High Hat Cafe = Critics’ Choice

Critics’ choice: Country cooking’s latest evolution

High Hat Cafe in New Orleans

posted on February 2, 2012, at 9:37 AM

High Hat Cafe New Orleans
In New Orleans, fried catfish is “almost as readily available as a pack of gum,” said Brett Anderson in the Times-Picayune. But High Hat is the kind of place that could inspire diners to make fried catfish part of their dream diet. Chef Adolfo Garcia prepares simple New Orleans classics with “uncommon care”: His hush puppies and hand-cut fries are far from mere filler, and the catfish is “sheathed in cornmeal crust so thin you can discern the ridges of the sweet-fleshed fillets.” But the influences of his hometown, Memphis, are what really distinguish this neighborhood place. He melts pimento cheese on a burger that now ranks as one of the best in town, for instance, and he serves his plump Delta tamales with a side of drippings from the pulled-pork stuffing, “like a French dip gone to Veracruz, Mexico.” Everything’s made with the best ingredients. You start to wonder why all coleslaws aren’t as cabbagey as the High Hat’s and all collards as crisp and juicy. Yet there’s nothing precious about a meal here. This is “a new restaurant with an old soul.” 4500 Freret St., (504) 754-1336