Rocksy’s Diner opened at the end of 2015 in Fat City. If you have not been to Fat City lately, you may be surprised at the businesses that have opened there in the last year or two. I won’t say it’s unrecognizable, but where once there were “gentlemen’s” clubs on most corners, there are now restaurants serving Japanese, Vietnamese and Latin food.
Rocksy’s décor is unmistakably “diner”: red banquettes line the walls and a dozen or so tall stools front a long Formica counter facing a flat-top and fryers, where customers can watch their food being prepared.
The restaurant is the brainchild of chef Mike Gowland, a former firefighter whom you may know from his popular Jazz Fest booth or his appearances on TV shows such as the Food Network’s “Chopped.” He has been cooking for 30 years, as has his sous-chef, John Flynn, and his food is designed to evoke New Orleans restaurants of the past, but with his own touches.
The menu is too large to discuss fully – Rocksy’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but pulled pork shows up in a number of dishes, such as the Rocksy’s Benedict, in which an English muffin is topped with pork, two eggs and hollandaise sauce, and in Rocksy’s “Tutti Frutti” fries, a take on poutine with sweet potato fries. Chisesi ham features in the “Fats Domino” omelet, with bacon, sausage, onions and peppers.
Rocksy’s is open daily, 24 hours, and is located at 3220 Edenborn Ave. Call 889-7064 to find out more.
Fogo de Chão
Fogo de Chão opened its first steak house in Brazil in 1979 and its first United State location in ’97. There are about 30 in this country alone, and late last year New Orleans joined the crowd, with the opening of a new location in the JW Marriott hotel. It is a sleek, modern restaurant, with about 320 seats on two levels.
Fogo de Chão’s concept differs from most steak houses; the standard option is a set price ($33 for lunch, $66 for dinner), which includes a huge selection of salads, cured meats, fruits and other dishes at the “market table,” as well as cuts of meat on long skewers brought to you by servers called gauchos, who slice portions of beef, pork, chicken, lamb and sausage at the table. These include some cuts not normally seen here, such as picanha, from the top sirloin, and fraldinha, from the bottom sirloin.
Technically, there’s no limit to the amount you can eat, but the restaurant prefers the term “all you can experience” to distinguish it from more casual establishments. There is also a $15 lunch special that includes the market table and six to eight ounce portions of one of the 10 or so meats available (some of which change periodically). There is a bar menu as well, and a happy hour, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Fogo de Chão is open seven days, for lunch and dinner; call 412-8900 for more information.
Bayou Wine Garden
Bayou Wine Garden also opened toward the end of 2015, at 315 S. Rendon St., adjacent to Bayou Beer Garden, which has the same owners. It is a bit more elegant than its sibling, as one would expect for a place where the focus is on the grape rather than the grain.
There are two bars, one in the narrow room facing S. Rendon, and another in the brick patio at the rear; combined, there are about 32 selections of white, red, rosé and sparking wines on tap, many of which are available for retail purchase. There is a specialty cocktail list, and a fairly wide selection of single-malt scotch and craft bourbons. The beer selection is less robust, but the beer garden is just next door if you prefer porter to pinot.
A menu of small plates, salads and sandwiches is complemented by a selection of house-made charcuterie and cheeses. Prices run from $4 (puff pastry bread sticks with garlic confit, Parmesan, thyme and vodka sauce) to $14 (duck ham Cuban sandwich with duck confit, Swiss cheese, mustard, pickled onions and bread and butter pickles). Prices for the charcuterie and cheese start at $8 per for the charcuterie and $6 for the cheese, topping out at $5 for $22.
Bayou Wine Garden is open daily from 11 until around 2 a.m.; call 826-2925 to get the daily selection of what’s on tap.