Aside from the heat and humidity in July, it is hard to find many similarities between Washington and the French Quarter of New Orleans. Maybe that is why the atmosphere at the New Orleans Cafe is nothing like a raucous Mardi Gras scene. Instead, owner Bardia Ferdousi has brought to Adams-Morgan the kind of place tourists visiting Mardi Gras or the jazz festival rarely see.
Like any good Louisiana cafe, Bardia's breaks down the wall between street and restaurant -- huge windows at the front of the simple and clean dining room swing open and give several tables a perfect people-watching vantage. Inside, the kitchen serves up good and inexpensive New Orleans specialties. Most choices on the long list of po' boys cost around $6, the etouffee bring raves from regulars, and there are sometimes gems on the small list of specials. Of course, New Orleans-style Dixie beer is available, and don't forget to finish things off with an order of beignets -- deep-fried fritters, served hot and sprinkled with powdered sugar.