BBQ Shrimp
300 Poydras St. (504) 595-3305; cafeadelaide.com
The style at this downtown branch of the Commander’s Palace brand starts with Creole essentials and then gets pretty playful pretty quick. That pattern holds on the restaurant’s new menu, introduced recently in conjunction with a revamped dining room design. So it follows that BBQ shrimp ($18 lunch/$25 dinner), as we usually appreciate it, is just a starting point for this Asian fusion dish. A light crust of seasoning is seared into the glistening surface of a neat curl of white shrimp, arranged over mild kimchi and cubes of pork belly. Creamy grits are the foundation, charred slices of chile peppers bring a touch of heat and the sauce carries peppery/sweet echos of both BBQ shrimp sauce and backyard barbecue sauce, though melded and reduced to a honey-thick glaze.
2315 St. Claude Ave., (504) 383-4328; kebabnola.com
The name over the door may seem self-evident, but don’t expect big cubes of skewered meat. Rather, this new addition to the growing stretch of casual St. Claude Avenue dining spots specializes in sandwiches built from sliced rotisserie meats, or doner kebab ($7). In this case, it’s chicken thighs, with discs of pickled cucumber and a bracing spread of mustard and aioli. The house-made loaf — crusty-capped and airy and deeply pocked within — contains it all in a box-shaped package of varying texture, juiciness, crunch and savor. Note Kebab’s late but limited hours, 11 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Mon.
Corn & Crabmeat Bisque
Vincent’s Italian Cuisine
7839 St Charles Ave., (504) 866-9313
4411 Chastant St., (504) 885-2984
The bread bowl seems like a dining throwback, especially lately as the anti-gluten kick continues. But it doesn’t seem old-fashioned when it’s the vehicle for the popular bisque ($12) at this pair of long-running Creole-Italian restaurants. Thick as Alfredo sauce and just as smooth, a little nutty from Parmesan and liberally imbued the dueling sweetness of crab and corn kernels, the bisque spills over the side of a hollowed French bread loaf and, at the edges, seems to become one with it. When chilly nights creep into the season, it’s an indulgent serving of comfort food that can feel quite timely.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA