3 Fleur
Average check per person $25-$35
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Sun Ray Grill

Gretna: 2600 Belle Chasse Hwy. 504-391-0053. Map.
Casual
AE DC DS MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
The Sun Ray has a history of placing its moderate-price restaurants in neighborhoods where such restaurants are not to be found. So they become popular. The menus have a self-conscious international aspect–mostly quasi-Asian and semi-Mexican–with an underpinning of New Orleans flavor. They refer to it generically as “beach cuisine”–the kind of food you’d find in a place that has beaches. It sounds appealing, and often is.

WHAT’S GOOD
The Sun Ray’s greatest hits are among the salads, sandwiches, grilled seafood, ribs, and finger food. They’re less good at pasta, steaks, and poultry. The specials have always offered some interesting options, with more consistency in recent times. It’s refreshing to find very little fried food here. Each restaurant’s menu differs a bit from the others in the chain, but not enough to make one significantly better than another.

BACKSTORY
The Gretna location is the original, opened in 1996. Subsequent openings have been in a wide variety of premises, from the enormous Warehouse District place (in an even bigger warehouse) to the modest Old Metairie digs (in the former Delerno’s). The concept was created by owner Dana Deutsch, who had a significant history as a chef, including stints in Europe and the Windsor Court Hotel.

DINING ROOM
No two of the restaurants look alike, but all have in common open spaces and colorful design. The Warehouse District location is especially expansive, and recently added a second concept: Aloha Sushi, a tweaked approach to the namesake cuisine. The newest location, in Kenner, has a full-fledged oyster bar.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Raw oysters (Kenner only)
Grilled oysters (most locations)
Sushi and sashimi (Warehouse District only)
Black bean soup
Guacamole
Crawfish bruschetta
Fried spring rolls
Sailfish tostadas
Chicken quesadilla
Chicken or duck nachos
Baja chicken or shrimp skillets (like fajitas)
Grilled filet tip wrap
Hamburgers (many varieties)
Santa Fe burrito (steak or chicken)
Jungle fish bahn mi (Vietnamese poor boy)
West Indies salad (with jerk chicken or shrimp)
Pecan crusted chicken salad
Chinese chicken salad
Italian lobster salad
Beer battered fried shrimp
Fish taco platter
Cajun fish and chips
Grilled fish, many styles and species
Guava glazed duck
Thai barbecue ribs
Riviera filet mignon (lobster and brie sauce)

FOR BEST RESULTS
This is one of the few restaurants whose websites are up to date. They even show the correct daily specials every day. Very useful.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The menu sounds better than it is. The kitchen could do with a more refinement; a lot of what it produces is reminiscent of chain restaurant food. Must every restaurant have spinach-artichoke dip?

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

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Sidewalk tables
  • Romantic
  • Good for business meetings
  • 25-75
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Oyster bar
  • Unusually large servings
  • Quick, good meal
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • Reservations accepted

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Back when the West Bank had few white-tablecloth restaurants, the Sun Ray Grill opened a small cafe next to a hospital, and shortly had the whole area talking. The success of that restaurant led to the kind of expansion that’s common in other cities, but not so much here. It’s now a mini-chain, targeting customers on the younger side who are looking as much for a place to go as for something memorable to eat.

Here and there on the menu are some pleasant surprises–notably the guacamole, which is made to order and very good.


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