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Where to Spend Mardi Gras in BostonBy Scott Kearnan | February 26, 2014 By Scott Kearnan | February 26, 2014
Beat Hotel. Chopped-winning chef Rebecca Newell will preside over "Carnival de Brazil," a celebration running from 4 PM to midnight, serving up a Latin-inspired menu that includes savory pork empanadas, moqueca capixaba (Brazilian fish stew) and gaucho steak with chimichurri sauce. Meanwhile the bar will pour apropos cocktails like the Minas Gerais, named for the Brazilian state and combining Cachaça with honey syrup, fresh lime and grapes. Meanwhile Bahia native and contemporary percussionist Marcus Santos will perform live with his Afro-Brazilian band. Call to reserve a seat: 617-499-0001.
The Beehive. From 8 PM to midnight, the stage at this South End hotspot will buzz with the sounds of a New Orleans brass band and traditional jazz. The kitchen? It will buzz with worker bees prepping chef Marc Orfaly's Cajun-inspired a la carte specials, which include Louisiana shrimp and grits, pan-fried catfish and Cajun seafood jamabalaya.
Estelle's. The South End's spot for Southern-inspired cuisine is a natural fit for a little New Orleans-related noshing. So on March 4, chef Eric Gburski will offer a two-course prix fixe ($30.95): a starter of traditional andouille sausage and smoked chicken gumbo, followed by a choice of braised duck with andouille sausage etouffee or a Creole seafood jambalaya. To drink: the South End Hurricane, a mix of peach mango rum, pineapple rum, amaretto, hibiscus liqueur, and lime, pineapple and pomegranate juices. Tastes like Bourbon Street. (Not literally. Gross.) lime juice, pineapple juice and pomegranate juice that is garnished with pomegranate seeds and a lime wheel.
The Hawthorne. While Mardi Gras celebrations are often all about tippling like a teenager, Kenmore Square's standout cocktail lounge is taking its usual careful and sophisticated approach to a menu of Mardi Gras-inspired adult beverages. Expect to find time-honored New Orleans classics like the Sazerac, Vieux Carre and Ramos Gin Fizz. For noshing, there will be live crawfish flown in straight from The Big Easy, The Hawthorne’s own oversized muffuletta and freshly fried oyster po’ boys. Set to the sonic backdrop of Mickey Bones and the Hot Tamale Brass Band, the festivities (8 PM-12:30 AM) will also raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training as they prepare to run the Boston Marathon. Tickets are $75, available here.
South Street Diner. This is "Fat Tuesday," after all. Naturally, South Street Diner is turning out a 12-hour (11 AM-11 PM) "all you can eat" offer of $5 jambalaya. Craving more? There will also be a special a la carte menu of Mardi Gras-inspired fare like beignets, gumbo and shrimp po'boys. Plus, beads. There will be beads.
Summer Shack. The Dedham location of chef Jasper White's seafood slingers will combine New England and New Orleans with an a la carte menu available on Tuesday, March between 4-11 PM. You'll find BBQ jumbo Gulf shrimp, Cajun grilled catfish, stuffed crab with citrus radish salad and King Cake bread pudding with rum butter sauce among the tantalizing and tasty plates on deck.
Tryst. Chef Paul Turano's Arlington favorite will offer a special three-course prix fixe dinner ($35) on Tuesday, March 4 that sounds so good, it deserves its own parade. We're talking barbecued oysters with Creole butter, chicken and sausage gumbo with spciy fried shrimp, and (inspired by New Orleans' storied Commander's Palace) a jasmine rice and bread pudding with butter pecan ice cream and bread pudding. Reservations recommended: 781-641-2227.