by Jonathan Baker - 319 Reviews - 185 List
The Old Fourth Ward, with its rough-around-the-edges environment and dicey parking, is producing some of the most talked about (and interesting) restaurants in town. From Top Flr's recent second edition to one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the country (Dynamic Dish, pictured), our guide to the virtually undiscovered Old Fourth Ward restaurants.
Updated: June 29, 2010
Named after one of the owner's grandmothers, Noni's charms your pants off with a hip, antique setting. The menu--loosely based on grandma's cookbook--goes perfectly with the tasteful charm of the place and centers on affordable Italian and deli fare.
The corner of Edgewood and Boulevard is the last place you?d expect to find an upscale lounge, and its opening has been a benchmark in the neighborhood's recent resurgence. We suggest you dress dapper, come for live soul music, and enjoy elegantly plated Caribbean dishes and cocktails.
Pizzeria Vesuvius's vibe reminds us of Mellow Mushroom in the 1970s (or so we imagine--we weren't old enough to eat pizza back then): See the psychedelic names, unique toppings and a beer hall booze list. Boasting a wood-fired oven, the restaurant churns out pizzas that are reminiscent of Fritti ? if Fritti had a sense of humor.
From the Top Flr folks, The Sound Table takes the same gourmand-driven philosophy and applies it to a new minimalist space on Edgewood. The menu pays tribute to international street food (Mexican corn, falafel), while prohibition-style cocktails receive the same outstanding attention and execution.
The Edgewood Corner Tavern represents exactly what a good local watering hole is supposed to be. A partially rusted neon sign welcomes O4W residents, and the gritty looking bartender will happily wax eloquent about the 100 American craft beers on draft. The far-reaching menu shines in the bar-food category.
This is how an urban java cafe should be. Inhabiting what was once a bustling inner-city market during the 1930s, the coffee loft evokes shades of Brooklyn cool; the timeless, warehouse-y frame playing host to early morning pick-me-ups and evening political powwows. And it still has the vintage grocery sign for good measure.
Sitting north of the King Center on Auburn, this tropical stand does Mexican-style gourmet fruit cups, paletas (ice pops) and pressed sandwiches. The fruit cups are the way to go, crammed high and topped with magically light homemade cream. Those in-the-know get it with spicy chile guajillo.
Serpas is like Two Urban Licks with a little brighter decor and a menu built for a post-dinner snooze. Neon boldly flanks the entrance on Auburn Avenue, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlook a stunning skyline view. The menu is heavy-handed with Louisiana decadence.
One of the first to arrive on Edgewood, this retro-designed, former filling station appeals to both foodies and `cue connoisseurs. Chef Todd Richard's barbecue menu is as intelligent as it is sloppy-good. Moist, smoked duck hides under crackly skin, while inhalable brisket sandwiches come uniquely topped with smoked onion.