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What: First of all, it’s not barbecued or grilled in any way (that might be too healthy). New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp means unpeeled, head-on jumbo shrimp swimming in a buttery, peppery, Creole-spiced sauce. It’s super rich, messy, and outrageously delicious—more so because once the shrimp are finished, you get to mop up the sauce with hot French bread.
Where: Mr. B’s Bistro (201 Royal St.) in the French Quarter is the place for BBQ shrimp. It’s a relatively upscale restaurant, but don’t let that dissuade you from donning a bib and getting down and dirty with this dish—you are supposed to get messy and eat with your hands. For a more casual atmosphere, sit at the bar.
When: Lunch: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-2pm (bar menu: 2pm-5:30pm); Sun (jazz brunch), 10:30am-2pm. Dinner, nightly: 5:30pm-9pm. Lunch is a great time to go, as the portion is slightly smaller (yet definitely sufficient!) and cheaper, at $18.50 as opposed to $26 at dinner (or $22 at brunch). Plus, there are $1.50 Bloody Marys and martinis at lunch (Monday through Friday)—need we say more?
Order: The BBQ shrimp; we also love the chicken and andouille gumbo ya-ya. Thankfully, the staff is generous with the French bread and napkins.
Alternatively: Mr. B’s shrimp is outstanding, and it tends to be the easiest for visitors to get to, as it’s in the French Quarter. Should you want to explore BBQ shrimp in other areas, try it at the esteemed Ralph’s on the Park (900 City Park Ave., map), on the edge of City Park, or at the Italian-Creole Pascal’s Manale (1838 Napoleon Ave., map) Uptown. For an interesting twist, get the BBQ shrimp po’boy at Liuzza’s By the Track (1518 N. Lopez St., map) in Mid-City.
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