My wife and I have, for the most part, been ordering takeout rather than dining in restaurants because there is a pandemic and we have family at a higher risk of bad outcomes from exposure to the virus than most. Including, as my wife points out, me.

I have, however, had two meals in the last week or so about which I can report. The first was with my son, at the Dat Dog location on Freret Street. There’s really no better place to eat a hot dog than that patio, and while their menu is a bit abbreviated at the moment, I enjoyed the hell out of my Chicago-style and my son ate every bit of his crawfish etouffee dog.

Even more recently I had a meal at Sala,, in Lakeview. My wife does not like shrimp. She tells me that I “can have shrimp any time [I] want!” but she doesn’t mean it. It is a defect in her character, but she’s outstanding in all other areas so I let it slide.

But when I get to eat out and there are fried shrimp on the menu? That’s what I’m going to order and that’s what I had at Sala. Some people think it’s hard to mess up fried seafood, but those people have never actually fried seafood. Perfect fried shrimp are crispy on the exterior and piping hot and tender inside. That’s what I had at Sala.

They’ve also got a lot of outdoor seating, and after the cold weather we had last week it was nice to sit at a table with a breeze. Sala is fortunate in that they have a lot of space, too. They had a lot of room between tables before the pandemic, so if you’re looking to dine indoors, safely, you may want to give them a look.


On to takeout:

We live in Broadmoor, and our local sushi restaurant is Origami. Sushi is something that I’m willing to travel for, so the fact that I have been going back to Origami should be some indication about how I feel about the place. I do have to note that friends of mine have an ownership interest in the place. I was going there before and I’ve been since and I’ll be going back.

I write about places I like, and if I have a bad meal at a restaurant, I am not going to write a review unless I have another bad meal at that restaurant. And the thing is, that’s not likely to happen because I pay for the food I eat at restaurants.

So back to Origami: they’ve got the standards, of course, and they do those well. The fish is excellent, and they have a good hand on the seasonings where rolls are concerned. I tried at least one piece each of the California, avocado and snow crab rolls that my wife and daughter ordered and they were good. So was the yellowtail sushi.

The menu has a few things that are not standard around here, too, including grilled mackerel (served with lemon segments) and karaage, which is a beautiful take on fried chicken. The meat (mostly from the leg/thigh) is chopped into bite-sized pieces, on the bone, and marinated before being fried. When I’ve had it at Origami, they’ve nailed it. I would be very happy to eat that over rice with maybe one of their salads for an entire meal.

If you call for takeout, be sure to ask if they have specials, because I’ve had good luck in that department. Most recently I had tuna belly and flounder sushi, and both were spot on. I’m told they do a pickled wasabi on some of the specials these days, but I have not had a chance to try it yet.

I hope that you and yours are warm and happy, and that we all remain so.