French Market West celebrates a New Orleans tradition
If we lived in or around New Orleans, we’d be in the thick of Mardi Gras right now. Except for a week-long break for the Super Bowl, celebrations that include almost daily parades have been going on since January 19, all leading up to Fat Tuesday.
Fat Tuesday is the last day of Carnival season, one last ditch effort to eat too much, drink too much and have way too much fun before Ash Wednesday comes the next day and begins the season of restraint that is Lent.
We’re not in New Orleans, however, although Jim Beck, co-owner of French Market Grille West in Martinez, hopes to help locals cram as much Louisiana fun as they can into Fat Tuesday, February 12.
So this Tuesday, he and his staff are pulling out all the stops. Hour Hour will last all day long, and patrons will want to try a rum and fruit drink concoction famous to New Orleans, the Hurricane. They’ll also serve traditional New Orleans fare like the muffaletta, a round sesame roll filled with meat, cheese and olive salad, and crawfish by the pound. But don’t worry, he said: His regular Tuesday night specials, crab legs and shrimp, will still be on the menu.
Mardi Gras favors, including beads, will abound, as will King Cakes, a sweet similar to coffee cake frosted with traditional Carnival colors (purple, green and gold).
Celebrating Mardi Gras is a natural fit for Beck, who managed the kitchen when French Market West opened 15 years ago. serving traditional Cajun and Creole cuisine.
“There were three guys who opened it — Chuck Baldwin, Carl Swanson and Frank Chirkinian,” he explained. “I told Chuck, ‘I’ll run the restaurant,’ And I did. I worked all day every day. Then I bought Frank out in ’04 and I bought Chuck out in ’06.”
That makes Beck co-owner of French Market West with Carl Swanson and it is a totally separate entity from the one in Surrey Center, although the menu still contains most of the items so popular there. Guests at French Market West will, however, notice some different touches to Beck’s menu. The Crab Chop is there, along with the fiery Barbequed Shrimp (and that’s New Orleans barbecue sauce, rather than the version usually served over pulled pork). The po’ boy sandwiches are present, however, the gumbo is different from the version at Surrey Center.
The combination of the traditional menu and Beck’s inventive takes on Cajun and Creole dishes have garnered the restaurant a loyal following. And many of his regulars will be there Fat Tuesday celebrating. It’s an event that Beck says shouldn’t be missed.
“It’ll be packed,” he said. “It’s always packed.” French Market Grille West
360 Fury’s Ferry Road, Martinez
Lunch: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 3-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 3-11 p.m.
706-855-5111 | frenchmarketwest.com You Might Also Like: