WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
If you work downtown, or are attending a meeting at the Convention Center, it is inevitable that you will wind up one of these days at Barcadia. The attraction is a great hamburger and even better fries. You can get both of those in lots of other grills hereabouts, but Barcadia’s are the best downtown. Beyond that, the place has an extensive lineup of beers, good cocktails, and two walls lined with very old arcade games, the kind you played when you were in your teens.
The kitchen is managed by Nick Hufft, who after a stint with Emeril started a food truck operation in Baton Rouge called Curbside. For his truck and other catering jobs, he retooled the hamburger, upgrading every aspect of it without pulling it too far away from its roots. The rest of the menu includes an assortment of deli and barbecue sandwiches, salads, and appetizers. And extraordinarily good fries, which I beg you not to smother with melted cheese.
Barcadia opened just before Mardi Gras in 2013, the third in a small chain (the others are in Dallas and Forth Worth). It is generally managed by Miles Tully Jr., and the owner is Stanton Ripp, who also is involved in Generations Hall.
Barcadia occupies about a third of the first floor of a large parking garage (no put-down; so is Mr. B’s). The walls and floors are intentionally distressed, for that warehouse feel. If you walk to the back (or enter on Lafayette Street) you find a much quieter, more sophisticated bar called Ohm. The service staff is quick and full of good ideas. The music is geared to the young end of the client spectrum.
Naan bread pizza, pulled pork, BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese
»Queso fundido nachos (chipotle chicken, pulled pork, or bacon)
Chicken Karaage (fried, ginger-garlic vinaigrette, fresh herbs)
»Ohm Lounge shrimp (sweet chili aioli, toasted coconut)
Ohm edamame dip, taro chips
»Korean pork shanks, bulgogi marinade, sesame seeds, sriracha
Potato skins, pork belly preserves, cheddar, sour cream, chives
»Hand-cut fries, wide assortment of toppings)Fried Pickles
»House-pickled cucumbers, roasted pepper ranch
Sweet potato tots, bacon, cheddar, spicy ketchup
Shroomin’ Swiss, sauteed crimini mushrooms, beer-braised onions
Smokin Joe, cheddar cheese, bacon, beer-braised onions, hickory smoke sauce
»Dead Guy Chicken (grilled, cheddar, bacon, braised onions BBQ sauce)
Fried PB&J, honey tempura batter, powdered sugar, seasonal compote
»Phoenix club (turkey, cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, hot honey mustard, multigrain bread
Griddl’d cheese (several kinds together)
Chicken pesto (grilled chicken, roasted peppers, Swiss, pine nut pesto
Cali Girl (turkey, avocado, Swiss, sprouts, arugula, tomato, Green Goddess dressing, multigrain)
Uncle Rick (bacon, more bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato
»P ‘n’ P (pulled pork, BBQ sauce, fried pickles
JJ Feel Good (seared tuna, sesame vinaigrette, spring mix
»Manager’s Special (pastrami, Swiss, mustard, marble rye
Asian tuna wrap
Grilled chicken club
Cali Girl wrap (low-carb)
K.G.B. (cheddar, praline bacon, egg ever easy)
Flagboy (fried white cheddar patty, lettuce, tomato, pickles
»The Brian (cheddar, pork belly preserves, lettuce, tomato, pickles
»Green chile cheeseburger (pepperjack, roasted chilis, bacon, honey gastrique
»Bison patty melt, Swiss, braised onions, duck fat toasted marble rye
Grilled chicken Caesar salad
Arugula chicken salad, avocado, tomato
»Asian salad (greens, edamame, sprouts, sesame vinaigrette)
»South salad (spinach, blue cheese, balsamic marinated strawberries, red onion, walnuts, fig balsamic vinaigrette)
FOR BEST RESULTS
The menu includes many spicy dishes, some of them unexpected (the fried pickles, for example). These are the best food in the house.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The menu is often out of the very item you’re most interested in. (I had to go for my third choice on my most recent visit. The guacamole needs total reformulation.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Value +1
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +1
- Sidewalk tables
- Romantic (Ohm Lounge)
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open some holidays
- Open after midnight
- Open all afternoon
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Two major socio-culinary forces are highly active on Tchoupitoulas Street as it enters the Warehouse District. The first is a large population of young professional adults looking for a place to have a drink and a supper of something like bar food. The other is the nova-like explosion in popularity of the all-powerful hamburger. Which, we have seen, is attracting not only people who ought to be interested in something more interesting, but the attention of major chefs who also have better things to do.
The two forces swirled around one another to form a particularly large mass underneath a parking garage. Barcadia is big and cool-looking enough to attract enough people to spill across the sidewalk most nights. And it has major hamburgers. Not gimmickburgers (the current issue of Esquire describes these as praised “largely on how much crap restaurants pile on top”), but first-class beef and dressings on house-made buns, grilled with some excitement.