Willie Mae’s got famous for fried chicken. The once-inconspicuous bar that started in the Treme neighborhood has become a destination for culinary pilgrims from New Orleans and beyond. It was a locally-loved gem before 2005, when a James Beard anointed it as an American classic. But then, hurricane Katrina virtually destroyed it. The reborn restaurant, located in the 6th Ward not far from the French Quarter, is bright-white, clean, and welcoming.
The chicken is worth a visit — moist and dark-meat-luscious inside an amber crust so fragile that it tends to flake into savory shards when you bite into it. The brittle pieces of crust melt into a flavor halo around the meat they enclose.
Fried-food frowners (who really should find someplace else to eat) can order a pork chop cooked without batter and hence crustless. It’s simply a good piece of pork that has been enthusiastically seasoned.