READERS' PICK: Nonie has been open for nearly two years and already received Best New Restaurant honors a year ago; but as far as our readers are concerned, it's new enough to still rank as their favorite place in town. If that isn't a resounding endorsement for this New Orleans-style bistro, we don't know what is. Owner Chris Leonard has crafted a place that crackles with the energy of Bourbon Street. Even the strands of colorful beads hanging from pegs on the wall evoke the spirit of the mother city. Cajun and Creole dishes like crawfish etoufée and jambalaya are turned out with expert flair and -- ai-eeee! -- are they ever hot at times! An appetizer of peppered shrimp in the shell will set your fingers tingling as you peel, and many entrees will leave you gasping for water to douse the flame of ground red chile. Gumbo, bread pudding, fried alligator tail, fried pickles, crawfish galore -- these are but a few of the signature dishes of this melting pot of American cuisine. Louisiana can keep the swamps; we've got Nonie.
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