Deanie’s On Hayne
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
There was a time when the community of seafood houses along Hayne Boulevard in eastern New Orleans was rivaled only by West End Park. The Little Woods lakefront restaurants fried and boiled seafood very well and served it in large piles. It even had its own signature dish: the fried seafood boat, in which a loaf of bread contained about fried oysters, shrimp and fish for two people at least. The area is making a comeback in recent years, after bring wiped out by Katrina. Deanie’s is the oldest restaurant there, and probably the best.
Fried seafood is the mainstay here, in both platters and on poor boy sandwiches. But every day Deanie’s has terrific specials, some of which seem unlikely to be found in such a casual, off-main-streets place. That’s particularly true of Fridays–the only day of the week Deanie’s stays open past four in the afternoon. But on other days dishes like beef stew with noodles, the venison burger, and butterbeans with panneed pork chops are very welcome.
First important fact: this restaurant has never had a connection with Deanie’s in Bucktown or the French Quarter. Deanie’s on Hayne traces its history back to the mid-1960s in the Warehouse District. The place on Hayne opened in the 1970s, when the fishing camps along Hayne to Little Woods was just beginning to disappear. (Katrina finished that historic area off for good.)
The premises are spartan but clean and in good repair. At lunchtime, it’s almost always busy, and when the place fills to capacity with workers on short lunch breaks, the wait staff is sometimes a little over its head.
Crabmeat stuffed shrimp
Hot Buffalo wings
Sweet potato fries
Soup du jour
»Oyster Rockefeller soup (special)
Grilled shrimp or chicken salad
»Shrimp remoulade salad
Rib eye steak
»Fried oyster, shrimp, catfish or combination platter
Crabmeat au gratin
Stuffed crab platter
»Red beans, rice, sausage & salad
Chicken parmesan, pasta & salad
Hamburger steak, mashed potatoes
»Seafood boats (sweet bread, buttered & filled with fried shrimp, oysters, catfish or combination)
»Seafood platter for two (shrimp, oysters, catfish, stuffed crabs, stuffed oysters, stuffed shrimp, onion rings, fries
»Fried oyster, catfish, trout, stuffed crab or soft-shell crab
»Hot bread pudding with rum sauce
Daily special dessert
FOR BEST RESULTS
Check out the specials, even the ones that seem to have come from a different restaurant. These people really know how to cook.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
I wish they were open for dinner more often.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Consistency +2
- Value +3
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness -1
- Local Color +2
- Open Monday lunch
- Open all afternoon
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
No part of New Orleans is more bereft of interesting restaurants than the lakefront–particularly in the eastern half of the city. While some stirrings can be observed out that way, those of us who live or work out there have to make do with less than a tenth of the restaurants on, say, Magazine Street.
At this lazy time of year, I recall many long-ago seafood lunches and dinners in the restaurants along Hayne Boulevard. Katrina dealt a death blow to that community (it was already pretty far gone). But Deanie’s remains from the old times. Its food is even better and more ambitious than it has ever been.
And I’ve always thought it auspicious that the side streets around Deanie’s on Hayne are named Pompano, Drum, Flounder, Trout and Sheepshead.