New Orleans being what it is, this is time destined to be spent drinking.
Ms. Mae’s has been sitting, not so quietly, on Magazine Street since 1996, it’s ice cold, pitch dark and offers strong libations, loud rock and roll, and opinionated bartenders. In short; everything a traveler might want or need.
After a spirited hours-long debate with bartender Zack about the state of dining under the radar in the city, I decide to adjourn next door to Casamento’s for some sustenance to go with my libations.
As luck would have it, a local fisherman is queued up waiting as well with a big box of wriggling soft shell crabs he has just dipped out of Lake Pontchartrain.
Ten or so minutes after the scheduled opening time the doors are unlocked and the patrons are allowed inside the hallowed, tiled halls.
My waitress is an R. Crumb dream girl with giant, swaying hips and a friendly southern demeanor.
She’s hopelessly incompetent but with food this good I could not possibly care less.
I start with a brace of fresh, ice cold, Louisiana oysters on the half shell.
It quickly becomes apparent that the demise of fresh oysters has been greatly exaggerated as these are note perfect and enormous. I can’t imagine putting anything on them other than a squeeze of lemon but there are condiments available for the Philistines among us.
Casamento’s version of the classic po boy sandwich is a slightly different take in that they use bread from a Pullman style loaf. It’s dressed typically with mayo, lettuce and tomato and provides a nice shell for the freshly killed and fried in lard soft shell crab I was admiring mere minutes before.
Service is pitiful. Upon taking everyone’s orders, the lone waitress hauls herself to the back room and sits down with the Times Picayune-with her back to the room of eaters.
15 or so minutes later she walks back and deposits the check on the table ignoring my dry-as-dust sweet tea glass, she saunters back to her newspaper and plops down.
Unbelievably when she finally returns to take my payment:
“You need any change?”.
“Yeah, I’d love to tip you $16 dollars but I’m not a high roller”
It really speaks to the quality of Casamentos food that the service part of the meal, though ordeal-like, did nothing to sway my opinion.
This is one fine oyster house at the top of the fish game in New Orleans
4330 Magazine St
New Orleans, Louisiana 70115