Fine dining for less at Austin’s
Owned by Ed McIntyre, Austin’s opened in 2003 as an extension of Mr. Ed’s Restaurants, and is named after McIntyre’s son. Specializing in steaks, the restaurant offers diners a casual upscale atmosphere. “It’s a tablecloth restaurant with a fine dining setting,” explains McIntyre, who also serves as the general manager.
“We serve unique New Orleans food at a good price,” he continues. The restaurant stands out, he says, because it’s one of the only casual fine dining places in Metairie that doesn’t charge the “fine dining price.”
The restaurant is available for banquets, luncheons, rehearsal dinners and corporate events. This month, McIntyre says to experience the soft shell crabs, which are prepared in a variety of ways by Executive Chef David Sage. The Soft Shell Crab Napoleon is a fried crawfish crab cake  with fried green tomato topped with a soft shell crab and crawfish cream sauce.
Information, 888-5533, 5101 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie . 

Springtime dining at Latil’s Landing
Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, Latil’s Landing is a restaurant that was created to “meet the demands of visitors and residents in the area between Baton Rouge and New Orleans,” explains owner Kevin Kelly.
 Latil’s Landing offers a fine dining experience in the French House at the Houmas House Plantation and Gardens. Says Kelly, “It was originally a trading post, built in 1770. It’s old-world, intimate with wooden floors, wooden beam ceilings and spectacular views of the fountain and gardens.” With five dining rooms, as well as a courtyard available for outdoor dining, the restaurant is elegant yet comfortable, says Kelly. Latil’s is a place for special events including birthdays, weddings, Mother’s Day or any other occasion.
With Chef Jeremy Langlois at the helm, Kelly explains that the cooking style is “Nouvelle Louisiane” meaning that the cuisine is  a contemporary classic version of French dishes with Creole touches. “Our signature soup is our bisque of curried pumpkin with crawfish and corn,” says Kelly. He says that the May menu will feature papaya-stuffed lobster tail, fire roasted shrimp and Louisiana crawfish tails on Creole tomato risotto and Parmesan broth. Latil’s Landing also has a wine cellar that carries over 3,000 bottles and 600 varietals of wine.
Information, (225) 473-9380; 40135 Highway 942, Darrow;

Vincent’s: Italian with a Local Twist
For those who seek an intimate, romantic dining experience, Vincent’s offers a candlelit atmosphere in a quiet neighborhood location. As Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra croon in the background, the restaurant serves Italian dishes with a local twist. Owned by Vincent Catalanotto and Tony Imbraguglio, the restaurant was founded in 1989 by Catalanotto, who hails from a large Sicilian family. He opened up the first location in Metairie; in 1997, he opened up a second location on St. Charles Avenue near the Riverbend.
“What makes us unique is having the owner presence on the floor at all times and serving five-star food in a relaxed, comfortable setting,” says Catalanotto, who spent years working in the service industry before opening up his namesake restaurant. This month, Vincent’s will offer a five-course meal for $29.99 from 5-6:30 p.m. The restaurant will also serve complimentary martinis with lunch, every day.
Gracing the menu will be regular homemade pasta specials, cannelloni and seafood-stuffed pork chops, and other delicacies.
Information, 866-9313, 7813 St. Charles Ave.; 885-2984, 4411 Chastant St., Metairie;