Beads, Beignets and Big Brass ~ Must be Mardi Gras!

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As a former New Orleanian, I find it never easier to miss that rambunctious, culinarily hedonistic and altogether joyful city than during Carnival season. During Mardi Gras, a celebration that goes on for two weeks before Fat Tuesday — the day before Lenten solemnity sinks in on Ash Wednesday — my social media feeds flood with images of old friends letting the good times roll in the 504.

Since the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, Storyville American Table is giving Long Islanders their own Mardi Gras. Owner Tom Curry and his partner and executive chef Brian Finn named their restaurant after NOLA’s red light district and fill their menu with dishes that include the city’s culinary history in each description. These include Creole and Cajun offerings that thankfully eschew the blackened-everything default of a complex and oft-misinterpreted cuisine. Attention to detail shows in their efforts, from the aluminum-tile ceilings to Gulf-sourced seafood and Pat O’s mix in the Hurricanes to real Andouille sausage. Loving spins of their favorite dishes of the region allow for liberties like chicken-fried shrimp, house-smoked ribs and more.

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For this year’s Mardi Gras on February 17, the pair put together quite a shindig and two very attractive dining options: a fixed price menu that includes one drink — Hurricane, wine or sparkling wine — or a buffet and half-priced libations. Both are $30 per person and come with free masks and swag to get into the spirit as Jeremy Beck and the Heavy Duty Horns do their funky thing from 7-11 p.m.

The fixed price menu — available from 5-9 p.m. for those who reserve a table — features the restaurant’s renditions of New Orleans favorites like hand-shucked charbroiled Gulf oysters, fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, cornflake catfish with Hoppin’ John and collards and a signature Fire and Rice jambalaya; praline diamonds, a cookie pie, bread pudding and beignets bring it all on home.

The buffet opens with the band, and stars Cajun classics like gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, red beans and rice and impeccably fried chicken, Storyville’s lauded Who-Dat Tater Tot Casserole, mac and cheese, collard greens, and cornbread bring Southern country cooking to Huntington Village. And of course, no Mardi Gras is complete without king cake; you can try this Danish ring, sugary glazed treat here on February 17 only.

Looking for more Mardi Gras? Find it here:

The Bayou: 2823 Jerusalem Avenue, Bellmore. February 12 kicks off events that last until the big day’s fixed price dinner.

Big Daddy’s: 1 Park Lane, Massapequa. One full week of events begins February 11.

Café Joelle: 25 Main Street, Sayville.  A special menu is available until just before Fat Tuesday, ending February 12.

Grasso’s: 134 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor. A special menu and smooth music is on offer for the fifth year.

Mara’s Homemade: 236 West Jericho Turnpike, Syosset. Order king cakes and try food from all over the South any day of the year.

Treme Blues and Jazz Club: 553 Main Street, Islip. Admission is free to see Dave Clive’s Nawlins Funk Band Mardi Gras evening; NOLA-inspired drinks and small plates year-round.

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