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Dinner at Cafe Ralphie 

  Cafe Ralphie (5024 W. Esplanade Ave., 889-7770;, which I reviewed May 29, is the type of restaurant I love to find because it rewards the optimistic local eater's confidence that behind even an ordinary facade you might discover some great Louisiana cooking.

  In this case, it also had a good Louisiana story to match because Cafe Ralphie is basically the reincarnation of Barataria, a Lakeview restaurant closed since Hurricane Katrina. It has the same family owners serving many of the same dishes but in a new location, this time a Metairie strip mall.

  My one serious disappointment with Cafe Ralphie was its lack of evening hours. I thought its baked oysters, seafood entrees, soups and such would all make great dinner fare.

  Cafe Ralphie has now added din-ner, albeit on a limited basis, serving from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. At the same time, breakfast has been cut back to Saturday only. There's still brunch on Sundays and lunch is served Tuesday through Saturday.

  In addition, Cafe Ralphie hosts a supper club dinner once a month, with candlelight and a more elaborate menu. The next one is Friday, June 29. Visit for menu details. Cafe Ralphie remains BYOB.


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