Very Brief Trip Report
We spent 6 days in NOLA recently. These were the very best dishes we had. We obviously focused our choices on seafood.
Note that because we had two large dogs with us at all times (they stayed in the truck while we ate), we really couldn't dine in the FQ or CBD since it would have been impossible to park nearby. Thus our range of restaurant choice didn't include any in those areas.
Crawfish Tasso Cheesecake -- Dick and Jenny's
Charbroiled Oysters -- Drago's (Metairie)
Shrimp and Tasso Henican -- Commander's Palace
Butternut Shrimp Bisque -- Brigsten's
Praline Bacon -- Elizabeth's
Apple Pie -- Steak Knife
Thin Sliced Catfish -- Middendorf's
Shrimp and Fried Green Tomato Po' Boy -- Mahony's
Greatest disappointments were Mosca's (overpriced and past its prime) and Cassamento's (not overpriced but past its prime, but still does a decent oyster stew). We also tried the local Vietnamese scene including Hoa Hong 9 and Dong Phuong, both well worth a trip. And the beignets at Morning Call are as good as ever, much preferred to Cafe du Monde IMO.
Hwy-90 W, Westwego, LA 70094
Commander's Palace Restaurant
1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
3454 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA
Steak Knife Restaurant
888 Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124
Hoa Hong 9
1100 Stephens St, Gretna, LA 70053
You hit a couple of my faves, Brigtsen's and Drago's. And we are of the same mind on Casamentos. I was not impressed at all... their signature Oyster Loaf was too much of the latter and not enough of the former.
4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118
While I agree that most of your choices make nice 'mouth music', I just don't get the thin sliced catfish. Was there last month, had the signature dish, and regard it as ho-hum. Your other selections all embrace and display the essesnces of their ingredients. Yes, it's comfort food and a cultural instititution, and I'm prepared to be beat about the head and ears for blasphemy, but it was a 'lost meal' for me.
re: Middendorf's I think I might know where you're coming from. The thin-sliced catfish is only partly about flavor. It's also about the crispy texture. If your focus is more on flavor then perhaps you'll feel it's not a remarkable dish---after all, catfish is pretty mild stuff. But to me the texture of those slices is just something special, and perhaps that is why those who really like it like it as they do. Just a guess.