3701 Iberville St.
New Orleans, LA 70119
Napoleon's Ratings: ***/*****
The roast beef po-boy and the burgers remain solid choices, but for something different look to the specialty sandwiches - like one with fried oysters, bacon and cheese, or another with fried green tomatoes and shrimp remoulade. The Cuban sandwich is particularly good, as is a cochon de lait po-boy with very smoky, salty pork topped with slaw. Most of the entrees and pastas are pretty straightforward and by the book, though one of the most important new additions here also makes some of the best eating: pizza. A distinctive crust and a tangy cheese blend set them apart. There's a whole menu from straight-up cheese to crowded smorgasbords, like the Atchafalaya with shrimp, oysters, crawfish and crab cakes on top. That's a lot for any one pizza to carry, and I found myself picking some of this seafood off to eat like a side order. My favorite, though, is similarly over the top: the Boudreaux, with more of that smoky cochon de lait, roasted garlic cloves, spinach and garlic butter. Note that the pizzas come in just one size. With so much in the way of toppings on them that one pie is usually more than two people can reasonable finish anyway.
There are just a few desserts. Skip the predictable cheesecake and get the white chocolate bread pudding with pineapple, chocolate chips and whipped cream.
There's a full bar with local brews on tap and a serviceable wine list, about on par with a neighborhood joint. At brunch, "bottomless" Bloody Marys, mimosas or sangria are popular options.
Prices are in line with local standards, if maybe a hair higher than some recall paying for casual neighborhood eats. Specialty po-boys and burgers edge above $10, while the one-size specialty pizzas are in the mid-teens. Make sure you check the price on specials, as these can be up in the twenties. Two people should be able to eat here, with drinks, for about $50.
When restaurants started reopening after Katrina, regulars were usually curious to see if anything had changed, and in most cases they were likely hoping little had. Katie's took a different route, and in this case that's a good thing. While retaining the essential character of the New Orleans neighborhood joint, there are many more options and updates on the menu. Perhaps a little more focus would help refine the quality, but as it stands Katie's is a family restaurant with something for everyone and the ambiance that make places like this so beloved.