Looking for some jambalaya and frog legs? Check out our guide to how local restaurants are celebrating Mardi Gras.
This Louisiana-themed restaurant will celebrate in style on February 23 and 24: a special four-course, prix-fixe menu includes regional dishes like crawfish jambalaya and rabbit etouffee. The bar will offer such snacks as a basket of home-made cracklins’ for $2, Southern sliders, Louisiana crawfish bread, Cajun popcorn shrimp, and even frog’s legs. Wash ‘em down with a $5 dark and stormy, a Category Five, or a bourbon lemonade.
Bardia’s New Orleans Cafe
This Adams Morgan haunt has long been a refuge for locals craving Cajun food, so expect it to serve up some Southern comfort for Mardi Gras. The owner, a New Orleans native, is usually around to discuss the menu’s staples: etouffee, jambalaya, gumbo, chicory coffee, and homemade powdered sugar beignets.
Latin American restaurant Ceiba will celebrate Carnaval on February 23 and 24; guests can sample $5 Ceiba Samba cocktails, made with pineapple-infused cachaca and passion fruit sorbet. In the bar and lounge the celebration also includes traditional samba music and Brazilian street-food appetizers at $5 per plate.
Central Michel Richard
To commemorate Fat Tuesday, chef Cedric Maupillier will add some traditional French Quarter fare to the French/American menu. Look for turtle soup, oysters Rockefeller, shrimp-and-crayfish etouffee, trout Amandine, and bread pudding. There’s also a cocktail list of authentic local recipes, some dating back 60 years. In addition to Abita beer and the classic Hurricane, try a Corpse Reviver #2 (gin, cointreau, lemon juice, absinthe) or a Cocktail a la Louisiane (rye, Benedictine, vermouth). Local jazz band Laissez-Foure will be on hand to recreate the swingin’ sounds of New Orleans.
Expect hurricanes and cyclones—of the cocktail variety—at this casual Falls Church hangout. Beads, Abita beer, and local band Brother Shamus will provide plenty of entertainment. A Fat Tuesday happy hour runs until 7, with a special NoLa menu.
Louisiana Kitchen and Bayou Bar
4907 Cordell Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-6945
The new incarnation of Louisiana Express will feature color-splashed King cakes (a Mardi Gras necessity). The regular menu includes catfish beignets, oyster po’boys, five varieties of etouffee, and “dirty rice” with chicken livers, giblets, and spices.
This sleek restaurant is inviting diners to “laissez les bon temps rouler!” on February 24 with a four-course dinner. On the menu: charbroiled Rappahannock River oysters, barbecue shrimp with potato pancakes, roasted pork with red beans and rice, beignets, and a chicory coffee milkshake. There will also be music (and plenty of beads) to bring on the cheer. Tickets are $48 per person with a portion of proceeds going to the Make It Right Foundation in New Orleans.
Clarendon parade-goers can hit up the Fat Tuesday raw bar and New Orleans-inspired menu. There will be music from Le Bon Temps Krewe and the Robert Lighthouse band, plus such plates as Cajun po’boys, crawfish etouffee, and chicken jambalaya. Drinks specials run from 4 to 8.
3804 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-684-6010
In addition to the many Creole specialties on its regular menu (alligator stew, catfish po’boys), RT’s is offering a few food and drink specials for Mardi Gras, as well as a free King cake for all customers (whoever finds the hidden baby gets a prize). There’s also a prize for the best dressed guest—usually about half the diners come in costume for Fat Tuesday celebrations.