If you make it here (by cab or car), you’ll reap the fringe benefit of checking out Freret Street, a booming restaurant street and one of the best post-Katrina success stories. This casual neighborhood spot had nothing to go on but an idea and original tile floors, and what a go they’ve made of it. It’s become one of our no-fail, go-to spots for unfussy lunches and dinners made with obvious care. We come for the always interesting drinks, often fashioned with house-made ingredients. We come for the graceful oyster fennel soup, and the upgraded Southern comfort foods, like a mound of fork-tender, slow-roast pork with sublime braised greens and addictive mac n’ cheese. But mostly we come for the plateful of fried awesome that is their catfish: crispy, light, piled high, and accompanied by tangy slaw and house-made tartar sauce (everything here save the Delta tamales is chef-made on-site, even the condiments). Then we get whatever oven-fresh pie is available, and the inane Grillswith—a grilled donut topped with melting ice cream—because it would be equally inane to skip it.