Two for $20 offers suggestions for dining out for two for $20 or less before tax and tip.
The look: Lofty space with soaring ceilings — and room enough for parties of two or 20. Roomy bar. Festive, Mardi Gras and jazz items and memorabilia garnish the room.
The meal: Fried catfish, garlic seafood over pasta, and chicken à la mer topped with thick, Newburg-ish seafood gravy are tempting, but I decide to be virtuous and have a "not full order" of grilled chicken breast with vegetable medley riding sidecar.
OK, not completely virtuous. I don't decline a scoop of cheesy grits.
My companion, being taller, fitter and possessed of a better metabolism, goes for the andouille/mamou po' boy with a trio of hushpuppies (fried corn bread balls) and a small pile of fries.
All right, I admit it: I filch the hushpuppies and more than a few of the fries. So much for virtue.
Lunch, ordered from the main menu, is $17.98 before tax and tip; from the lunch specials (served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m .weekdays), it's $14.48 before.
Kudos: The chicken breast is nicely grilled, still moist and well seasoned. The grits are thick and rich and just cheesy enough.
Bread always is the challenge for po' boys beyond Louisiana, but this bread does a much better job than in past visits of achieving the required crusty-soft-chewy interplay. Service is very attentive.
Quibbles: The complimentary basket of dry bread rounds with faintly seasoned butter, however, is another matter. I'd lose it. The po' boy benefits from shakes of hot sauce, though this might just be a matter of taste; my companion and I like very spicy food.
Alternatives: From the main menu, a generous appetizer like krab cakes à la mer could substitute for a sandwich or entrée, and the half-orders of blackened chicken and shrimp and Cajun chicken, fish and seafood are all less than $10.
Three dozen lunch specials, each also less than $10, allow for sampling of many dishes that are more than $10 on the main menu.
Return trip? Cajun, Creole and New Orleans cooking purists take note: Jazz is as much inspired by Louisiana cooking as it is a literal rendering of such traditions.
If folks are fine with that and in the neighborhood, the lunch specials offer much to explore — and certainly much that's different from other specials around town.
What's under $10: appetizers; po' boys; some "not full" blackened, sautéed, grilled, pasta and house specials dishes; more than three dozen lunch specials