In the present era of classically-trained chefs opening gourmet burger stands and casual eateries where the sausage is made in house from Mangalista pigs and the salad greens are grown on inner-city hydroponic farms, the neighborhood restaurant has fallen off the radar. In the immediate months after Katrina, the re-opening of the long-running family friendly eatery was met with fervor from those in search of a return to normalcy. But their popularity has waned to the point that most of those intent on surviving have been forced to embrace change and rejuvenation.
|Stuffed mushrooms from Katie's in Mid-City.|
But don't hold that against them.
Odds are good that your table will start with an order of chargrilled oysters, which were overcooked to major shrinkage on my first visit, but on the third they were near perfect - just barely heated underneath a buttery breadcrumb and parmesan topping. The crunchy onion rings of medium thickness are preferred over the fried eggplace sticks and french fries overly seasoned with Cajun spice. Chicken and andouille gumbo has a charcoal colored roux a good level of spice, but the best soup on my three visits was a special that had a rich and creamy base of brie cheese with crabmeat and roasted portabello mushrooms.
Every item on the gargantuan fried seafood platter had different batters, an attention to detail often not practiced. Crawfish were blonde and flavorless, shrimp were Saints gold, the small oysters a dark brown, and a huge filet of moist fish fell somewhere in the middle of the color wheel. The tartar and cocktails sauces were strange enough to remember, the former being very sweet with pickles and the latter tasting as if it was made with oyster liquor. The much touted CNN Blackberry and Jalapeno Ribs are tender from slow cooking (not smoking) and coated in a sticky sweet sauce. Pass.
|The Boudreaux Pizza.|
And you can taste the Boudreaux (and all of the pizzas) for $10 every Thursday, when Katie's packs them in for the weekly pizza special. The restaurant does not take reservations, so don't be surprised if you find yourself waiting in the small bar area or outside on the patio furniture where you can still here the cacophony from the dining room. It's the sound of the reliable neighborhood restaurant, and at Katie's it's as loud as ever.
Katie's - Par
3701 Iberville Street
Sun: 9am - 3pm; Mon-Wed: 11am - 3pm; Thur-Sat: 11am - 10pm
All photos by The Folk Singer.