5236 Tchoupitoulas St., West Riverside
The interior of Luvi screams a good time. Designed by Jennifer Wade, the wife of chef Hao Gong, the design is loud-in-a-good-way—turquoise walls, floral-printed chairs, and abundant use of print and texture. All of it hints at the deeply complex, fun-to-eat food coming out of the kitchen. The restaurant is named for chef Gong’s two kids Lulu (Lu) and Violet (Vi), and the menu fuses both the chef’s heritage (Gong was raised in Hong Kong) and his Japanese culinary training. It’s a beautiful marriage. Our suggestions: a bowl of mama’s dumplings, with its salty, sweet-and-sour broth; the smashed cucumbers; and more than one dish of the Million Dollar Baby, a satisfying mix of raw and seared tuna. To make it even better, order a couple rounds of the citrusy, gingery Juniper Chu Hai cocktails, made with shochu.
Domilise’s Po-Boys & Bar
5240 Annunciation St., West Riverside
The Northeast has the sub, Philly has the hoagie, and the New Orleans’s beloved sandwich mascot is the po’boy. And Domilise’s, which celebrated its one hundredth anniversary last year, is the place to try the best. It’s not fancy (the wood-paneled walls and the red and yellow plastic bottles of ketchup and mustard on Formica tables are delightfully retro), but the food is heavenly. If it’s your first time, go for a classic, like the fried, perfectly crisp shrimp or oyster po’boy on a Leidenheimer roll. Be aware that it gets crowded—coming on the earlier side (before noon) is a good idea.