Blame it on the cocktails (and might I recommend a potent and creamy Brandy Milk Punch) or on the burst of relief upon getting in the door (there’s a no reservation policy but always a lengthy queue out front) … or maybe on notoriously naughty setting on Bourbon Street … whatever the case, Galatoire’s was one the most raucous and rowdy restaurants I’ve ever entered. It was also one of the most rarefied and refined. Maybe all the revelry was simply because folks were feeling understandably jubilant to be eating such great food in such an amazing establishment. I know I was over the moon to be there.
My most memorable meal of my 18 Eats, Friday lunch at Galatoire’s was as gleefully indulgent and indelibly delectable as a fine dining experience could be.
Despite its location on one of the most infamously touristy streets in the world, 90% or more of Galatoire’s clientele is usually comprised of locals. As probably has been the case on just about any Friday when Galatoire’s kitchen was in operation since opening in 1905, the place was packed to the rafters and buzzing with boozed-up excitement. Adding to the ambience, a brass band paraded into the dining room from the street. Most diners were enthused if not necessarily fazed with the boisterous and jaunty interruption, waving their cloth napkins in the air and jumping out of their seats to form a conga line behind the band. My waiter Charlie (who’s now documented as my first choice waiter for subsequent visits) and the rest of the staff floated without effort through the ruckus like fleet footed ghosts.
But I’m raving about everything except what’s most amazing: the food!
A cup of Seafood Okra Gumbo (Louisiana jumbo lump crabmeat, shrimp, oysters, shellfish stock, okra, light brown roux) rocked my palate mightily while preparing it for things even tastier to come. What followed was a main course of pompano broiled with a Crabmeat Yvonne garnish (Louisiana jumbo lump crabmeat, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, green onions and meunière sauce) that melted in my mouth with delicacy that’s near impossible to describe. A slice of Black Bottom Pecan Pie with whiskey caramel sauce and whipped cream confirmed I was as sated as sated could be.
Craving something similar? Get to Galatoire’s early to avoid disappointment (people have been known to camp overnight or pay someone to stand in line all morning for them).
Dress code is business casual for lunch. No shorts or T-shirts. Jackets are required for gentlemen starting at 5pm nightly and all day Sunday.
Galatoire’s is located at 209 Bourbon Street, 70130. Find out more at galatoires.com.
Save room for the next post! I’ll be back soon with more in my series about New Orleans in 18 Eats.