Calling an establishment a “pub” conjures a very specific image in my head: a small tavern that serves a few no frills beers alongside hearty, rustic food. Houma’s new self-proclaimed brew pub, Spigots, expands that image for me in the best ways possible.
Cuisine: Ice Cream
Visiting Scarlet Scoop is like stepping into a dream. This little ice cream shop transports you back in time to your childhood when your life’s ambition was to eat as much candy as possible. The black and white old-timey newsprint wallpaper makes the shocking rainbow of edible colors stand out all the more. Almost every square inch of counter space is devoted to massive lollipops, jawbreakers as big as your face, vintage mints, a million different kinds of taffy, and much, much more. But you’re not here for any of that because beneath the counters are tubs of rich, creamy ice cream. What really sets Scarlet Scoop apart, though, are the custom mixed flavors they serve throughout the year. They always manage to come up with something that perfectly matches the time of year while being delicious no matter when you drop in, hot or cold. Any time is a good time for Scarlet Scoop.
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Cuisine: Greek, Cajun
Greek, Lebanese, Mediterranean (whichever you prefer) cuisine was popularized in our area by Sarah’s, which has returned to its humble origins as a small gas station diner in downtown Houma. All the favorites like hummus, baba ganuj, grape leaves, gyro, and more are here in addition to familiar diner and truck stop fare. The latter might be there for those unwilling to take the plunge and try some of the strange sounding dishes, but everyone should give this food a try. You’ll start craving the flavors on a daily basis.
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Cuisine: Japanese, Asian
Sushi is usually just one part of a Japanese restaurant’s larger menu, but Zen is first and foremost a sushi restaurant with a focus on beautifully constructed rolls that employ unique ingredients. And while most sushi menus separate their rolls between “basic” and “special,” Zen organizes its sushi further based on degrees of rawness. Skittish diners can sample rolls from the “Fully Cooked” section with ingredients like bacon, fried shrimp, and calamari before possibly moving onto the more adventurous “Open Minded” and “Eat It Raw” categories where they’ll find tuna, salmon, and yellowtail. If you’re still not interested or simply want fried rice, noodles, or other hibachi specials, Zen has the full menu you’re used to without all the theatrics.
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By the time this Louisiana restaurant chain entered our area, a wide variety of Mexican food had already been available for years. Despite that, La Caretta managed to significantly expand upon that variety with a great approach to Tex-Mex. A trio of ceviche options with the added touch of mango and cucumber is a nice start and the wide range of authentic style tacos is fantastic. The menu is more concise than most other Mexican restaurants and the vibe is much more fun and hip. La Caretta is a welcome step in the right direction for our area’s Mexican food.
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Cuisine: American, Sandwiches
Dominique’s Bistro is the area’s quintessential upscale lunch spot. Only open at midday during the week aside from the occasional wine dinner, the menu at Dominique’s makes the restaurant’s premise abundantly clear. There are currently only three traditional entrees available while salads and sandwiches dominate the menu. These aren’t simple mixed greens or poboys though. There are decadent options like an arugula and beef tenderloin salad with fried egg or a hot ham and brie sandwich with caramelized onions and pepper jelly on brioche. And despite the elegant dining room, beautiful bar, and wine menu; Dominique’s manages to make one of the area’s best burgers. If you’re ever free for a midweek lunch and are looking to indulge a bit, Dominique’s Bistro is worth a visit.
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Cuisine: Vietnamese, Asian
Vietnamese food finally made its way to our little area with the arrival of White Bowl a few years back. If you’re unfamiliar with the cuisine, don’t be scared off by the exotic names. Pho is the most incredible noodle soup you’ve ever had with a broth that can heal your soul. Bahn mi is a Vietnamese poboy with flavorful fillings in a crusty baguette. And if that’s still too daunting for you, White Bowl serves a variety of more traditional Asian dishes all in its very modern, casual dining room. It’s a hip ambassador to a vastly underrated cuisine.
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