Finding New Orleans fare north of the Mason-Dixon Line is like finding a needle in a haystack. Enter Top Hat Oyster Bar and French Quarter Kitchen, now serving down-South flavors with East Coast vibes. The Bellmore restaurant takes over what used to be Crown Gastropub (and, before that, Crown Steakhouse).
Under the enormous glass chandeliers in the dining room and jazz music playlist, you’ll find Blue Point oysters slathered with garlic butter and Parmesan — fresh and with a charbroiled top ($11). Dark roux-seasoned shrimp or chicken Creole gumbos and étouffées ($8 to $20) mimic the "Big Easy" dining scene. Also, a vinegar-based mirliton (a tropical squash commonly found in Cajun cooking) apple slaw comes with po'boy sandwiches. “We are bringing up all our alligator, sausages from Louisiana and any cooked oysters are local,” said chef-partner Stephen Rosenbluth, who spent time cooking in New Orleans to prepare for the opening. Rosenbluth and his wife, Jennifer, also own Anchor Down in Merrick and Cardoon Mediterranean in Seaford.
The beverage program features more than 175 bourbons and whiskeys. The lively bar serves Southern-made Abita beer on tap and hurricane drinks.
Top Hat is open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday.
106 Bedford Ave., Bellmore, 516-900-1560, tophatoysterbar.com.