Everyone goes with the fried oyster po’ boy (called an oyster loaf) at Casamento’s and the fact of the matter is, they’re right. But sometimes you just have to branch out a little and when that time comes, here’s your Plan B: Catfish loaf.

Casamento’s is an immaculate little hole in the wall. Tiled, tiny and bright, it gives you the feeling it’s been stuck in time since the year it opened (1919 to be precise).

What really makes the catfish loaf, or any of their po’ boys for that matter, is their signature "pan bread," a spongy, moist white bread that golds up just a little in the pan. We asked the owner C.J. Casamento exactly what makes the bread unique and he explained that his grandfather didn’t want to waste all his profits on french bread going stale. Instead, he had the bakery make solid, uncut loaves of white bread that they could halve and quarter only when the needed to make a sandwich.

This ingenious solution perfectly embraces the imperfect contours of its contents. There were two catfish fillets, small, tender and with a smooth, warm water-bottom feeder flavor beneath the breading. Topped with classic dressing, shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato, and mayo, the catfish loaf came with a lemon wedge and pickle on the side. The unique bread makes the sandwich truly great. I did, of course, order a half dozen oysters to go with it.

Catfish Loaf ($12.40)
Casamento's Restaurant
4330 Magazine St
New Orleans