T.C.'s Rib Crib
The Scene: It's not uncommon to see chefs Paul Bartolotta and Alex Stratta parked at cafeteria tables under fluorescent lights at T.C.'s Rib Crib, savoring the moist pulled pork, spare ribs, baby backs, and beef ribs with sides like spicy collards and fried okra. In a town with its share of barbecue pretenders, this is Southern barbecue at its most authentic, from a man who left Katrina-ruined Louisiana with family recipes in his pocket.
What to Order: Ask for sweet tea or Kool-Aid, and check the chalkboard for the glazed-doughnut bread pudding. We like to order one of the giant "Lots O' Meat" meal deals, which come with sides named after various uncles and cousins, and take it back to our hotel room—the fancier the better—for a night of in-room, sticky-fingered indulgence.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.