banana ramen2

Ramen with panko-fried chicken is part of the menu at the Thai restaurant Banana Blossom in Gretna.

Banana Blossom Thai Restaurant

500 Ninth St., Gretna, (504) 392-7530

There is a subtle current of fusion running through Banana Blossom, but it’s become more and more what sets this West Bank find apart. Jimmy Cho’s kitchen still revolves around classic Thai curries and stir-fries while folding in influences from around the world and its own backyard. Boudin pie encased in crisp roti bread, a Korean-style ramen, a Hawaiian shrimp truck-inspired rice dish and the Thai-Creole barbecue oysters all show the adventurous side. A recent move to downtown Gretna gives it a more accommodating space but keeps the intimate scale of the original. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. $$


kinsalmon

Salmon ramen with seafood broth is an example of the ever-changing menu at Kin, a noodle bar in New Orleans.

Kin

4600 Washington Ave., (504) 304-8557

You can see ramen as either traditional or trendy. But at Kin, above all, it is a stirring, deeply rewarding muse. Chef Hieu Than brings East-meets-West energy to his tiny, dining bar restaurant, a noodle house for handmade ramen, lemon grass chicken wings, and dumplings like nowhere else. I’ve had chicken Marsala dumplings here and beef stroganoff, “pizza” and butternut squash versions, some on the same night. Remember to BYOB. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. $$


no.marjiesgrill.epl.081617011.jpg

Charred okra, pork shoulder steak and shrimp head to the table at Marjie's Grill in Mid City.

Marjie’s Grill

320 S. Broad St., (504) 603-2234

The setting is casual, the raw materials are pristine, and everything you’ve heard about Marjie‘s Grill is true. This rocking little joint on South Broad Street serves up immensely flavorful cross-cultural cooking. Caitlin Carney and Marcus Jacobs meld some tropes of the Deep South, like the catfish plate and meat-and-three lunch, and a highly-variegated array of crunchy vegetables, sour fish sauce, pulsing chili paste and the smoky hum of charcoal cooking. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sat. $$


no.maypop.epl.061417.012.JPG

An example of of Maypop's Southeast Asian-to-Southeast Louisiana inspiration is this cured snapper with Maypop vinaigrette, fermented black beans and crispy panisse.

Maypop

611 O‘Keefe Ave., (504) 518-6345

Always lushly imaginative, Maypop these days is running with a tighter focus, one that more fully articulates chef Michael Gulotta's southeast Asian-to-southeast Louisiana inspiration. Sop roasted bone marrow with oysters off the plate, twirl paprika-tinged noodles around lemon grass chicken meatballs, taste the essence of crab and coconut and brown butter washing over the crisp-skinned redfish and you have an upscale dining experience you won’t find anywhere else. The setting — modern, busy, open, stylish but still easygoing — fits right in with a rapidly changing downtown New Orleans. Dim sum brunch is a bargain. Lunch and dinner daily, Sat., Sun. $$$$



Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.