Tom Fitzmorris doles out THREE WHOLE STARS to Mandina's this week, praising "hallelujah" because the Creole-Italian Mid City icon finally accepts plastic, but probably (c'mon, definitely) because the #1 Essential Dish is FRIED CALAMARI. Praise hallelujah, indeed. But put down the holy dipping sauce for a minute, folks, because even though the "enormous portions" are great, T-Fitz has "never found the red sauce dishes at the Canal Street location to be especially good," and in fact there are "numerous lame items" on the menu.
Truer fightin' words have never been spoken, but if you eat-club thugs think you can waltz in and "start trouble by asking whether the trout is fresh or frozen, or whether that's real turtle in the turtle soup" somebody's going to get locked up (A cop does actually wait outside the door. All the time). "If it tastes good, it is good," T-Fitz relents, and what tastes best is FRIED CALAMARI (#1, it's been too long). Just make sure not to touch the free garlic bread, because, DANGER, "you will eat an entire loaf of the free garlic bread." As for service, the newer staff is "younger and less crotchety," but the -2 hipness points indicates that everybody else up in the Lil Pink is not. [CityBusiness, sub req]
Ian McNulty reviews Meauxbar this week, and find the quiet 10-year-old bistro on Rampart is actually a perfect spot for pre-theater dining. From a "showstopper" sea bass en papillote to barbecue veal tongue with kimchi chef Matthew Guidry works Asian in influences to his classic French cuisine, making for "reliably tight, often captivating, cooking" in a "film noir" setting, perfect for a date before taking in a show at the nearby Saenger, Joy, or Mahalia Jackson Theaters. [Advocate]
· Mandina's Maintains Prominence With Classic Charm, Time-Proven Dishes [CityBusiness, sub req]
· Closing In on 10 Years, The Show Goes on at Meauxbar [Advocate]
· All Week In Reviews [-ENOLA-]
Mandina's [Photo: Facebook]