Jane & Michael Stern
The Adventurous Eater's Guide to Restaruants Serving America's Best Regional Specialties
Deep South Region
Casamento's 4330 Magazine, New Orleans, LA 504-895-9761
Tues-Sun 11:45 am-1:30 pm & 5:30 pm-9pm
Casamento's is a neighborhood oyster bar, far from the
French Quarter and the seedier aspects of New Orleans street life. It is a decidedly nice place--upright, clean, pleasant. Very old-fashioned: walls done in white and pale green Spanish tiles, a
timeworn oyster bar, and slickly tonsured oyster shuckers (the Casamento's) whose demeanor and appearance are an instant flash of 1940s nostalgia.
To watch them work is hypnotic. They stand behind the bar,
using a miniature pitchfork to pull oysters out of a cooler box to their left, then opening the shells fast--not too fast, though--just fast enough to keep up with the oyster eaters at the bar and orders from the
tables. They assemble dozens with supreme artistry--each broad icy white plate is a knockout, crowned with a dozen shimmering silver-gray Louisiana oysters. Breathtaking oysters they are, small gusts of edible
ocean air. Mix your own sauce from a selection of vinegar peppers, hot sauces, horseradish, etc.
Beyond oysters, the menu is a short one: Italian spaghetti served with either meatballs or daube
(Creole roast), fried shrimp, tenderloined trout, fried soft-shell crabs in season.
Casamento's makes the best oyster load in New Orleans. Fresh-shucked oysters are fried, then stuffed into a loaf of
pan-bread--actually a whole loaf of unsliced white bread, cut lengthwise and toasted, with a smooth buttery flavor that complements the salty golden oysters: a formidable sandwich, enough for two.
the nonchalance of Casamento's lull you into thinking it is anything but a great and rare restaurant, one of the city's jewels..