The only dessert available that night was a doozy: a caramel bread pudding, gooey, soft, but not disgustingly sweet. No serious coffee, but Frankie buys from Café Moka and he’s promised to add some dark French roast for dinner customers.
I drank a couple of hurricanes at just $5 each, and they were terrific — strong, refreshing, not oversweet. Fred enjoyed a Chubasco, a tequila-based Mexican Hurricane usually made with grenadine, but Frankie substitutes hibiscus juice (aka jamaica or sorrel). Ben and Lynne drank good Merlots left from the official opening-night party a few days before, also $5 per glass.
“Lagniappe” is a Louisiana term meaning “a little something extra.” This is a concept that Frankie the Bull seems to have taken to heart; that spirit of generosity, the underlying idea that it’s more fun to give than to withhold, and it’s what you’ll find at Proud Mary’s. ■
Proud Mary’s Southern Bar and Grill
★★★ (Very Good)
Ramada Inn Conference Center, 5550 Kearny Mesa Road, Kearny Mesa, 858-278-0800, ext. 399; ramadasandiego.com
HOURS: Breakfast 6:00–10:00 a.m. daily; lunch 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Monday–Saturday; dinner 5:00–10:00 p.m. daily.
PRICES: Breakfast buffet $7; dinner starters, soups, salads $7–$10; po’ boys and burgers $10; entrées $13–$19; desserts $7. Tuesday special: appetizers $5.
CUISINE & BEVERAGES: Gulf Coast food with a strong Louisiana accent. Wine list brief, not quite coherent but adequate. Full bar with Louisiana beers (Abita, etc.), generous, tasty cocktails, including $5 Hurricanes daily.
PICK HITS: Gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, Memphis spare ribs, cornbread, bread pudding. Other possible bets: soft-shell crab, pecan-crusted grouper, blackened catfish, pulled-pork sandwich, crawfish boil when offered.
NEED TO KNOW: Huge portions, most starters sized as entrées. Call to learn when crawfish boil is on the menu. Sporadically crowded; reservations not required but advisable. Top Gun atmosphere, with military guys, Montgomery Field pilots, and the Nashville country music they love. To avoid short staircase down to dining room, enter on the other side of the building, by the pool tables. Vegetarians: fuhgeddaboudit.