With jaunty purple walls and strategically strewn beads, Bayou looks like a tribute to New Orleans. With its lengthy menu of Southern classics, the new restaurant and jazz club tastes like one, too.
The menu includes Louisiana staples like jambalaya ($18) and gumbo ($8), but the long menu of po'boys has kept us coming back.
The secret to a good po'boy is as much about the bread as its fillings. Chef Rusty Holman (formerly of Eatonville) sources a soft, crusty French bread from New Orleans' Leidenheimer Baking Company to hold his fixings.
Large, juicy Blue Point oysters are battered in a light cornmeal mix and fried to fill the Frenchmen ($12). Hot and crisp, the sandwich--dressed with creamy rémoulade, lettuce and sliced sweet pickles--pops after a splash of Louisiana's Crystal Hot Sauce.
The Marigny ($13) lets indecisive diners split the sandwich and choose plump fried shrimp, oysters or catfish to fill each half. The Magazine Street ($11) arrives stuffed with roasted beef chuck roll and topped with a thick, meaty gravy. To temper the meat-on-meat interior, the sandwich is topped with a tart slaw.
The restaurant pours seven varieties of Louisiana's Abita beer, but we're partial to the Sazerac ($9) with our sandwiches.
Bayou, 2519 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (between 25th and 26th sts.); 202-223-6941 or bayouonpenn.com