Bunyols de carabassa
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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. Said to have been invented at Pascal’s Manale, an Uptown restaurant, in the 1950s (see below), this dish is 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., map) is the place for BBQ shrimp in the French Quarter. 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 $21 as opposed to $27 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 (lunch portion, $21, is pictured) is everything this dish was meant to be: buttery, peppery, briny, messy. The bread is a must, because you will want to slurp down that sauce. We also love the chicken and andouille gumbo ya-ya here. Thankfully, the staff is generous with the French bread and napkins.
Alternatively: More delicious BBQ shrimp in the FQ can be found at Deanie’s Seafood (841 Iberville St., map), a good bet for fun, casual, seafood-heavy dining. Should you wish to explore this dish in other neighborhoods, go straight to its origin at Italian-Creole Pascal’s Manale (1838 Napoleon Ave., map) Uptown; during weekday lunch, the restaurant offers a BBQ shrimp po’boy, for which the French bread is hollowed out and the saucy (peeled) shrimp poured in. (We also liked this BBQ shrimp po’boy at Liuzza’s By the Track (1518 N. Lopez St., map), in Mid-City.)
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