Louisiana flavor hits the Grove

New Orleans’ cuisine has made it to South Miami through the swank Christabelle’s Quarter in Coconut Grove. But this ornate three-story restaurant serves more than just great food, it also offers a bar and dance floor for guests to revel in New Orleans’ Mardi Gras fashion until early morning hours.

For those interested in Cajun and Creole and a good time, Christabelle’s Quarter deserves a stop on a night out in the Grove. The dinner menu is a bit pricey, with entrees starting at $19 and up, but it offers a great seafood selection like Charbroiled Louisiana Oysters and Louisiana Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes.

People looking for the traditional chicken dinners should look elsewhere, but for those craving something tasty and new, try the rabbit sauce piquant or the Louisiana crawfish etouffee.

By far, the most identifying quality of Christabelle’s Quarter is its atmosphere. With ornate stained glass windows, golden cherubs, dark wood, antique chandeliers and black iron-wrought rails lining the stairs and upper floors, the restaurant has a decidedly French boudoir flair to it. The designer, Carlos Perez de Costa, employs a heavy French Industrial era style-think Moulin Rouge meets Louisiana. It’s certainly not your stereotypical Miami-style, Art Deco neon pink.

For the fantastically ornate atmosphere alone makes Christabelle’s Quarter a must try. The food is good by all means, but in no way outstanding. Regardless, it’s worth a visit because it brings a unique, distinctive cuisine to the Gables…plus it’s a seafood lover’s heaven.

Carla Tabag may be contacted at c.tabag@umiami.edu.