Its official name, Big Easy New Orleans Style Sandwiches, is a real mouthful, but that’s only fitting for an eatery that fills customers’ plates — and pleases their palates — so generously. In fact, one Dallas Morning News critic says, “The sandwiches are, in a word, GIGANTIC!” This cozy, casual little café has become known as one of the area’s most authentic New Orleans-style restaurants. When it opened in 1993 in Chisholm Plaza Shopping Center, in what was then the outskirts of Plano, Big Easy’s menu boasted mainly sandwiches. Over the years, as the location became one of the most bustling, centrally situated areas of town, the menu grew as well, so that today it’s a list of all the best flavors New Orleans has to offer. Owners Jim and Pattie Elrod used old family recipes, and brought the best of the south to Plano. The result is an authentic New Orleans experience that celebrates all the best of a region known for its creative, flavorful and even spicy cooking. Any nawlins-style restaurant worth its salt must offer outstanding po’ boys and muffaletta sandwiches. Big Easy has got them both covered. Their po’boy starts with a long loaf of crusty French bread, then seafood or meat is piled high inside. Seafood choices include shrimp, catfish, crawfish, blackened tilapia or oysters. Roast beef and gravy, baked ham, turkey or blackened chicken are available for meat lovers. The sandwich is available in 6-inch or 10-inch lengths to suit appetites from large to extra-large. Big Easy’s muffaletta, called “the best I’ve had” by a Dallas Morning News dining critic, is an authentic rendition of the New Orleans favorite. Served on a large, round Italian bun, it features ham, salami, provolone and Swiss cheese with an olive-artichoke salad. The choice accommodates all sizes of appetites as well, since it’s available in quarter, half or whole sizes. Big Easy also offers a wide selection of salads that include blackened chicken,shrimp,fried crawfish tails and grilled salmon. A new addition to the Big Easy’s repertoire is a Barbequed Oyster Po-Boy. Fried oysters tossed in a honey/hot sauce glaze and served on a toasted French bread with lettuce, tomatoes and blue cheese dressing. Big Easy doesn’t stop with sandwiches. Favorite entrée choices include Stuffed Shrimp Bienville, which features large jumbo shrimp stuffed with crab and topped with a Hollandaise-sherry sauce loaded with more shrimp and crab. Big Easy goes the crab cakes one better by offering Crawfish Cakes, served with a crawfish cream sauce. They are offered as an appetizer, a main entrée and also a crawfish burger. Another customer favorite is the Shrimp and Tasso Alfredo. This pasta dish features tasso, a lean, Cajun-smoked ham, sauteed with shrimp and served with a rich, creamy Alfredo sauce, served with fettuccini. For Seafood Food Lovers who possess a bottomless appetite, the Fried Seafood Combo Tray is a great choice. This platter includes large butterflied shrimp, catfish, oysters ,crawfish, French fries, cole slaw, and a cup of red beans and rice for $11.95. Authentic side dishes abound as well. Fried green tomatoes celebrate the southern specialty with thin, lightly breaded tomato slices fried golden and dusted with Parmesan cheese. Boudin Balls, a New Orleans classic, also are on the menu. Available as an appetizer, these hush puppy-style balls combine spicy sausage and rice that is lightly breaded and fried. One of New Orleans’s most famous exports may be gumbo. Big Easy offers an authentic re-creation that starts with a dark, Cajun-style roux and features chicken and andouille sausage, or seafood gumbo with plenty of shrimp, oysters and okra. For diners who haven’t reached their limit, Big Easy desserts should do the trick. House-made favorites include bread pudding, key lime or pecan pie, and peanut butter pie. Beignets and pralines are also made daily for two more classic Louisiana dessert favorites. Sunday brunch provides Big Easy with another opportunity to re-create an authentic dining experience. A special Creole brunch is offered from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. All entrees are cooked to order, including house favorites like the Shrimp Creole Omelet and Eggs Bienville. The egg dish features two poached eggs and ham served on a French croissant, topped with Shrimp Bienville sauce. Big Easy also serves its signature French toast, an original recipe that improves on the classic with a hint of Grand Marnier. In all, the extensive menu covers every French-Quarter category, all designed to delight the senses of New Orleans natives and casual diners alike.
Big Easy is located at 1915 N. Central Expressway, Suite 200, in Plano. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 972-424-5261.