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Gambit's 2012 Winter Restaurant Guide: American 

8 BLOCK KITCHEN & BAR Hyatt Regency New Orleans, 601 Loyola Ave., 561-1234; Located in the atrium at the center of the hotel, this cafe offers pastries, coffee drinks and a gourmet menu. Smoked veal shank is slow braised and served with sweet onion and eggplant puree. The cochon de lait platter features pork smoked with pecan wood and comes with bibb lettuce, a green onion and corn galette, and several barbecue sauces and is big enough for two or three people to share. Reservations accepted. Breakfast and lunch daily. $$

AUDUBON CLUBHOUSE CAFE 6500 Magazine St., 212-5285; The double bogey breakfast includes two eggs, two pieces of bacon or sausage and two sweet potato pancakes. The Newman Reuben sandwich comes with warm shaved turkey with melted Swiss and house-made red cabbage slaw on toasted marbled rye. Reservations accepted for large parties. Breakfast and lunch Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $

BALCONY BAR & CAFE 3201 Magazine St., 894-8888 The Balcony burger tops a half-pound patty with sauteed mushrooms, tomato, grilled onions, green peppers, bacon and jalapenos. The Athens salad includes romaine, tomato, onions, black olives, artichoke hearts, feta and vinaigrette dressing. No reservations. Dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

BAYOU HOT WINGS 6221 S. Claiborne Ave., 865-9464; Sauces ranging from the spicy Bayou Beast to buttery garlic-Parmesan coat wings and a lot more here. There also are wraps filled with shrimp or chicken, frog legs, alligator and chicken strips. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

BEAR'S GRILL & SPIRITS 550 Gause Blvd., Slidell, (985) 201-8905; 1809 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 674-9090; 3206 Metairie Road, Metairie, 833-9226; Sandwiches and burgers are top menu choices at Bear's. Try a roast beef po-boy dressed with gravy. The New Orleans burger is an 8-oz. patty topped with roast beef debris and Swiss cheese. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

BUFFA'S BAR & RESTAURANT 1001 Esplanade Ave., 949-0038; The Buffa burger is a half-pound patty topped with cheddar cheese and served with fries. Jambalaya is topped with Abita-beer marinated Johnsonville brats and onions. No reservations. Open 24 hours daily. Credit cards. $

THE BUFFET AT HARRAH'S 8 Canal St., 533-6000; Head to the buffet for endless boiled crabs on Thursday. The pasta station offers a variety of pastas, meats and tomato and cream sauces. Reservations accepted for large parties. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

CAFE NAVARRE 800 Navarre Ave., 483-8828 Thin crust pizza is topped with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, spinach, artichokes, feta and mozzarella over garlic-basil sauce. The sausage jalapeno Benedict piles poached eggs, jalapenos and sausage on English muffins with hollandaise and comes with grits or hash browns. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $

CAPDEVILLE 520 Capdeville St., 371-5161; The truffled mac and cheese is made to order and combines brown butter, sage, Molinari pancetta, peas, Parmesan and white truffle oil. The pork cakes are served over stone-ground grits with pork jus. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CHECKERED PARROT 133 Royal St., 592-1270; Cream cheese-stuffed jalapenos are deep fried and served with ranch and marinara sauce. The Buffalo chicken sandwich is a fried chicken breast tossed in your choice of hot, medium or mild sauce and served with salad, fries, yellow rice or chips. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

COPELAND'S CHEESECAKE BISTRO 2001 St. Charles Ave., 593-9955; 4517 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 454-7620; Blackened shrimp fettucini Alfredo is topped with shaved Parmesan served in an herb-cheese pizza bowl. The cheesecake menu includes a variety of flavors, including white chocolate strawberry. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

CRAZY JOHNNIE'S STEAKHOUSE 3520 18th St., Metairie, 887-6641; One of Johnnie's popular specials is the 12-oz. New York strip topped with bordelaise and served with mashed skin-on red potatoes. Shrimp Sochi features sauteed shrimp in garlic-cream sauce with dill. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CREPES A LA CART 1039 Broadway St., 866-2362; The chicken cordon bleu crepe is filled with chicken, ham, Swiss cheese, white asparagus and hollandaise. The Spanish omelet crepe combines ham, eggs, baby spinach, mushrooms, onions and salsa with your choice of cheese. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

DAISY DUKES 121 Chartres St., 561-5171; The Cajun omelet combines cheese, hot sausage, tomatoes, onion, parsley, paprika and cracked pepper and is served with hash browns or grits and toast or a biscuit. Blackened alligator sausage is served over jambalaya with a cup of gumbo, fried green tomatoes and garlic bread. No reservations. Open 24 hours daily. Credit cards. $$

DAT DOG 5031 Freret St., 899-6883; The Irish Guinness sausage is pork bratwurst made with Guinness beer, served with andouille sauce, cheddar cheese, white and green onions, yellow mustard and bacon on a steamed and toasted sourdough bun. Get Polish kielbasa or German-style bratwurst topped with a choice of grated cheddar, diced onions, wasabi, sauerkraut or house-made chili. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Cash only. $

DEJA VU RESTAURANT & BAR 400 Dauphine St., 523-1931; The seafood platter comes with catfish, shrimp, oysters and crawfish. Get a half-pound char-grilled burger topped with two strips of bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo. No reservations. Open 24 hours daily. Credit cards. $

DRY DOCK CAFE 133 Delaronde St., 361-8240; The Best Bank burger is an 8-oz. patty topped with cheese, bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms. Prime rib comes with a twice-baked potato and vegetables. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

FAT HEN GROCERY 7457 St. Charles Ave., 266-2921 Barbecue is a specialty at chef Shane Pritchett's casual cafe. Order barbecued pulled pork, Texas-style brisket or St. Louis ribs. There also are burgers, entrees, creative sides, and breakfast is available all day. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

FAZZIO'S RESTAURANT 1841 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 624-9704; Chef Jimbob's specialty is shrimp stuffed with crabmeat and served over pasta with crabmeat cream sauce. The 16-oz. rib-eye Good Lovin' is topped with fried oysters and bordelaise. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

HARD ROCK CAFE 418 N. Peters St., 529-5617; The Legendary burger is a 10-oz. patty topped with bacon, cheddar, an onion ring, lettuce, tomato and pickles. The twisted mac, chicken and cheese features a grilled chicken breast over corkscrew pasta tossed in three-cheese sauce with garlic, roasted red peppers and Romano-parsley breadcrumbs. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

HICKORY CAFE AND GRILL 1313 Hickory Ave., Harahan, 737-0033; The Cuban sandwich combines slow-roasted pork loin, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and Creole mayo on grilled French bread. The Uptown chicken sandwich is dressed with melted Brie, bacon, spinach and tomatoes. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

HOUSTON'S RESTAURANT 1755 St. Charles Ave., 524-1578; 4241 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 889-2301; The grilled chicken salad features mixed greens, honey-lime vinaigrette and peanut sauce. Rotisserie chicken is slow roasted and served with dirty rice. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

IHOP 151 Westbank Expwy., Gretna, 366-4177; 833 Canal St., 593-0440; 12150 I-10 Service Road, 244-0013; The breakfast sampler includes two eggs, two bacon strips, two pork sausage links, two pieces of ham, hash browns and two buttermilk pancakes. Grilled tilapia is served with hollandaise, red potatoes, steamed broccoli and garlic bread. No reservations. Open 24 hours daily. Credit cards. $

JIMMY BUFFETT'S MARGARITAVILLE CAFE 1104 Decatur St., 592-2565; Gulf Coast and Caribbean dishes fill the menu at Jimmy Buffett's place. Volcano nachos are topped with chili, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, tomatoes and scallions, and grilled chicken or beef are optional additions. Jimmy's Jammin' Jambalaya is loaded with shrimp, chicken, turkey and andouille sausage and served with French bread. No Reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $$

OLIVE BRANCH CAFE 1995 Barataria Blvd., Marrero, 348-2008; 5145 Gen. DeGaulle Drive, 393-1107; American Can Company, 3700 Orleans Ave., 302-1220;  Shrimp Carnival combines Gulf shrimp, smoked sausage, onions and bell peppers in garlic cream sauce tossed with penne pasta. The Southwestern burger features an 8-oz. black Angus patty topped with guacamole, jalapenos, bacon and Swiss and cheddar cheeses on a jalapeno-cheese roll. Delivery available. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $$

PICCADILLY Citywide; Piccadilly cafeterias offer an extensive array of Southern and American favorites from fried chicken, crawfish etouffee and blackened shrimp with fettuccine Alfredo to spaghetti and meatballs. There also are salads, pasta dishes, sides like mac and cheese and fried okra, and desserts like apple or peach cobbler. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

RUSSELL'S MARINA GRILL 8555 Pontchartrain Blvd., 282-9999; The onion mum appetizer is a large onion cut and fried to resemble a flower in bloom. For breakfast, eggs Pontchartrain features poached eggs atop an English muffin with fried green tomatoes, bacon and hollandaise. Reservations accepted for large parties. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

ST. CHARLES TAVERN 1433 St. Charles Ave., 523-9823; The pork boudin sausage po-boy gets a zesty kick from Cajun spices and is served with fries. The chicken-fried steak comes with baked potatoes. For dessert try white chocolate bread pudding with rum sauce. Delivery available. No reservations. Open 24 hours daily. Credit cards. $

SOMETHIN' ELSE CAFE 620 Conti St., 373-6439; Combining Cajun flavors and comfort food, Somthin' Else offers noshing items including shrimp baskets, boudin balls and alligator corn dogs. There are burgers, po-boys and sandwiches filled with everything from cochon de lait to a trio of melted cheeses on buttered thick toast. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, late-night Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SPUDLY'S SUPER SPUDS 2609 Harvard Ave., Metairie, 455-3250 Spudly's menu includes soups, salads, po-boys filled with seafood, and baked potatoes topped with a wide array of meats, cheeses, vegetables and sauces. The chicken delight features fried chicken breasts topped with mozzarella, chives and cheese or barbecue sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

SUGAR PARK 3054 St. Claude Ave., 942-2047; New York-style pizzas include the "All Up In There" pie topped with ham, Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. There also are sandwiches and burgers like the blue cheese and bacon burger served with fries, potato salad or coleslaw. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

T.G.I. Friday's 1201 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 368-2100; 3300 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 887-7788; Friday's serves an eclectic menu including seafood, salads, pasta, steaks, ribs, burgers, sandwiches and more. Cajun shrimp and chicken pasta features chicken and shrimp sauteed in Cajun butter and served over fettuccini in Alfredo sauce. Appetizers include everything from loaded potato skins to Buffalo wings to green bean fries and Tuscan spinach dip. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

TED'S FROSTOP 3100 Calhoun St., 861-3615 The Lotto burger is a 5-oz. patty served with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles and Frostop's secret sauce. There are waffle fries and house-made root beer. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

THE TIMES GRILL 1827 Front St., Slidell, (985) 639-3335; 1896 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 626-1161; The menu features 23 different types of hamburgers, including the Goldburger, a patty brushed with barbecue sauce and topped with pepper Jack cheese and onion rings. The large selection of salads includes the chef's club salad, piled with turkey, ham, roast beef, and provolone, cheddar and Swiss cheeses. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

WOW CAFE Citywide; WOW serves wings and an eclectic menu including Buffalo shrimp, quesadillas, burgers, wraps, chicken tenders and salads. The selection of wing sauces ranges from spicy Buffalo, jerk or Santa Fe style to Texan mesquite barbecue to sweet-and-sour Polynesian sauce. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

ZEA ROTISSERIE AND GRILL Citywide; Platters of slow-cooked meats from the rotisserie include combos like half a barbecued chicken and a half-rack of St. Louis ribs. The Asian tuna salad features seared rare tuna with crispy noodles, sesame seeds, almonds and peanut vinaigrette. Reservation policies and hours vary by location. Credit cards. $$

ZEKE'S RESTAURANT 1517 Metairie Road, Metairie, 832-1133; Popular entree options include pecan-crusted catfish and chicken pot pie with puff pastry. Seasonal boiled seafood also is available. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$


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