The restaurant boom that’s been so clear around New Orleans has extended to the Northshore too. Today we look at three new additions around Covington alone that have opened in the past few months and have brought new and different dining options between the old favorites.


Smoke BBQ

1005 N. Collins Blvd., Covington, 985-302-5307

This barbecue shop opened just off Hwy. 190 in the spring. It’s the second project from the folks behind Ox Lot 9, the upscale and highly ambitious modern Southern restaurant in downtown Covington. All the barbecue basics are covered, and the house sauces are particularly good. Try the spicy vinegar variety and the white barbecue sauce. Barbecue shop snacks, like fries with burnt ends (a addictive cut of brisket) and smoked wings are strong points. There's even a drive-through for take-out orders on the go.


Meribo

326 Lee Lane, Covington, 985-302-5533

While Del Porto has been the draw for upscale Italian food in downtown Covington, this newcomer takes a different approach. It's a casual, mid-range Italian eatery where a wood-burning oven is the cornerstone. This produces pizza and specialty dishes like a molten mozzarella with pesto and red sauce and crusty bread for dipping. There are Southern influences worked into the menu, like a pizza with pork shoulder and collard greens. Still, Meribo is focused on regional Italian standards. The raw beef carpaccio is a good starter with a glass of wine on a hot day. The regional beer selection is especially strong.


Bacobar

70437 Hwy 21, Covington, 985-893 2450

Each of the restaurants we’re counting down today offers something different from the others. Bacobar, meanwhile, is unique from anywhere else around. It's a cross- cultural fusion approach mixing Latin American and Asian flavors for a one-of-a-kind menu. Cheese fries loaded with pork and kimchi gives one example. A gumbo ramen mash-up is another, with a soft shell crab over shiitake mushrooms and sesame butter. The bacos make up much of the menu, and these are soft steamed buns filled with a mix of grilled meats and fried seafood. The atmosphere is fun and family friendly, and the bar even has a specialty in frozen drinks.