Bayou Jack's Cajun Grill has only one drawback.
"How do we get people in the door," owner Jack Layman asked, "if they have to walk past Chuy's?"
The new neighbor in the So7 shops near Trinity Park offers first-rate catfish and Cajun fare in a small, casual oyster bar and grill.
"People stop and ask, 'What's this place?'" Layman said.
"They go to Chuy's. But two or three days later, they stop in."
The first Bayou Jack's opened last spring in Roanoke. Layman, a native of Ragley, La., near Lake Charles, had worked 12 years managing Rockfish restaurants.
"I wanted a restaurant to serve the kind of cooking I grew up on," he said.
Read our review of Bayou Jack's by clicking here.
He considered local Dodie's in Dallas the standard for family-owned Cajun restaurants, and had only heard about local favorite Boo-Ray's.
"There's a big difference in the chain restaurants and the little places that cook from scratch," he said.
Bayou Jack's gumbo is in a rich brown roux, with so much seafood you almost need to eat it with a fork. A "bayou catfish" platter is a fried fillet served in a jalapeño cream sauce.
The specialty is charbroiled oysters topped with garlic and a Parmesan-Romano mix. Layman compares the Jack's oysters to those at Drago's in New Orleans. (They don't have as much charcoal flavor, but they're also not as far as New Orleans.)
Bayou Jack's is open for lunch and dinner daily at 2401 W. Seventh St., but actually faces Museum Way; 817-744-8631, bayoujackscajungrill.com.
The OpenTable reservations app ranks two local restaurants among its national Top 100 for "American" fare.
Apparently that means farm-to-table restaurants such as Ellerbe Fine Foods in Fort Worth and New American restaurants such as The Classic Cafe in Roanoke.
Ellerbe was recently featured in Southern Living. Besides the fall menu with dishes such as wild boar ribs or mustard-glazed Cornish hen, chef Molly McCook has Thanksgiving take-out cornbread dressing, butternut squash, green bean casserole and other side dishes and desserts; 1501 W. Magnolia Ave., 817-926-3663, ellerbefinefoods.com. Deadline to order is Friday.
The Classic Cafe is marking 20 years in Roanoke serving rosemary-pomegranate rack of lamb, pork tenderloin with apple-butter molé, seafood and steaks. 504 N. Oak St., 817-430-8185, theclassiccafe.com.
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