Barrow’s Catfish is one of the old classics of New Orleans that was lost for years after Hurricane Katrina. After a decade of urban recovery, it has been reborn. The old Barrow’s only served catfish lunches. The new Barrow’s has a complete menu of New Orleans seafood that includes cheesy chargrilled oysters and a typical assortment of fried Gulf seafood. An order of hot crawfish beignets keeps us sated as we wait for lunch.
If you’re hungry, an appetizer is worthwhile because the fish takes some time. If not, wait for the main event. Catfish lunches here are what made this place famous, and that is what you see on almost every table. A small portion is a half dozen long, thin fillets. As for sides, there’s a wide selection, but the only right choice is the traditional one, Barrow’s spicy potato salad. The combination of hot, crusty fish and cool spicy salad is beautiful.
This catfish has an armor of cornmeal. We’ve never had fried food quite like it. You can drown it in hot sauce, you can mash it with your fork; but the breading still insulates the fish. The beautiful golden crust not only stays resiliently crunchy through the meal, but it also conducts heat like lava rocks. The catfish stays hot until the last bite. This heat insulation is important if you’re taking your catfish to go, as many do. If you’re as impatiently hungry as we are, it stays too hot to consume comfortably until that last bite. A bite of Barrow’s Crawfish chased with potato salad is a timeless forkful in a city full brimming with culinary icons.