There’s a new seafood restaurant in downtown New Orleans with dishes that are a crab lover’s dream, and ones that feature whole fish and bring shrimp galore. But this isn’t a New Orleans or Louisiana seafood restaurant.
Good Catch Urban Thai Bistro, the latest from the local couple behind one of the city’s best new Thai restaurants. It’s Pomelo, the shoebox-sized Uptown restaurant at 4113 Magazine St. Good Catch is an order of magnitude Pomelo’s big brother, with 80 seats here compared to 18 Uptown. It also has a full bar (Pomelo remains BYOB).
It opened around New Year’s in the former home of Singha Thai, a downtown mainstay that closed in the fall after many years.
Start with the crab
The Good Catch menu meets some of the standards of Thai restaurants. You can create curry or stir-fry bowls ($14 to $24). But seafood is clearly the specialty. Chef Aom Srisuk delved into the seafood traditions of his native Thailand for the menu highlights.
To dive in, get the karee crab stir-fry ($29), which fills a platter of snowdrifts with chunks of meat in a decidedly spicy yellow curry. The natural sweetness and texture of the crab shines through throughout the curry, which radiates the heat of the chili, softened by the coconut milk.
The whole fish ($35), sea bass when I tried it, is generously paved with garlic and drizzled with lime. Use your fork to remove the fish pieces from the bones, then dip them into the sweet and sour sauce.
I had to ask for instructions on how to handle the Southern Yellow Crab Curry ($26). It arrives with distinct servings of rice noodles, sprouts, chopped cabbage, red onion, cucumber, and tangy pickled mustard green stems, all orbiting around a small bowl of crab meat with yellow curry.
Srisuk showed me how to accomplish this, by assembling a bit of each of the accompanying ingredients on another plate, then topping it with crab. It gives a contrast between the fresh, light crunch and the rich, creamy main ingredient.
It turns out that Srisuk has made many culinary introductions.
From Thailand to the city center
When she and her husband Frankie Weinberg opened Pomelo in 2021, it was a continuation of a restaurant story that began in Thailand.
Srisuk grew up in central Thailand in a family that had a long history of running restaurants. After university, she ran her own chain of restaurants in the city of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its historic temples. She later ran others in downtown Bangkok, including traditional Japanese and Thai restaurants.
She leveraged her family culinary background and restaurant experience to open Pomelo, and it became a downtown hot spot.
The restaurant industry has had a tough time in downtown New Orleans recently, with a series of closures.
Srisuk, however, is hopeful and banking on something different from the mix of downtown workers and nearby hotel guests.
The address has a history. Singha Thai lived there for nearly a decade before that restaurant closed last year (Singha itself had a longer history downtown, starting on the corner of Carondelet Street before moving in 2014 after a calamity: the neighboring Carondelet building collapsed the previous year, destroying its first location).
Srisuk also knows the place. She was a waitress at Singha Thai as her first job in the United States. When she learned her owners were closing their doors, she saw a new opportunity. It was a passing of the torch, she said.
Now this torch lights beautifully lit Thai seafood.
Good Catch Urban Thai Bistro
828 Gravier St., (504) 581-2205
Monday to Saturday. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.