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Choice Dining Experience 

Since it opened a year and a half ago, Hedges Bar & Grill (4 Galleria Blvd., Metairie, 620-9412) has built a reputation as a restaurant that offers something for everyone. Unlike restaurants that are limited to a single dining area or a single type of cuisine, Hedges provides its customers with plenty of choices. And the approach, says Fernando Calix, the restaurant's director of food and beverages, has created both a loyal following of repeat customers and a positive word-of-mouth buzz, which consistently brings in new business.

"We use the input from our clientele," says Calix. "We cater to everybody's needs and that's the reason we're in business."

Located in the Wyndham Hotel on Galleria Boulevard in Metairie, Hedges does a brisk business among those who work at nearby businesses, which include offices and banks as well as medical and educational facilities. But Hedges also draws in other locals and guests staying in the hotel.

With such a variety of customers to satisfy, it is home to more than one type of dining experience. Patrons can opt for the ambience of the spacious wood-paneled dining room appointed with colorful abstract paintings, eat al fresco at one of the umbrella-topped tables found on the lush palmetto-surrounded patio, or book the private dining room, a warm wood-paneled room set up conference-style to accommodate business functions and social gatherings.

A sleek, black-marble counter overlooking the kitchen -- used by day as a station where waiters pick up orders -- provides another seating area at night, when it's used for the restaurant's "chef encounter" dinners. Parties of up to eight people can reserve the spot for a four-course prix fixe dinner (each course is paired with wine) designed to enable one-on-one interaction with Executive Chef Scott Hensley as he prepares their meals. Individual diners also can eat at the counter and order off the menu.

Hedges' a la carte menu includes everything from Louisiana fare, such as shrimp Remoulade and classic entrees like tournedos of beef, to salads, sandwiches, gourmet brick-oven pizzas and items from the grill. There's also a weekday lunch buffet featuring dishes such as chicken with pineapple chutney, and artichoke and crawfish in an Alfredo sauce, a timesaving choice for those on a schedule. Special offerings, including Prime Rib Night every Saturday, are a favorite among the restaurant's diverse clientele. So are specialties such as the chef's award-winning crawfish cakes and the restaurant's signature soup, a creamy shrimp bisque made with local shrimp and finished with cognac.

For those looking to wet their whistle or gather in an unhurried, non-dining atmosphere, Hedges' bar, which is adjacent to the hotel lobby, is stocked with lots of choices also -- from popular quality brands to select high-end products for connoisseurs of all things fine, even top-of-the-line cigars.

"We specialize in a wide variety of martinis, from chocolate to tart apple to Siberian berry," says Calix. "Customers really appreciate the mix."

Hedges is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and has a brunch on Sunday. Happy hour is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 

Tour of Wonder

Have you ever wanted to see what wonders are behind the doors of Garden District mansions and how the homeowners adorn their houses for the holiday season? Now is your chance with the Preservation Resource Center's (PRC) 29th annual Holiday Home Tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 13-14).

The self-guided tour, presented in partnership with Gambit Weekly, includes seven Garden District homes that are decked out for the holidays, plus musical entertainment.

Homes on the tour include an 1852 mansion, a 1990 rendering of a double-gallery historic design, an 1880s Greek revival home and an Italianate structure. Also on the tour are an early 1800s home where Confederate President Jefferson Davis died, a wood-frame house originally constructed in the mid-1800s, and a mid-century home.

To help with holiday shopping, more than 30 vendors will sell gifts at a special boutique at Louise S. McGehee School (2343 Prytania St.,) during the hours of the home tour.

Tickets for the tour are $25 in advance ($20 for PRC members or groups of 10 or more) or $27 on the days of the tour. They can be purchased in advance by calling 581-7032 or at Louise S. McGehee School on the days of the tour.

In addition to the tour, the PRC also is sponsoring a patron party from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday (Dec. 12) at the newly renovated Greek revival home of the G. Anthony Gelderman III family on Camp Street. Tickets for the event, which includes a raffle for a three-diamond pendant from Adler's, are $85 and include a ticket to the home tours and drinks and food at the patron party. -- Kandace Power Graves

click to enlarge Food and beverage director Fernando Calix looks - over a delectable plate of food prepared by - Executive Chef Scott Hensley at Hedges Bar & Grill - in Metairie.
  • Food and beverage director Fernando Calix looks over a delectable plate of food prepared by Executive Chef Scott Hensley at Hedges Bar & Grill in Metairie.
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