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Seeking kitchy fun restaurant for locals

Hi - I am taking a worldly bunch of locals to dinner. We don't need great cuisine.
I am looking for something along the lines of a Polynesian palace, an old-school Japanese restaurant with sunken tables, a kitschy off the beaten path something, a true underground supper club in a unique location, a Bollywood buffet rabbit hole. Or just an over decorated Chinese place with cocktails and lazy susans,
Any ideas?
Thanks!

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  1. I'm sorry the great old Polynesian restaurants of Pontchartrain Beach and West End are gone. I'm left putting paper umbrellas in my own drinks.

    I think the only time warp places that I know of are steak houses. There is one in Hollywood with white naugahide banquettes and it's so dim it's easy to pretend that Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra are in a corner booth. But in New Orleans it is a place like Charlies Steak House.

    1 Reply
    1. re: collardman

      Yes, the Bali Hai is long gone, but oft remembered. Oh, the stories that I could tell.

      As for something retro, I am just flat at a loss. There is no (that I know of) Trader Vic's in NOLA, and between us adults, those that exist, just do not have that charm, especially in the food arena.

      Collardman, I have encountered exactly what you describe, but in Las Vegas and then in Palm Springs. I could not even begin to come up with similar in NOLA, so you are much, much better, than I am.

      I do not even know if there are any Benihanas in NOLA, but they sort of come close.

      The best that I can do is restaurants like Ralph & Kakoo's (Metairie, if still around), and then some funky spots, like Crabby Jacks. Still, the kitsch is very localized there (or maybe local to down on the bayou?).

      I could come up with a few lounges, that sort of fit the retro bill, but just not restaurants.

      Maybe I will learn something useful from this thread?

      Hunt

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      Crabby Jacks
      428 Jefferson Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70121

    2. Jacques-Imo's is certainly kitschy fake New Orleans/swamp decor. Crescent City and the afore-mentioned Charlie's also fit the bill.

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      Jacques-Imo's Cafe
      8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118

      1. What I'm curious about is WHY? If you're entertaining locals, it's usually about the food, first. Since we don't have any places with your required characteristics, maybe if we knew the angle, we could make more suggestions.

        1. Crazy Johnnie's in Fat City may do it for you. Fun and full of crazy Fat City-ness. 3520 18th Street in Metairie.

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          Crazy Johnnie's Cafe & Bar
          3520 18th St, Metairie, LA 70002

          1. expatorleanean, why ask why? Just cause you're local doesn't mean you always need or want the best food available. Sometimes, you want a good experience, food aside. I totally get it.

            My first thought, with my parents living in Mandeville, is Trey Yeun. As a kid I called it China Disney World (very elavorately decorated to the nines, koi ponds outside, flaming appetizers and big "old time" chinese restaurant drinks. BUT...its on the northshore,

            In town, my favorite for a more fun dinner is honestly Margaritaville down in the quarter. Each Margaritaville, I found out, has some set stuff on the menu, but is open to do their own food (the nola one has a surprisingly good bbq shrimp, for example) so its not quite as over the top touristy, chainy as youd think. I love going there when I'm home! Plus, the fun drink menu is longer than the real menu and there's always bands playing and a tire swing bar upstairs. My family will go down there, drink a little too much, and have a blast!

            2 Replies
            1. re: jmorri26

              I asked why to try to figure out what to suggest. Obviously the best food isn't always the point, but knowing what the point is would help.

              1. re: jmorri26

                I'd say that Pat O'Brien's, Les Bon Temps Roulez, Port of Call, Saturn Bar, maybe the bar at the Columns could be construed as being kitschy.