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Helen Freund Flips for Baja Nola’s Oysters

Plus more of the week’s restaurant reviews

Baja Nola/Facebook

Critic Helen Freund visited Baja Nola in Metarie, a restaurant that puts a Cajun twist on Mexican food. She says that while the menu screams Mexican, Baja Nola’s oysters explain the restaurant’s true vibe.

  Here, Gulf Coast oysters arrive with a Latin twist, hot from the grill, topped with a rich mix of melted Mexican cheeses: Oaxaca, Chihuahua and asadero. Instead of butter or garlic, pico de gallo tops the bivalves. Instead of French bread, the oysters are served with warm corn tortillas, perfect for swaddling the cheesy mix into mini quesadillas.

While the restaurant is tucked away in a “nondescript residential area,” Freund is sure that “the quirky twists on Mexican comfort fare are well worth the excursion.” [GAMBIT]

Meanwhile, Ian McNulty visited and reviewed Cavan a few week ago. McNulty notes that while he’s visited many times for date nights and to impress friends from out of town, he says the food was never the real draw.

What I couldn’t find was a compelling identity for the food. Neither, it seems, could the kitchen, which saw two successive executive chefs depart within about a year.

But the food is now making sense, reports McNulty. “It felt a little like modern Southern, a lot like contemporary Louisiana and, finally, like it belonged here,” he says, after describing tasty she-crab soup and fishing camp charcuterie. He praises executive chef Nathan Richard, who’s been at Cavan since March.

“There is a warmth here that’s not always a given at stylish, contemporary eateries, but one that matches a restaurant that still looks a lot like an old home,” McNulty says. “That's something you can’t write into a menu or work into a design. It has to develop within a restaurant, and you recognize it when it all feels right. With place, people and flavor now in sync, Cavan feels right.” [THE ADVOCATE]