Feast before the fast.
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the practice of feasting before the fasting of the Christian Lenten season. This year, Fat Tuesday is Feb. 28.
Mardi Gras is celebrated in grand fashion in New Orleans, where festivities stretch beyond a single day, beginning on or after the Christian feast of the Epiphany (also known as Three Kings Day) and culminating the day before Ash Wednesday.
Across Long Island, restaurants with a New Orleans bent are banding together their beads and beans to mark the occasion. Here are a handful with Mardi Gras-specific offerings taking place Feb. 28:
The jesters and mavens will be out in full force on Fat Tuesday at Big Daddy’s in Massapequa, where the staff will be dressed in costumes — and patrons are encouraged to do the same.
“Costumes are not mandatory but a majority of people do dress up,” says manager Brian Sheskier.
The party starts early. Doors open at 11 a.m. with live lunchtime music from the Jack Morelli Trio and a face painter who will be on hand all day.
The adults-only evening festivities include a sold-out dinner buffet. The Johnny Mac Band will start performing at 8 p.m., and walk-ins are welcome after 9 p.m. — depending on space.
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m. to closing Tuesday, Feb. 28, One Park Lane, Massapequa.
INFO 516-799-8877, bigdaddysny.com
Storyville is offering a $34.95 three-course dinner in its dining room with accompanying music courtesy of Edward Cascone from Sweet and Lo, who’ll play the saxophone.
First courses include turtle soup, gumbo, chicken fried shrimp, Acadian grit fries with andouille, pork sliders, cold seafood cocktail and house salad; mains include red snapper Nantua, 12-ounce sirloin marchand de vin steak, chicken and waffles, bronzed catfish, Frenchmen Street seafood stew, Magazine Street pork po’boy and fire-and-rice chicken jambalaya. For dessert, choose from bread pudding, praline cheesecake, brownie sundae, berries and cream or king cake.
In the bar, Jeremy Beck and The Heavy Duty Horns will play New Orleans-style classic jazz and blues. The restaurant will also offer half-priced hurricanes (a sweet drink made with rum, fruit juice and syrup or grenadine), Sazerac (a New Orleans variation of a cognac or whiskey cocktail) and Abita beer. Beads and masks will also be distributed. Reservations recommended.
WHEN | WHERE 5-10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, 43 Green St., Huntington
INFO 631-351-3446, storyvilleamericantable.com
BISCUITS & BARBECUE
The Mardi Gras celebration begins Feb. 24 at Biscuits & Barbeque and continues through Fat Tuesday with such specials as crawfish boil served in 1- or 3-pound portions with corn on the cob and potatoes, smoked alligator ribs, fried oysters, crawfish étouffée and king cakes. Housed in a vintage railroad car diner, this establishment that sits 40 is hosting its fifth annual Mardi Gras celebration. Most appetizers are priced at less than $10 and main meat entrees are less than $20.
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, 106 E. Second St., Mineola
INFO 516-493-9797, biscuitsandbarbeque.com
For more than two decades, R.S. Jones has hosted one of the largest Fat Tuesday parties on Long Island. This year’s Carnival atmosphere extends beyond the bar, where popular drinks such as the hurricane, Mardi Gras margarita and cyclone will be served up. They’ll also have a face painter, giveaways and hundreds of beads distributed to patrons. On the menu, find crawfish, catfish, gumbo, andouille, étouffée and other Creole dishes. Most appetizers are less than $10 while mains range from $17 to $29. Reservations suggested.
WHEN | WHERE 5-10 p.m., 153 Merrick Ave., Merrick
INFO 516-378-7177, rsjones.com
The Bayou’s menu changes daily, but on Fat Tuesday it includes a three-course fixed-price menu ($55) with three seatings. Appetizers include gumbo; chargrilled corn off the cob with queso fresco crumbles, cilantro and lime; crunchy dill pickle chips served with zesty rémoulade sauce and stuffed cornbread baked with cheddar and andouille filling.
As a main dish, choose from The Steak from Hell (a grilled 8-ounce sirloin smothered in habanero barbecue sauce and served with sweet potato fries); Pasta Jambalaya (penne, roasted chicken, andouille and tasso tossed with a fiery Alfredo sauce); Parade Day Chicken and Waffles (boneless fried chicken breast and waffles with sweet and spicy maple syrup); Diablo Meatloaf (traditional meatloaf with beef, andouille and cayenne peppers baked in puff pastry, topped with smokin’ hot jalapeño gravy and served with grits); Salt and Vinegar Catfish (a catfish fillet pan-fried in salt and vinegar potato chip coating and served with Cajun fries and rémoulade sauce); and Shrimp and Grits (large Gulf shrimp, onion, pepper and bacon sauteed in pan gravy over grits). For dessert, go for a flourless chocolate cake, king cake bread pudding and New York-style cheesecake. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are strongly recommended.
The rock band Gene Casey and The Lone Sharks will perform throughout the evening.
WHEN | WHERE 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Feb. 28, 2823 Jerusalem Ave., Bellmore
INFO 516-785-9263, bayou4bigfun.com
LOUISIANA JOE’S SANDWICH SHOP
This sandwich shop brings Cajun flavors to the South Shore. The menu focuses on po’boy sandwiches, most of which are priced at less than $10. But Louisiana Joe’s also excels at gumbo, jambalaya and étouffée. On Mardi Gras, every sandwich comes with a lagniappe (freebie) in the form of a dessert.
WHEN | WHERE 7 a.m.-3 p.m., 488 Merrick Rd., Oceanside
INFO 516-442-9838, louisianajoes.com