The latest salvo in the city's burger boom is pulling out all the stops. Charcoal's Gourmet Burger Bar (2200 Magazine St., 504-644-4311; www.-charcoalgourmetburgerbar.com) has a build-your-own burger format, a large menu and enough bells and whistles for two or three concepts.
There are 10 types of patties, so if the "house beef blend," the veggie burger or even the shrimp burger gets old, diners can try venison, bison, elk or antelope burgers. The list includes four bun options and toppings ranging from aged goat cheese and Gorgonzola to fresh herbs, tasso and four types of bacon (conventional, boar, turkey or praline).
Salads follow a similar format, but with somewhat different ingredients. The kitchen cuts its own fries and potato chips as sides. Meat and cheese plates, sliders, boudin balls and headcheese with Louisiana caviar are among the appetizer options.
The Cajun flavors are a nod to the upbringing of owners Blaine Prestenbach and Craig Walker Jr., who both hail from Houma. While developing Charcoal's they also opened a pair of businesses in the French Quarter — a small diner called Somethin' Else Cafe (620 Conti St., 504-373-6439; www.somethinelsecafe.com) and a market called Vieux Carre Seafood & Meats (1015 Iberville St., 504-265-8462; www.vieuxcarreseafood.com).
Charcoal's is a big, multi-level restaurant with counter service and views of the open kitchen on the first floor. The second floor has table service, a bar and access to a wrap-around balcony. Charcoal's Gourmet Burger Bar serves lunch and dinner daily.