Braised Lamb Shank
127 N. Carrollton Ave., (504) 483-1571; rue127.com
Arriving on a neatly frenched bone, this lamb shank ($26) is regal in appearance but delivers rustic, hearty satisfaction. The bone surrenders its meat as irregular slivers and chunks, all fatty and mouth-coating. A mottled mix of butter beans and field peas beneath have absorbed rich jus to burst in the mouth like firm buttons of flavor. Bits of red chiles add spice, bitter broccoli rabe runs across the bottom and a light-tasting, dill-flecked tzatziki drapes and brightens the whole dish. It’s a new addition to chef Ray Gruezke’s winter menu at his tiny, reliably rewarding Mid-City bistro, and on a recent chilly night, it felt snugly attuned to seasonal cravings.
811 Conti St., (504) 252-6745; killerpoboys.com
From a walk-up service window in the back of the Erin Rose pub, the Killer Po-Boys crew works different ideas on the classic New Orleans sandwich from noon to midnight. The latest example is a new rendition of the meatloaf po-boy ($10), which in practice combines aspects of burger and barbecue. Flavors of chicory coffee and black pepper mingle in the dark, spicy barbecue sauce, and a layer of crisp pickles and tangy ranch dressing made from yogurt dress it up. The meatloaf itself is thick cut, juicy, very flavorful and seared in the pan to a crisp edge, which is only amplified by the crunch of the encasing banh mi loaf.
1612 St. Charles Ave.
First you make a roux? Not with this ersatz gumbo ($5.95), an unusual soup from the kitchen at this quick, busy Japanese restaurant. It starts with an extra-large bowl of salty, foggy miso soup, bobbing with tofu cubes. In goes salmon — which tastes like it’s been cooked in the broth — and then shrimp, crisp coins of okra and a chunk of fried soft-shell crab to play up the name. It’s not really gumbo, but it’s light, satisfying, offbeat and does respond well to hot sauce. Ask for Sriracha on the side.
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