by Ian McNulty
Edgar Caro made his name in New Orleans at his restaurant Baru Bistro & Tapas, where he serves dishes from his native Colombia. The food at his most recent venture, Basin Seafood & Spirits (3222 Magazine St., 504-473-8865), has a lot more to do with his adopted Louisiana home, and also with his partner in the new restaurant.
Caro recently opened Basin Seafood with Tommy Peters, a former fishing guide whose family has for years operated a fishing charter business from Venice, La. Caro was one of their clients, and Peters says he was always impressed by what the chef could do with the day’s catch once he got it dockside— or even before then.
“We caught a snapper one time and he made it into ceviche right there on the boat,” Peters recalls. “It was just four ingredients and it was the best ceviche I’d ever had. We’ve been friends ever since.”
At Basin Seafood, their short menu takes a straightforward but also more modern, often lighter approach to Louisiana seafood than the fried and boiled template, joining what’s turning into a promising trend around town. Yes, there’s a fried seafood platter, a shrimp po-boy and, while they’re in season, boiled crawfish. But then there’s whole grilled fish with a roasted jalapeno and herb sauce, seared snapper with grapefruit beurre blanc, a tuna tartare with watermelon and cucumber and a chunky smoked snapper dip to spoon onto grilled ciabatta. Dinner entrees are between $18 and $23, while lunch has more po-boys ($11-$14).
The seafood gumbo is served with potato salad, a country tradition not much seen around New Orleans. This kitchen’s crawfish bisque is done in an even less familiar style, with the bisque basically drizzled like a sauce over a half-dozen stuffed crawfish heads. Look out for specials like grilled snapper neck and stuffed flounder.
Basin Seafood took over the address that had been Rocky’s Gourmet Pizzeria until that long-running restaurant closed last year. It’s a casual spot with a small bar and a fishing camp décor of animal prints and bamboo screens. A rear patio has views into the boiling room (always fascinating for children).
The bar serves interesting cocktails (the Yucatan firecracker has tequila, grapefruit syrup and pickled jalapenos) and offers a short but smart wine list. Try the Gruner Veltliner for a great seafood pairing at a refreshingly appropriate $6 a glass.
Basin Seafood serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
Basin Seafood & Spirits
3222 Magazine St., (504) 302-7391