Cafe

Only one of our two visits left us with room for dessert, and luckily we chose to split it on that occasion; the homemade bread pudding ($3) — flavored with peach, raisins and the gentle orange essence of a Grand Marnier sauce — once again illustrated Lagniappe's penchant for giant portions.

The wine list is short and cheap (under $15) and features several oddities, including an Austrian red. Service is pretty folksy: Brenda told us stories while taking our order, and Bill came out to visit at least twice both times we were there. The second time, we had a new kid who seemed to be on his first night out, and he did just fine as far as staging and promptness, although the Davids might want to spend a little more time briefing him and other new employees on preparations and ingredients. He simply ran back and forth to the kitchen when we asked questions he couldn't answer, but when the place starts to get busy, the gaps will become more noticeable.

Right now the place is officially open only until 10 p.m., but Bill says he is hoping to start keeping later hours on weekend nights if the market demands it. And well it should, because Lagniappe's is a lovable little restaurant, with an incredibly hard-working couple serving up good value and just enough surprises to please both simple eaters and more adventurous diners. Take your cheri or cherie, and let the nice folks do a little something extra for you.

LAGNIAPPE'S, 2501 S. Ninth (at Victor), Soulard, 771-2090, www.soulardlagniappe.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Entrees: $8.95-$16.95

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