The city’s Catholics can find refuge from the temptations of meat at Drago’s, which has a giant Lenten menu and even more seafood items this month. Trying to follow the highly successful Crabmeat Mediterranean Salad, the new Shrimp Chop Salad includes shrimp, asparagus, hearts of palm, peppers, onions, tomatoes and bleu cheese. Soft shell crabs come back into season around this time, so Drago’s will be bringing back its most popular special: the stuffed soft shell crab, which is packed with crabmeat and shrimp and covered in a seafood cream sauce. But for the devoted carnivores, owner Tommy Cvitanovich says the restaurant is flirting with the idea of adding a rotisserie chicken to the menu, as well as charbroiled baby-back ribs this month. To end the Lenten season, the Drago’s Metairie location will host an Easter Sunday lunch to benefit St. Clement of Rome church. This is the event’s fourth year, and it has raised over $20,000 annually for the restaurant’s parish church. Also, look out for Drago’s at the Zurich Classic April 20 to 26, where it will be grilling up its famous charbroiled oysters for the Champion’s Club charity event.
Information, 584-3911, 2 Poydras St. (inside the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel); 888-9254, 3232 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie; www.dragosrestaurant.com.
New Orleans’ Grand Isle
Inspired by the fishing village of the same name, Grand Isle is a classic, casual eatery featuring fresh seafood and down-home favorites. Part of Grand Isle’s appeal is it’s “unpretentious and affordable,” says General Manager Jeff Hof, who co-owns the restaurant with Joel Dondis, Jens Jordan and Dave Pearson.
The team of restaurateurs brought in Mark Falgoust as executive chef; Falgoust creates delicacies including daily selections of fresh fish, seafood platters, gumbo, baked oysters and onion rings. This month, crawfish and soft shell crabs grace the menu, along with freshly shucked oysters and boiled shrimp.
Hof says that the open dining room at Grand Isle features cypress walls, adorned with large black-and-white images by photographer Fonville Winans, who documented the lives of Louisiana oyster farmers, shrimpers and fishermen throughout the 1930s. He adds that the comfortable lounge area, complete with a white marble-topped bar, is the ideal spot to enjoy a variety of seafood along with your favorite beverage. According to Hof, the restaurant has enjoyed success due to their “fresh seafood prepared simply and seasoned perfectly – when we say fresh, we really mean it!”
Information, 575 Convention Center Blvd., 520-8530.
Copeland’s legacy continues with Social City
Since the passing of the famed restaurateur Al Copeland, his son, Al Copeland Jr., has stepped up and created a new era of concepts for the Copeland restaurants.
Copeland’s Social City, located in Metairie, embodies all of the elements for which the other ventures are known: high-energy hospitality and chef-crafted cuisine. Social City features both a restaurant and martini lounge that offers live music.
“My late father opened the first Copeland’s 25 years ago, and began the tradition of serving authentic New Orleans cuisine in a warm and welcoming restaurant experience,” says Copeland “After working side-by-side with my father, this concept was created and inspired by the type of person he was.”
With Executive Chef Chuck Wheeler, Social City offers a variety of dishes. The menu is extensive, with an emphasis on seafood. Says Copeland: “We believe our guests need and want the ability to customize their meals to whatever they are in the mood for. The restaurant industry has evolved where our guests expect more than great food and great service.”
Information, 831-3437, 701 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, www.copelandssocialcity.com.