4800 Magazine St.
This sandwich ($10) combines the love for cheesesteaks Neil McClure picked up as a kid vacationing along the Jersey Shore with the ready supply of smoked brisket he’s maintained since opening his barbecue shop last year. It’s more of a smokehouse interpretation of the Northeastern template for the sandwich, with the beef cut thicker, the onions and peppers smoked and aromatic and the cheese a tangy, horseradish-spiked provolone rendered as a creamy sauce. McClure debuted it at last year’s Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, and it’s become another happy example of how the competitive vigor that event inspires can plant new creations across restaurant menus.
The Bombay Club
830 Conti St., (504) 586-0972
Some of the more classic renditions of this oyster dish work like mini-casseroles, with a thick, green sauce piped over the shells. What I like about the oysters Rockefeller ($12) at this tucked-away restaurant and lounge is how the preparation really shows off the oysters. Round and fat on the shell, they burst on the palate, mingling the sweet marine essence with a topping of crisp spinach imbued with bacon that serves to dress each oyster rather than cover it.
901 Louisiana Ave.
Chef Chris Lynch’s fixation on raw, gorgeously garnished fish has followed him through a few restaurants, so it’s not surprising to find that crudo has become a menu mainstay at Atchafalaya since he took over its kitchen last year.
For the most recent rendition, hamachi ($17) finds an unlikely ally. Marinated, diced beets and vinaigrette sound too strongly flavored but in fact add an earthy base and acid tang to the supple richness of the fish, which is sliced thin in the manner of sashimi. Tiny sprigs of arugula and fried shallot rings add a soft crunch beside the crackle of sea salt. The result is clean tasting, but also complex, light and gorgeous.