New Orleans Magazine
Top 10 New Orleans favorites by Maria K. Wisdom
When asked by the editors of the magazine to come up with 10 of my
favorite dishes that are distinctly New Orleans, I thought to myself, that's a breeze. A handful immediately came to mind. But after further reflection, they all seemed so obvious that I knew I wouldn't be
telling you anything you didn't already know. But these dishes are totally New Orleans; they are the ones that define this city's unique cuisine. So this list may not enlighten you, but it serves as a good
reminder of why we are so lucky to live in this town.
1. Oyster loaf at Casamento's, 4330 Magazine St., 895-9761. Oysters are done the old-fashioned way here: They're dipped in corn flour and fried
in cast-iron skillets. There isn't a fryolator in sight. They come perfectly cooked, crispy but with a fresh, juicy wallop. I would lovingly describe them as delicate: the brittle batter is so
light it evaporates on the tongue. The bread plays a critical role in the loaf's excellence. Called pan bread, it's not the usual poorboy loaf but is more like sliced bread or Texas toast. The crumb is
tender enough to sop up large amounts of butter. And the surface is never brittle but is substantial enough to hold onto the oysters. The restaurant, decorated with tile everywhere you look, is like stepping
back into the '40s and adds to the pleasure of the experience.
Buttery pan bread and fried oysters are a dynamic dining duo at Casamento's.