Monday, November 14, 2005


R L's Off the Square

Have you ever seen a restaurant advertise something as "A taste of Bourbon Street?" Every time I see such a thing, the first thought that comes to mind is, "Has the guy who wrote that menu ever seen Bourbon Street?" Bourbon Street is full of people looking to satisfy a wide variety of appetites, but food generally isn't one of them. I could see a bar saying their beer was a taste of Bourbon Street. But only if they served it to-go so one could fully enjoy the authentic public drunkeness experience of the Big Easy.

You will find no such innane advertising nonsense at R L's. The chef here came from New Orleans, and writing on the menu only describes the care he puts into his cooking. They have no need of inappropriate Louisiana references to sell their food. R L's serves up a variety of authentic Creole food. You'll find the expected crawfish and jambalaya on the menu, and there are also some original creole creations such as The Turner.

The Turner is one of those combinations that sounds unlikely when you first hear about it, but it works. To make one, start by taking some jalepeno and cheese grits. Fry them up into patties that sort of resemble flat, burger-shaped hush puppies. Now stack two of these with three layers of meat. Top it off with a generous helping of meaty, spicy soup, and garnish with shrimp, parsely, and tomatoes. It's definitely not the sort of food you see everyday... but it works so well that you have to wonder why you don't.

This is a fairly upscale restaurant. Expect to pay between $12 and $20 for an entree. However, you definitely get your money's worth. Not only is this top-notch cooking, but the presentation is truly impressive. If the Atlanta Grill served Creole, it might arrive on plates that looked like these.

This is not the sort of restaurant I would compare to Bourbon Street. Instead, it reminds me of an afternoon I spent in Jackson Square, listening to a street jazz band, watching a musician, and looking at a sidewalk art show. R L's is straight out of the part of New Orleans that you could visit and not be embarassed to write to Mom about.

1113 Floyd St. NE

Covington, GA 30014

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