Marcello’s Restaurant & Wine Bar 715 St. Charles Ave.
This new Italian restaurant, an expansion of a similar concept in Lafayette, opened in late April in the former home of CBD caberet Le Chat Noir. This seafood pasta dish proved a showstopper on a recent visit. Normally served at dinner ($31), I tried it as a lunch special ($19). Perhaps half a lobster mixed it up with shrimp and very large crabmeat knuckles in a rich cream sauce equally influenced by sharp garlic and dry, nutty-tasting sherry. Spinach and slivered mushrooms add both earthy undertones and varied texture.
Calamari Papaya Salad
3715 Westbank Expy.,
Long known as Kim’s, this sprawling restaurant now serves a long and highly-varied menu covering not just Vietnamese dishes but Thai and Chinese as well. This type of mix doesn’t always bode well, usually indicating a restaurant looking to see what sticks rather than serving what it really knows well. That’s why this calamari papaya salad ($10.95) was such a pleasant surprise. Based on the traditional Thai dish, it is a generous mound of shredded papaya, as crisp and moist as apple but doused with a vividly spicy chili dressing. The stir-fried squid made a mellow foil throughout a refreshingly light, full-flavored dish.
Smoked Alligator Sausage Po-boy
Parkway Bakery & Tavern
538 Hagan Ave., (504) 482-3047;
Parkway mainly trades on classic po-boy combinations, but new ripples still work their way across the menu from time to time. One recent example is the option to add bacon to any po-boy, which opens an exponential range of possibilities. I like bacon with the smoked alligator sausage ($7/$10.25) for the crunchy sizzle it adds to these spicy links. Keep in mind that, like most such alligator sausage, this one is a blend of alligator and pork. That makes this po-boy a bacon-on-pork combination with some highly-spiced alligator running in between. As usual the durable Leidenheimer loaves are up to the task of keeping it all together.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.