Chances are you haven’t heard of Heads & Tails Seafood and Oyster Bar yet, but that’s about to change. The new eatery, which rocks some seriously delicious seafood and a raw bar, opened at the end of November in Harahan. It’s a new and rather unexpected neighborhood gem from Shelley Flick, co-owner of po’ boy hub Sammy’s Deli on Vets and a granddaughter of the founders of Bucktown landmark and roast beef po’ boy powerhouse R&O’s.
That alone should be reason enough to put this new spot on your radar— Sammy’s roast beef po’ boy variation is, in fact, on the menu here— but Flick has managed to take everything that’s great about her family’s popular concepts and build upon them, basically creating the quintessential contemporary neighborhood restaurant in an area (a few blocks from Elmwood’s shopping epicenter) that’s been in desperate need of some non-franchise-related eateries.
On the menu, there’s both casual and refined eats for lunch, brunch and dinner, along with a bar that’s both comfortable turning out beer and approachable cocktails. There are poker machines and a couple big screen televisions. The build out was completed by Flick’s family (and rather on-going with plans for a tin roof over the oyster bar and barn doors for the gambling room). Here you’ll find daily plate specials and loads of regulars. When Eater recently visited the restaurant, a nearby table was telling the server it was their third time in already, and the restaurant has only been open about two weeks.
It’s a refreshingly honest new spot in a year when New Orleans restaurant openings have covered everything from affogatos to lobster rolls.
“What I bring to the table is the fried stuff,” Flick jokes, but in truth, she’s had years of perfecting po’ boys and onion rings practically into an art form. She’s also hired executive chef Brandon Green, who brings 22 years of fine dining experience including stints at Nottoway Plantation, K-Paul’s, and Louisiana Bistro, to help expand and polish the menu with refined Cajun and Creole best hits.
Green has a knack for indulgent and familiar seafood dishes— a redfish Pontchartrain topped with jumbo lump crab and a creamy beurre blanc over mashed potatoes, and a creamy, roux-dark barbecue shrimp with smoked gouda grits are both showstoppers. It’s comfort food meant for the winter months, folks, and all of the entrees (except a stuffed flounder) hit under the $20 mark.
Green also has deep reverence for his Louisiana upbringing, which as most locals know, tends to pay off in the kitchen. He grew up on the Westbank, but his family hails from Donaldsonville. He learned to cook by watching his grandmother and also by participating in family boucheries, so you’ll also find menu items like a boudin stuffed pork chop and Eggplant Barbara (a dish that layers fried eggplant and sauteed seafood over creamy crawfish pasta), named for his grandmother.
The extensive menu also covers most essential New Orleans comfort foods as well— gumbo, chargrilled oysters, fried chicken, boiled seafood, prime steaks. But the Creole Queen appetizer, with fried oysters served over creamed spinach and topped with a brie cream sauce and bacon, is where you’ll want to start.
If you’re in the mood for a casual lunch or a laidback, yet refined seafood dinner, it’s hard to go wrong here. If you’re not in the mood for seafood at all, it’s still hard to go wrong here. Plus, Heads & Tails is also rocking a Sunday brunch with a signature bacon Bloody Mary and bottomless mimosas. Chef Green also plans to launch a chef’s table and tasting menu in the very near future.
Status: Officially open for lunch and dinner every Mon-Thurs 11 am. to 9 p.m. and Fri-Sat 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 1820 Dickory Avenue, Suite A in Harahan. Sunday brunch, 10 a.m to 3 p.m.(504) 533-9515. Official website here.
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