Cafe Lynn. Mandeville: 2600 Florida St. 985-624-9007.

4 Fleur
EntreePrice-29
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayNo Lunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayNo Lunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerNo Dinner SundayNo Dinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayNo Dinner Saturday

Cafe Lynn

Mandeville: 2600 Florida St. 985-624-9007. Map.
Nice Casual.
AE DC DS MC V
Website

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Cafe Lynn has all you could want from a French-Creole bistro: a skillful, original chef, an imaginative menu, many regular customers, and lots of parking. At one time it also had a less appealing aspect: in its first years, it was located in what had been a Burger King. Even after a renovation, the place drew the occasional BK customer, who sometimes were well inside the dining room before they realized that no Whoppers were to be had. This became part of the restaurant’s legend, and even though it’s two years since Cafe Lynn moved into a more auspicious new home, people keep talking about the odd heritage. The contrast could not be more complete or delightful.

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
As popular as they are in the city, there aren’t many gourmet French-inspired bistros on the North Shore. Cafe Lynn is one of the best, with an engaging menu just innovative enough to set it apart from the neighborhood restaurant it appears to be at first glance.

Cafe Lynn's new dining room. It's about three times bigger than it looks.

Cafe Lynn’s new dining room. It’s about three times bigger than it looks.

WHAT’S GOOD
The clean blend of French and Creole flavors is kept within the confines of the familiar. Also here are flavors from the South of France, a reflex from the chef’s years as lead cook at La Provence. Whatever the origins of the dishes, you don’t have to study the menu long before you find a dish that sounds great. The emphasis is on fresh local product, prepared without pretentiousness or the making of menu statements. An ideal example of this is soft-shell crab, a specialty done better here than almost anywhere else. Seafood in general is the mainstay of the menu, although your palate will find other places to wander.

Roasted quail.

Roasted quail.

BACKSTORY
The chef-owner is Joey Najolia, the final chef de cuisine at La Provence before founder Chris Kerageorgiou died. When the restaurant was sold to John Besh in 2005, Najolia decided to go on his own. He bought a disused Burger King, renovated as deeply as he could, and opened up. The restaurant moved in 2014 into a rustic new space in the building that once was a produce market. Perfect statement.

Soft-shell crab @ Cafe Lynn. It's a cabdidate for best soft-shell in town.

Soft-shell crab @ Cafe Lynn. It’s a candidate for best soft-shell in town.

DINING ROOM
The L-shaped room is spacious, dark in its color scheme, and very comfortable with white tablecloths and bistro furnishings. In Mandeville, one is dressed up when he dons a shirt with a collar and sleeves–which is more or less the scene in the French countryside the Cafe Lynn tries to emulate.

REVIEWER’S NOTEPAD
More ruminations appear in our Dining Diary. Click on any of the dates below for those reports, each written a few days after a meal at Cafe Lynn.
7/10/2015 ~

FULL ONLINE MENU

BEST DISHES
Starters
»French onion soup gratin
Oysters Logan (fried, Napa cabbage slaw, toasted almonds, sherry vinaigrette
Eggplant Gabriel (fried, lump crabmeat, jumbo shrimp, oysters in cream sauce
Crabmeat Nathan (Louisiana crabmeat au gratin)
Fried calamari, remoulade sauce
»Crab cake, panko breaded & fried, remoulade sauce
Fried eggplant fingers, parmesan cheese, tomato sauce
»Escargot Bourguignonne
Crab cake salad
»Greek salad
Oyster salad, blue cheese
Goat cheese salad

Entrees
Check the specials before ordering an entree. That’s where the really fine cooking is found.
Fish du jour
»Gulf shrimp au pistou (sautéed with olive oil, herbs & garlic; basil, parsley & olive oil
Pan seared quail, olive oil, herbs & lemon, brown sauce
»Filet mignon, au poivre
»Pannéed bone-in pork chop
Veal scallopini of the day
Lamb chops à la Grecque, lemon juice, brown sauce
Stuffed eggplant with shrimp and crab, casserole style
Chicken amandine, brown butter & toasted almonds
Veal t-bone, mushroom marsala sauce

Desserts
Vanilla ice cream
Wild berry sorbet
Brownie a la mode
»Creme brûlée
»Lemon tart
White chocolate bread pudding

FOR BEST RESULTS
The specials are a bit better than the regular menu, and there’s a board full of them. As casual as the place looks, you are well advised to reserve a table. Lots of enthusiastic regulars dine here.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The lighting scheme needs to be done over. As is the case in most North Shore restaurants, the service staff is young and less than polished.

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 +1
  • Consistency +2
  • Service+1
  • Value +1
  • Attitude +2
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness +1
  • Local Color +1

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Romantic
  • Open Sunday lunch
  • Open all afternoon
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • Reservations recommended

4 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Hans Adams on March 5, 2016

    Great specials. We have followed Joey and his wife from their La Provance days. Always good especially the fish and quails. The staff is young but really nice and cheerful. The cocktails are extremely good.

  2. John & Tami Gavel on March 5, 2016

    Cafe Lynn has always been one of our favorite north shore restaurants from the time they opened.
    I believe every meal I’ve ever had there, and I’ve had possibly over 100 since they opened, I have thoroughly enjoyed. The service is invariably excellent and the food is delicious and plentiful!

  3. Ryan and Minnie on March 9, 2016

    Congratulations to Joey and Brandi for being recognized for their hard work and amazing restaurant in this article. We have enjoyed the atmosphere and cuisine at Cafe Lynn on numerous occasions. The service is great and the food is even better. Hats off to you guys. Thanks for bringing such an amazing restaurant to the northshore.

  4. Bob from Mandeville on March 18, 2016

    We ate at Cafe Lynn on Mar 11, 2016 and loved the fish du jour (sea bass), one of the best seafood dishes on the north shore. However, we were again very disturbed by the noise in the restaurant (it was early on a Friday evening, so the place was very uncrowded at the time). We’ve noticed this before at the new location. We find it very stressful to eat there because of the noise. I wonder if something could be done to absorb some of the noise (tapestries on the walls maybe?).

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