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Big Flavors For The Win At Toups South

Plus, Bar Frances irons out kinks and more

Helen Freund says Chef Isaac Toups “straddles excess and refinement” at Toups South: With thick, fried pork chops served on a butcher block, grilled gulf tuna paired with a hearty ragu, and a gargantuan skillet cookie, brash dishes threaten to overrun the menu. But have no fear— a balanced, gingery crab salad and other refined fare also dot the scene, showing that the Top Chef vet knows how to imbue the menu with both his outspokenness and a hint of Southern hospitality. [Gambit]

Funky wine offerings and inventive food pairings convinced Ian McNulty that Bar Frances is a Freret St. gem: “crispy-browned gnocchi set off by the dark, bitter crunch of radicchio” stole the show, but a tagine-esque cauliflower dish and endive-beet situation also impressed. Whether you come for the Thursday oyster/wine deal or enjoy a charcuterie board on the front patio, Bar Frances has proven itself to be a neighborhood favorite. [The Advocate]

Tom Fitzmorris is charmed by the Audubon Clubhouse’s addition of a bistro-style dinner menu and newly augmented lunch offerings: With “butter-poached royal red shrimp” and a classically executed fried, cold smoked oyster dish, “the cooking is in a contemporary Creole vein, one reminiscent of the likes of Clancy’s, Patois and Bistro Daisy.” In spite of this, the restaurant hints at a certain “trendiness” in its ingredients, possibly contributing to the +1 in the “Hipness” category. Always ask to be seated on the patio, where “the vista that fills the windows shows the extraordinary beauty of the park itself and its many 100-year-old trees,” and don’t miss the formidable wine list. [City Business]

Review: Isaac Toups gets bigger and bolder at Toups South [Gambit]

Review: Bar Frances, a bistro and wine bar for reds, whites and greens [The Advocate]

Audubon Clubhouse is now ‘Uptown-most’ restaurant on Magazine Street [City Business (subscription required)]