new Things I Ate in Cambodia: casamentos: fried seafood perfection

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

casamentos: fried seafood perfection

4330 Magazine St.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70115

Oysters are everything in this town, and Casamento's happens to be an insution. Super clean and highly hygenic inside (it puts me in mind of an easy clean icebox), this restaurant nevertheless serves up highly evolved seafood. Staffed by a variety of New Orleans Characters (including, according to a friend of mine, a good looking pair of twins who insist they are not identical,) Casamento's is a damn fine place to have in the neighborhood.

The menu is classic and does not change with the times, although it may change with the seasons: raw oysters and fried seafood are your options, although gumbo, oyster stew, and an incongruous spaghetti and meatballs lurk on the menu as well. This is an old school place: it shuts down during the summer when the oysters ain't good. To reach the bathrooms, you must walk through the kitchen and past the deep friers to the back area, which is populated by a couple of friendly cats. That's the kind of place this is.

Of course you must begin with oysters: oysters are why Casamento's exists, sourcing fresh and saline-packed lil' beauties once the season begins to roll in. We plowed merrily through three dozen and I wanted more. They are extra delicious when consumed on a saltine cracker with tons of spicy as hell cocktail sauce.

These crab claws are just sublime. For some reason, they remind me of my dad's fried grouper, which fills me with warm fuzzy memories and also happens to be delicious. Casamento's has an amazingly light hand with the frier and these guys preserve their succulent, delicate sweetness.

Calamari was only okay here: good fry job but sad little squid bits. They need to use meatier rings and tentacle bits if they want to knock this out of the park.

A fine cup of gumbo: rich and seafood infused and containing plenty of okra and no goddamn sausage. Maybe I'm biased due to my upbringing but I just don't like sausage in my gumbo but I DO require okra. I also detected oysters which I deeply appreciated. Extra swell with lots of hot sauce. I mean lots.

I also tried some truly sublime fried shrimp - like eating lemony seafood flavored air lord have mercy - and some nice, lightly fried trout. Needless to say I am very pleased that I live within spitting distance of this place. Not literally.

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