Love seafood? Crave innovative cuisine? Seeking an upscale setting with a casual air? GW Fins is the place for you.
Opened in 2001, this relative newbie to the NOLA dining scene has been holding its own against the more historic and firmly established French Quarter competition. Indeed, at the time of this post’s publication (and for a long time before that as well), GW Fins was the top rated New Orleans restaurant on TripAdvisor. From what I got to taste of ’s fabulously fishy menu, it was easy to understand why the restaurant had made such a splash – and why it would deserve a mention in my series about New Orleans in 18 Eats.
Nelson’s “nose to tail” approach to cooking with fish and seafood resulted in an especially flavoursome meal. I loved how he takes classic comfort food dishes to give them a seafood twist. Instead of chicken wings, GW Fins serves fish collar “wings” (made from the clavicle behind the gills). They’re about the same size and with the same amount of meat as chicken wings, and you can eat one with your fingers like you would a drumette. Rather than pork or beef ribs, GW Fins has swordfish “ribs” (from the dorsal fin). And yep you eat them with your hands, and when done right, the tender, juicy meat can be pulled off the bone like with ribs. Want another example? How about fish tacos with a crispy shell made out of fish skins (not dissimilar in taste or texture to pork rinds).
More than novelty, these dishes demonstrate resourcefulness, respect for the product, and a commitment to reducing kitchen waste. If that helps to lure customers in then great! But the bottom line is that they are delicious.
If those sorts of dishes are a bit too edgy for you, don’t worry. There are plenty of more straightforward and traditional preparations of locally caught fish and seafood – and even some non-marine ingredients (the pork belly with watermelon and ginger slaw is notably yummy).
The wine list is a winner. Service is friendly with a touch of formality. The dining space if plush and inviting.
Reservations are recommended. Dress code is “dressy casual” and gentlemen are asked to wear a collared shirt.
GW Fins is located at 808 Bienville Street, 70112. Find out more at gwfins.com.
Save room for the next post! I’ll be back soon with more in my series about New Orleans in 18 Eats.