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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. 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 insane Grillswith—a grilled donut topped with melting ice cream—because it would be equally insane to skip it.