If you should find yourself with an eggplant, you could do a lot worse than slice it up and fry it. From Sicilian to Cajun, lots of the world’s great food cultures have figured this out. My in-laws pan fry thick slices of eggplant and cover them in Cajun seasoning, and the results are delicious. But the crispy, sweet and spicy fried eggplant served up at Pita de’ Novo (8510 Youree Drive, Shreveport) may be the best I’ve ever had. Heavily battered and fried, drizzled with a garlic and cilantro sauce and served with a cup of roasted red pepper dip, this dish takes an innocent, healthy vegetable and introduces it to a life of crime. The final product could easily be something you’d find on a State Fair midway: crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and decadent fun to eat. A platter ($7.99) includes about six large eggplant discs; smaller servings are available as an appetizer ($3.99) and sandwich ($5.99).
Pita de Novo opened recently in a small storefront near LSU Shreveport. Atmosphere is extremely casual – food is served on paper plates. For the most part, the menu is what you’d expect to find at any number of Greek and Lebanese restaurants: gyros, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, spinach pies, etc. Gyro towers spin slowly on vertical roasters behind the counter. The gyro meat – a 20% lamb, 80% beef mix, according to the manager – is yummy as well, but it’ll be hard for me not to order a bunch of fried eggplant any time I visit. That way, at least, I can pretend that I’m eating healthy.