We had the single best bite of barbecue ever served to us in a New Orleans restaurant last week at Marjie’s Grill. Of course that’s tantamount to declaring young Imogene the single best ballerina in Galveston. It doesn’t carry a lot of weight as there is no good barbecue being commercially served in our fair city. But there sure are some really good pellet smoker reviews that one can read and make some barbeque in their own backyard.
Out back, to the side of Marjie’s is a big steel contraption serving as a barbecue pit for the young upstart restaurant. It reminds us of old pits we used to dream over in the Texas of the 80s. It’s open, filled with burnt down wood and has all manners of levers and pulleys so the pit boss can cook the meats as he sees fit.
As is the food.
Marjie’s must go through trash bags filled with herbs each shift. The Des Allemands catfish has taken a quick detour to Laos by way of Tyler, Texas, it’s blanketed in greenery and served with a dressing that would do the most die hard Texas ranch lover’s heart good.
A saucer with a few strips of lagniappe beef rib magically appears and is quickly devoured. Would that there was a full-on barbecue restaurant in New Orleans serving meat half as good.
Good ceviche is defined by it’s ju-ju or juice. At the end of wailing on the plump shrimps we nearly come to blows over who will get to drain the bowl straight into their mouth.
Deep fried pig knuckles could be served in the most rigorous meat and three cafeteria in Ensley, Alabama. We take to stuffing shards of cilantro in our mouth to help cut through the unctuous fat bristling from the hog bones. At happy hour this monstrous platter of meat clocks in at five bucks.
Som Tam is a clarion call to the power of acid and salt. We later find out our salad’s heat could’ve been amped up considerably upon request. That was really the only flaw we found at Marjie’s; we wanted some scorching chiles to knock us off our chairs from time to time but the heat here is really, seriously dialed back.
No matter, this is cuisine modeled after southeast Asia’s famous hawker stalls but concessions have to be made to the New Orleans palate. Over the years we’ve noticed southeast Louisiana likes its food well-seasoned but there is no collective love for palate-searing chile heat.
Marjie’s Grill is the kind of funky little charming cafe that really gets over in New Orleans. It’s irreverent, clumsy and modded out with all manners of oddball tchotchkes. Of course none of that matters if the chef doesn’t know his way around a kitchen, and the main man in the kitchen here certainly does. Marcus Jacob’s flavors pop so hard you’d swear a 55 year old Thai lady was manning the range in the kitchen.
He may not be an Asian granny but he’s definitely got the chops of one.
As the post-meal euphoric glow starts to kick hard. We navigate to nearby Coffee Science to revel in it.
320 S Broad Ave
New Orleans, Louisiana
telephone (504) 603-2234
Hours of operation
Always call ahead
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