Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 November 2012 10:20
New Orleans Food & Spirits
WHY IT'S NOTEWORTHY
The generic, forgettable name disguises a very good neighborhood seafood restaurant. Overloaded platters of fried oysters, shrimp, catfish, and soft-shell crabs are all prepared to order, crisp and hot. And they grill as well as they fry. The three locations have aspects of a neighborhood cafe, with poor boys, beans, gumbo, and specials.
WHY IT'S GOOD
The corny menu language makes one suspicious, but there's nothing fake. These people really know how to cook. The grilled and stuffed fish is also good. Some of the specialties are overwhelmed with thick, blanketing sauces, but even those are edible. Great daily specials, with the Thursday rabbit with white beans being one of the best dishes of its kind anywhere.
The restaurant is the successor to a little neighborhood place in Houma. The Bergeron family--which has enough members to run four restaurants (one of them is in Birmingham), opened the original West Bank NOF&S in the early 1990s, and instantly became a packed house. The Bucktown location came next, occupying the building where R&O used to be. The Covington branch appeared in 2004.
The Harvey restaurant is a pleasant but busy dining room in a suburban style. The Bucktown location of this three-unit seafood specialist is a big, somewhat crowded room whose windows gaze onto the levee. The lake is on the other side of that for postprandial walks. The Covington restaurant is the most scenic, suspended as it is above the Bogue Falaya River.
ESSENTIAL DISHES [»=Recommended]
Menus vary slightly from one location to another. Starters
»Raw and grilled oysters (Bucktown only).
»Crawfish corn soup
»Grilled yellowfin tuna steak
Grilled, smoked chicken breast
»Two pork chops, grilled or Hawaiian
Atlantic salmon, Hawaiian glaze.
»Fried catfish, shrimp, oyster or combo platter
»Redfish Pontchartrain (grilled or blackened, cream sauce with shrimp)
Crab-stuffed, grilled catfish, seafood cream sauce
Blackened chicken breast, angel hair pasta, seafood cream sauce)
Crab cake Pontchartrain
»Catfish Loozianne (with Creole crawfish stew or gumbo)
Angel hair pasta, garlic cream sauce, blackened shrimp, catfish or chicken
Swamp pasta (shrimp, creamy cheese sauce, angel hair)
Crawfish stew over rice
»Catfish Lafayette (fried or grilled, pasta with seafood cream sauce)
Stuffed eggplant, crabmeat, pasta with seafood cream sauce
»Blackened tuna, pasta with seafood cream sauce
Blackened ribeye steak, pasta
»Fried catfish, shrimp, or oyster poor boy
Grilled or blackened chicken breast on bun
»Red beans and rice, pork chop (MO)
Shrimp stew, fried shrimp (TU)
»Panneed chicken, pasta with red sauce (WE)
»»White beans with stewed rabbit, pork chop, or catfish (TH)
Fried eggplant with shrimp cream sauce (FR)
FOR BEST RESULTS
The portions are very large. Even a salad might push a meal into the Too Much zone if you have an entree. To get Thursday's rightly famous stewed rabbit and white beans, show up early. They always run out.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The coatings on the seafood taste and look exactly the same, giving a lack of contrast to the platter. Don't get too excited about complex, saucy dishes: they sound better than they really are. The menu, which hasn't changed in a long time, is due for renovation. The automatic tip policy in the West Bank NOF&S upsets some people.
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 +1
- Service +1
- Value +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine and Bar -1
- Hipness -1
- Local Color +1
- Courtyard or deck dining
- Good view
- Small private room
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations
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