Dining options are increasing along the New Orleans lakefront. The Blue Crab Restaurant & Oyster Bar (7900 Lakeshore Drive, 504-284-2898; www.thebluecrabnola.com) opened last week on the water by the West End marinas. It's next door to Landry's Seafood (8000 Lakeshore Drive, 504-283-1010; www.landrysseafoodhouse.com), a Houston-based regional chain, and down the road from Brisbi's Lakefront Restaurant & Bar (7400 Lakeshore Drive, 504-304-4125; www.brisbisrestaurant.com), which made its debut about a month ago.
Together, they represent a revival for a part of the city that was a magnet for family dining for generations before Hurricane Katrina. Casual restaurants once lined the adjacent West End Park, though their numbers dwindled over the years and Katrina wiped out the few remaining places.
Blue Crab manager Kent Burgess is part of the family that ran one of the lakefront's best-known and most-enduring restaurants, Sid-Mar's, which operated for nearly 40 years just across the parish line in Bucktown. He reopened Sid-Mar's at a Metairie address in 2010, but it closed in 2012.
Burgess says the menu at the Blue Crab is based on the old Sid-Mar's format, with po-boys, fried seafood platters and seasonal boiled seafood anchoring the options. There also are grilled seafood dishes, steaks, entrees including barbecue shrimp, red beans and rice and shrimp Creole and a kid's menu. There's an oyster bar, but it hasn't begun service yet. The Blue Crab has a full bar.
This restaurant has been under development for two years, and it was originally conceived as Duke's on the Basin, after chef Duke LoCicero of Cafe Giovanni. But last summer, LoCicero announced he was no longer involved with the project, citing disagreements with the other partners. The name was changed and Burgess was brought in. A dock and a store for boaters to pick up snacks, ice and drinks are still in the works for a second phase of the Blue Crab project, and Burgess says they should be complete in six months.
The Blue Crab serves lunch and dinner every day except Monday.