Chef/Owner Dave Evans dreamed of opening a 100% Cajun restaurant from his IT desk job, and the dream became a reality in October of 2013. His ideas and recipes have been so successful in Lake Charles that a second location will open soon in Lafayette.
Location: Luna Bar & Grill, 719 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, Louisiana
Menu: Chef Dave Evans describes his menu as being the best of California and Louisiana and coined the term “Cali-ana” to describe it. The dishes are both eclectic and regional with a healthy smattering of Evans’ creativity showing up in large doses.
The impressive list of appetizers includes such eye-catching choices as fried green beans, crawfish bread and fried artichokes, and fried flour tortillas are served instead of traditional chips with the hot dips. My absolute favorite was the crawfish bread. Fifteen sandwich options are named for the planets in the solar system and can be served on jalapeno cheese sourdough, sourdough wheat, a brioche bun or as a jalapeno cheese wrap. Redfish, salmon, tuna and crab star in the seafood entrees, and steaks are the Certified Angus brand. Chef Evans put his own twist on the remoulade sauce served with many dishes.
When the menu was conceived, Evans started with his favorite proteins – tuna and redfish – but wanted to “shake up the Cajun food fiber amd make some stuff that didn’t exist yet.” The continuous flow of customers is a sure sign that his ideas are exceptionally pleasing.
Thoughts: You will immediately notice the brick walls lined with posters of festivals, musicians and moon-themed art when you walk in the door. The wood floors suggest a vintage history to the building. The high ceilings are painted black, and a large bar dominates the front room. An adjoining dining section accommodates those who plan to enjoy a full meal at lunch, dinner or Sunday’s jazz brunch.
Chef Evans wants his diners to be engaged with their ears, eyes and tastebuds and readily proclaims that his personal “universe” includes music, the planets and his family, which are “all his favorites.” Evans, who was in a local band at one time, is now a mover and shaker in both the food and the music world of Lake Charles. Luna Bar & Grill is one of the most popular concert venues in town, and Evans has been responsible for bringing a number of highly-sought-after musical acts to Lake Charles. He is also a primary sponsor for Chuck Fest, held the third Saturday in October every year. You’ll see band names galore on the drinks menu. Although he has no formal culinary training, Evans has been cooking since he was thirteen years of age and refers to himself as a “student of life” who is inspired by those around him.
While Chef Dave does the cooking and arranges the music, his wife Nanette does pretty much everything else. Luna is most definitely a family business with the children’s names scattered among the entree listings, and they can often be found helping out with the many jobs involved in keeping so many people satisfied. Chicken Cassidy, Chicken Ella and Redfish Ian are examples. They have also created a family atmosphere among the employees, who are loyal, young and very adept with the college-aged diners.
Luna Bar and Grill has a lively vibe and is a great choice for a fun time and an excellent meal.
Price range: Appetizers range from $6-12, sandwiches $11-13, and entrees are $15-34.
Disclaimer: I was hosted by Visit Lake Charles CVB for this meal but would return on my own without hesitation. The food is wonderful, and the prices are very reasonable.