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Toups' Meatery 

  Toups' Meatery (845 N. Carrollton Ave., 252-4999; www.toupsmeatery.com) has opened in Mid-City, serving platters of house-made meats and butcher shop specialties beside dishes like lamb neck with mint chow chow and black-eyed pea salad.

  It's the first restaurant from Amanda and Isaac Toups, who thoroughly renovated the former Mediterranean Cafe, a long-time neighborhood restaurant. Amanda Toups says their approach is to "take rustic ingredients and finish them beautifully," combining her husband's Cajun country roots with his extensive fine-dining experience.

  Originally from the small town of Rayne, La., Isaac Toups has worked at Emeril's and Emeril's Delmonico. He was later chef at the now-closed Cuvee and had a short stint as the first chef at Ste. Marie. The Toups' Meatery menu is arranged as small plates ($7-$18) and large plates ($10-$23) and is designed to encourage sharing around the table.

  "The whole concept behind the restaurant is very communal," says Amanda.

  In addition to meat, cheese and mixed vegetable plates, small plates start with foie gras, artichokes stuffed with crawfish cornbread dressing, and fried oysters with bacon and slaw. Large plates include a slider trio (with crab cake, rabbit pate and lamb belly), chicken thighs with gizzard gravy and smoked duck with satsuma and duck jus.

  The menu also includes an a la carte section of country specialties from boudin to rabbit pate to deviled eggs. Desserts feature mini-doberge cakes from local baker Debbie Does Doberge. There's a full bar, and outdoor seating is available.

  Toups' Meatery serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, and reservations are accepted. The restaurant will serve dinner on the two Sundays during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

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