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Why Go to Nola When There's Crescent City Grill?

If you’re located near or driving through the Hattiesburg area and haven’t visited this long-time fixture on Hardy Street, it’s time for a visit. Crescent City Grill is right up there with the “best eateries in Mississippi” in terms of food, ambiance, and southern hospitality. And yes, it easily made my personal “never had a bad meal here” list.

As its name suggests, Crescent City Grill serves all your Louisiana favorites, including seafood prepared a myriad of ways as well as creative variations of shrimp and grits, poboys, etouffee, red beans and rice, and jambalaya. Make that “pasta jambalaya,” and, like me, you’ll discover a dish you tend to order again and again. Actually, I’ve never sampled anything on Crescent City’s eclectic menu that wasn’t fresh, authentic, and simply delicious.

When you step into the cozy confines of the restaurant located a few feet from bustling Hardy Street, you can sense right away this is a popular place. Tables and booths are always filled with a mix of locals, tourists, and the occasional college student in search of a good meal. After being seated, you’ll want to start with an appetizer to delay ordering your entrée. That’s how confused you’ll be when you see the tempting array of choices on the menu.

Appetizers, some as hearty as main entrees, include chargrilled oysters ($10.99/$17.99), shrimp and crab spring rolls ($7.99), barbecue shrimp and grits ($9.99), blackened shrimp pie ($7.99) pan seared yellow tuna ($9.99), crabmeat wontons ($8.49), and nachos au gratin ($8.99).

When it’s time to order, start with one of Crescent City’s homemade soups, ranging from corn and crab bisque ($3.99/$5.99), gumbo ya-ya ($3.99/$4.99), seafood gumbo ($4.99/$6.99), or the soup of the day.

Just as delicious and filling are the restaurant’s salads. There’s warm grilled chicken salad filled with a variety of chopped fruits, vegetables, nuts, and cheese ($12.99), Creole fried chicken salad ($12.99), Mojo (sweet and tangy sauce) chicken ($13.99), the restaurant’s signature sensation salad ($4.49), and, my favorite, Cajun seafood pasta salad ($13.99). This tasty salad features fried shrimp and jalapenos served over chilled mixed pastas tossed with chopped vegetables and comeback dressing.

In the mood for a sandwich? Crescent City is famous for their Creole-inspired versions. The piece de resistance is the New Orleans sloppy roast poboy ($10.99) that include house-braised roast beef smothered with gravy and cheese and dressed to your liking. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Other favorites are shrimp poboy ($10.49), prime rib poboy ($13.99), Big Easy Burger ($11.49), and the Back Bay Beast ($13.99), filled with a combination of fried shrimp and roast beef.

More often than not, I choose The Swamp Thing ($11.99) when perusing the sandwich menu. It’s a massive poboy filled with fried shrimp, jalapenos, caramelized onions, and andouille sausage dressed with my favorite toppings, including seafood remoulade sauce.

If you love genuine Creole/Cajun food, you’ll want to head straight to the Bayou Favorites section of the menu. There, you’ll find selections very similar to those served at any New Orleans restaurant, including shrimp and grits ($14.99), shrimp etouffee ($13.99), shrimp Creole ($13.99), surf and turf and grits ($17.99), catfish Plaquemine ($16.99), and red bean and rice ($9.99).

Because I find it hard to choose between my favorite dishes, I usually order shrimp carnival ($20.99). That way, I get to sample generous portions of shrimp etouffee, shrimp Creole, and fried shrimp. A meal simply can’t get much better than that.

Additional entrees are almost as tempting and include crab cakes ($20.99) jumbo fried shrimp ($17.99), eggplant Orleans ($17.99), 12-ounce ribeye ($23.99), and prime rib ($24.99).

If you’re a pasta-lover, you’ve come to the right place. Large, creative dishes of homemade pasta can be yours when you choose Mardi Gras pasta ($14.99), blackened chicken fettuccini ($12.99), shrimp and lobster angel hair ($16.99), and, as mentioned, my favorite pasta jambalaya ($15.99).

The menu also includes a variety of chicken dishes like Zydeco chicken ($11.99) and Basin Street ($11.99) along with a selection of fresh fish prepared with a variety of seasonings and toppings.

If you haven’t visited Crescent City Grill, I can safely say it’s time to drop in or make the interstate detour when traveling near the Hub City to a restaurant that’ll make you wonder why you ever drove to New Orleans for a meal.

Crescent City Grill is located at 3810 Hardy Street in Hattiesburg. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

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