While personal preferences for "best" raw 'sters are not to be minimized, my gullet suggests that the finest distinctions are largely subjective and there're lots of top-shelf available (as long as they're from Plaquemine Parish....). A Jazz Fest week of 'sters took this shape:
Wed. Off the plane and to Harbor on Williams in Kenner for a quick doz. to welcome oneself. (is it Dave Feldman I have to thank for this? a post from several years back?). Plan w/ partner that Drago's would be next. Harbor's raw were top-drawer; the b-b-q'd @ Drago's are singular: the texture, garlic/herb mixture and S-M-O-K-E flavor are IT. (have to try Zeke's another trip)
T. Uglesich for brunch (10:50 arr. time ='d outside table on a lovely morn.) Yes, their raw are clearly primo, too - yet it's the FRIED ones that're exceptional; cornmeal+ coating provides a perfectly-yielding "tooth" that is unmatched, followed by the sauce with its sweet/hot/tart. (I lak'd 'em real good)
Bozo's raws (dinner) also top-flight. I've never found their gumbo lacking in any respect (lotsa chunks of all the good stuff) and the corn-coating on the frieds is quite crisp (less toothsome that Uglesich, and no trick drizzle).
F. Umpteen great 'ster dishes @ Fest: "b-b-q'd"
on spinach w/ bleu ch. dressing (on F,S,& Sn ) are an annual must-eat, plus MANY of the others. Vazquez late -no raws, their bug boil has plenty of good zing,(btw, the bugs seemed huge at every place we had 'em...planetary gathering? global warming? sign of the end times? good news either way) and the price/portions are right.
S. Lots more @ Fest: ('ster/artichoke soup, pattie, Rockefeller bisque...) and late @ Deanie's in Bucktown. Raws @ the bar were (you right) top-of-the-Mark, and they DO do onion rings right (eat fast while they're hot)
Sn. "Early" b'fast @ We Never Close (except when they do..) on the Chef /(Read/Reed?) crossing 3-5 mi. E. of 10 overpass. They "never close" F and S; Sn-Th they close @ 2 am (the next day). Fried po' boy had the heft to soak up toxins and it was REAL crunchy. More good dishes @ Fest; boudin of all kinds, 'sters, fried green, crab stuffed shrimp, fried eggplant w/ shrimp and tasso sce., etc. "Early" bed occasioned by Ozomatli show that led to early b'fast (above). Others had Mandina's lovely eggplant/ham/shrimp melange (which is still great next morning).
M. Jacques Leonardi's Crabby Jack's (Jefferson Hwy. in Jefferson) is hyper-caual (some clothing probably preferred), the prep. is spot-on, the butcher paper and styro. boxes just right. Fish tacos w/ 2 sides & blackened fish w/ artichokes, 'shrooms and veg
were great and others reported that seafood pasta was both creamy and zestful. Jacques is a top-dog. Raws @ Pascal's held their own in a field of champs, and the speckled trout entree pleased eyes and mouth.
T. Brunch a Cooter Brown's to introduce some friends to NOLA - and (surprise!) another favorable review of raws (last of the wk.) They even make other
foods for people who'd rather not eat 'sters (?!) Picked up a 1/2 muff. & fried po' boy for the flight and lived happily ever after. Thanks for the chance to re-live it. Eat well, every day.