I’ve been a long time fan of Tony Mandola’s restaurant. Over the years many leisure lunches were spent at their warm, welcoming River Oaks location on West Gray. Mandola’s has been at its new spot on Waugh about a year… a free standing building with plenty of parking and a charming patio that reminds me of something you’d see in the French Quarter in New Orleans.
The food is still the same spectacular Gulf Coast delights we’ve enjoyed for years. Some seem more Italian than Cajun–it’s a great blend. On our recent visit, we ordered from the appetizers only, and what a fabulous meal it was!
My all time favorite, a dish I’ve duplicated at home, is the Oysters Roquefort—a half dozen oysters baked in a rich, bleu cheese and spinach cream sauce with a dash of cayenne. My husband and I usually share this dish, but honestly on my next visit, I’m going to insist on one of my own. I adore this decadently delicious creation!
Turns out it’s one of Tony Mandola’s favorites too. He tells me the inspiration for the dish came from a tiny spot in New Orleans. Tony and his chef added the sautéed spinach and garlic, and it’s now one of the most popular items on his menu. Says Tony, “Add a little crusty bread, a glass of red wine and what else do you need!”
Actually, you need nothing else, but why stop when there are so many tasty choices…like the Shrimp Stuffed Jalapenos or the ceviche salad which comes with a generous amount of sliced avocado, pristine white hearts of palm and a very big pile of those delicious tortilla chips.
Another of our favorites is the Spedini, created for big appetites…worth forgetting about your diet for the day. The soft mozzarella is rolled with tender pork and salami, grilled then served with garlic infused olive oil.
We saved absolutely no room for dessert, but I do have my eye on the Banana Key Lime Pie for our next visit.
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