#9 Among The 33 Best Seafood Eateries
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Some of the best restaurants took the longest to return after the hurricane, and their customers were among the happiest to finally see them return. That was a mixture of longing the the past followed by a well-planned bolt into the future. No restaurant proved that theory better than Katie’s. Scott Craig and his partners made the resurrected Katie’s into the best neighborhood restaurant ever, expanding its former specialties to embrace even more than its big old menu had. The seafood side of this energy is especially impressive. Here is the best fried seafood platter in town, and that’s only the beginning of it.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
The Mid-City neighborhood has always boasted a larger population of old-style neighborhood restaurants than most other parts of town. Katie’s is one of the two or three best of these, with a menu that both recalls the eats of decades ago, and slips in enough innovative cooking to be cool. The scene is casual, busy, and very New Orleans.
Almost all the cooking is accomplished with better ingredients than the average at these prices, and to individual order. Fried seafood–the best part of the menu–comes out hot, crisp, and in large volumes. Daily specials are surprising in their ambitions; some work out better than others. Italian dishes are especially good; the lasagna is baked individually. The roast beef poor boy–an item by which a lot of people judge restaurants like this–started off mediocre but has been retooled into a very good example.
Katie’s opened in 1984 as a nostalgic recreation of the old-style corner cafe, which was endangered at the time. It combined Italian and poor-boy shop menus, and became busier than its owners wanted. They sold it in 1993 to Scot Craig, who added more range and intricacy to the menu, particularly among the specials. Things were rolling right long until the floods after Katrina did enough damage to close Katie’s for years. Scot Craig and new partner Katherine d’Aquin renovated the place and reopened in March 2010.
It’s the standard neighborhood cafe layout: a long, narrow room with a bar that seems too big just inside the corner door, and a semi-open kitchen in the back. Sixties music plays all the time. The service staff is unusually attentive for a corner cafe, better than it was in the old days.
FULL ONLINE MENU
Jenny’s garlic feta fries
Seafood beignet (filled with crawfish, crabmeat, shrimp, onions, three cheeses; jalapeno aioli
Crab cakes, jumbo lump crabmeat and remoulade sauce
Eggplant fries, marinara
Jay’s char-grilled oysters, garlic butter and parmesan cheese
Oysters Slessinger (grilled on the half-shell, bacon, spinach, Provel cheese, shrimp)
Seafood stuffed mushrooms
Fried green tomatoes, grilled shrimp, remoulade
Chicken & andouille gumbo
Mama Mary’s Italian salad
BLT wedge salad, bacon crumbles, blue cheese
The Barge (whole poor-boy loaf, fried shrimp, catfish, and oysters for four to eight people)
St. Louie (fried oysters, melted Provel cheese, bacon)
Fried shrimp, oyster, soft-shell crab or catfish poor boy
Katherine’s Cajun Cuban (smoked cochon de lait, grilled ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, pickles; French bread, buttered and pressed)
Gilberti’s beef and pork meatball, marinara and mozzarella
Crab cake poboy
Hot roast beef & gravy
The Legend (cochon de lait, barbecue shrimp)
Lasagna (ground chuck, four cheeses, marinata, baked to order)
Scottie’s blackberry & jalapeno barbecue baby back ribs
Slow cooked baby back ribs
Oz’s hamburger steak, tri-color bell peppers, grilled onions, brown gravy
Fried seafood platter (shrimp, crawfish, catfish, oysters; onion rings and fries)
Fried shrimp, oyster, soft-shell crab, catfish or combo platter
Veggie extravaganza (eggplant, artichoke, portabella mushrooms, onions, veggie of the day)
Stone-bed oven, thin crust, St. Louis Provel cheese, and all the usual toppings to order
The Yardbird (grilled chicken, caramelized onion, fresh tomatoes, feta, and garlic butter cream sauce)
The Boudreaux (cochon de lait, roasted garlic, fresh spinach, red onions, scallions, and garlic butter cream sauce)
Shrimp & artichoke
White chocolate bread pudding
Chocolate mousse cake
FOR BEST RESULTS
Fried seafood is the great specialty. The daily specials often include excellent works–but not always. Ask questions. Many nights of the week feature specials–steak on Thursday, for example.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
If they’re going to serve roast beef poor boys at all, it needs to be a lot better than this. I miss the fried chicken.
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 +1
- Consistency +2
- Value +2
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +2
- Sidewalk tables
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch
- Open all afternoon
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations