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Broiling Again on Broad

Another New Orleans classic returned to the dining scene with the Dec. 16 reopening of Crescent City Steakhouse (1001 N. Broad St., 821-3271; www.crescentcitysteaks.com). Despite being flooded and forced to close for 16 months, the 72-year-old restaurant looks practically unchanged from before the storm, from the intricate tile work to the calm, altarlike bar to the chrome coat racks that make one long for a fedora to hang on them. The small wooden booths with privacy curtains are still there as well. Also unchanged is the menu, which is focused solely on steak and could be written in its entirety on the palm of a waiterÕs hand: five cuts of prime, aged steak, a short list of variously prepared potatoes and vegetables, a salad, a shrimp cocktail and a couple of desserts. The kitchen itself is completely new, but owner Anthony Vojkovich says many of the restaurantÕs pre-Katrina employees are back broiling the steaks once again. For now, the restaurant is serving lunch Wednesday to Friday and dinner Friday to Sunday, although Vojkovich expects to expand these hours later.

Up in Smoke

If the bar or dining room of your favorite Louisiana restaurant seems more smoky than usual this week, chalk it up to the last hurrahs of people who enjoy smoking with their meals. ThatÕs because on Jan. 1, 2007, a new state law takes effect to ban smoking in most work places, including restaurants. The measure was approved by state legislators and signed into law by Gov. Kathleen Blanco in June. It applies to the bar areas of restaurants as well as dining rooms, though it exempts casinos and bars that are not classified as restaurants. The Louisiana Restaurant Association lobbied against the bill as it made its way through the legislature, arguing that the restrictions on how restaurateurs operate their businesses would hurt restaurant development and also impact people who consider cigar or cigarette smoking a part of the dining experience. Individuals and employers caught violating the law would be subject to fines from $25 to $500.

A New Cantina on Esplanade

The former location of Marisol Ñ closed since Katrina Ñ has reopened as a Mexican restaurant called TomatilloÕs (437 Esplanade Ave., 945-9997; www.amexicanjoint.com). The space has been redesigned as a stylized Mexican cantina with earthy tones, mellow lighting and a reconfigured patio with a large outdoor bar. The menu runs heavy on entrŽe plates like stuffed pork chops and grilled fish, a list of specialty margaritas and a variety of salsas from which to choose. Tacos, burritos, nachos and similar fare are served alongside hybrids like ÒMexican oystersÓ with spinach and queso. Ñ McNulty

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