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New Spot is a True Hidden Treasure 

Pampy's (2005 N. Broad St., 949-7970) is located in a sort of no-man's-land between Mid-City and Gentilly. The relative newcomer might not be defined by a specific neighborhood, but you'll know you've arrived once you find it. Since its late June opening, the hubbub surrounding Pampy's has focused upon its high-profile political clientele. Owner Stanford P. Barre Jr. is a former New Orleans Police Department detective who worked in the administration of the late Mayor Dutch Morial, and has been referred to as the confidante of the current mayor -- Dutch's son, Marc Morial.

But you don't have to be a celebrity at Pampy's to eat like one. And although the comfortably stylish restaurant sometimes looks like an ad for urban leatherwear and cellular services, the man with the best taste at Pampy's is Chef Christopher Brown. He is an experienced hand with vegetable sides of still-crisp summer squash, thin green beans, firm portobello mushrooms and browned new potatoes. Fried seafood selections also impress, like the collection of juicy, pebble-coated oysters added to a Caesar salad and two flaky catfish fillets at lunch cloaked loosely with a pepper-speckled batter.

Housemade desserts will tame a noisy sweet tooth, but the kitchen's true talent is in frying, searing and seasoning fresh, Louisiana-favored savory ingredients. Try another cup of gumbo instead. And forget about naming the neighborhood or spotting the celebrity. Just get thee down Broad Street to eat. (G-4)

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