For sports fans who also like great food, Lagasse’s Stadium, tucked away below the main level of The Palazzo, is a gem worth the search. The “Stadium” name comes from the stadium seating in the center of the large sports bar-styled restaurant. Huge screens line a wall as patrons kick back in spacious, comfy chairs. There are so many televisions going at once, it is almost impossible to miss a game. There are also plenty of other places to sit, all with optimum views of sporting events.

Of course, none of this would matter much if the food didn’t hold up to the ambience. But not surprisingly, as with all Lagasse restaurants, the cuisine from the mind of celebrity chef Emeril hits the spot. The kitchen general here is Scott Pajak, a Chopped champion, who puts out great comfort food on a daily basis—including specials each Monday and Thursday of the NFL season based on the cities where the teams playing that week’s game are based.

Start with creamy spinach and artichoke dip with its crispy top and all that gooey goodness sitting underneath. For those who want a more traditional game day starter, dig into the Stadium nachos with a bevy of melted cheeses including a poblano-infused cheddar cheese sauce. The toppings include nacho standards black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream and jalapeños. Want to go bigger? Add some green chili pork or surf’n’turf.

Pajak has proven time and again that he is able to take something trendy and build a better version. For example, his lobster grilled cheese is as good as any in Las Vegas. Sautéed lobster gets some velvety love from a mixture of fontina and boursin cheese, and all of that sits on sturdy, crunchy Texas toast.

Lagasse's Stadium

Stadium cheese nachos View Gallery

For more evidence of this, check out the excellent Emeril’s buttermilk fried chicken, which is the Stadium’s version of chicken and waffles. The fowl is perfectly fried with crispy, flavorful skin and juicy meat. The jalapeño cornbread waffle it sits upon packs its own taste bombs. Vanilla honey butter and Crystal Hot Sauce syrup make the whole thing sing.

As with all Emeril eateries, it is almost required to try at least one of his classics. The shrimp and andouille sausage etouffee represents his history in New Orleans well. A pile of rice sits in the middle of the dish and is surrounded by the gravy-like stew full of shrimp and sausage. The dish utilizes specific braising techniques to get such richness.

Desserts maintain the high standard set by the savory courses. Emeril’s banana cream pie is an iteration of this famous pie found in most of Emeril’s restaurants. New Orleans bread & butter pudding is homey and soothing, topped with whiskey crème anglaise and whipped cream. And in true "Bam!" Emeril style, take your shake and cookies (or root beer float) to the next level with a shot.

There are vast beer and wine options, but why not watch big dudes tackle each other while sipping on a peach Bellini, featuring Cîroc Peach, champagne and orange juice, or a delightful raspberry lemon drop, with its sweet mix of Stoli Razberi, simple syrup, sour mix, fresh raspberries and a sugar rim?

No matter how big of a sports fan one is, this Stadium is worth the price of admission.

The Palazzo, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat.-Sun. 702.607.2665