Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Review by: Michael Stern
Question: If you had time for only one meal in New Orleans, where would you go?
Answer: To strangle the idiot who planned the trip. It would be criminal to come to New Orleans with time for only one meal. Few cities are blessed with so many extremely compelling eateries — plain and fancy, old-school and cutting edge, oyster bars, sandwich shops, taverns, cafeterias, humble shacks, and culinary palaces.
But there is a real answer to the single-meal dilemma, a restaurant unique to New Orleans and definitively Creole, where the cooking is canonical and the dining room is magic. That place is Galatoire’s, which has set gastronomic standards in the Crescent City since 1905. With its mirrored walls, bright lights and dark woodwork, white linen tablecloths and black-tie waiters, it presents a crystalline image of a bourgeois dining room from the turn of the 19th century: solid, dependable, with a bounteous larder of the highest quality. The staff is polite but never obsequious; and they are able to clearly and appealingly describe every item on the multipage menu without making the description a grocery list or trying too hard to sell it. Nor will these pros offer the ridiculous “good choice!” if you happen to select something of which they approve.
A surfeit of options makes the menu a decision-making challenge. Do you like crab meat? Have it au gratin, ravigote, Sardou, Saint-Pierre, maison, or Yvonne. Shrimp? That’s available Clemenceau, Creole, Marguery, au vin, etouffee, deep-fried, and the kitchen’s famous remoulade (which bears little resemblance to remoulades anywhere else). There are seven kinds of potato, nine different omelets and egg dishes, and a choice of soups that includes oyster-artichoke, Creole gumbo, and turtle. Galatoire’s is not particularly famous for its salads, but if you are passionate for garlic, the simply named “green salad with garlic” will knock your socks off. Its garlic punch is so huge that it verges on hurt.
We’ve sampled only a fraction of what Galatoire’s offers, and not once have we been disappointed. More often, we are inspired to rave that the plate before us holds what surely is the paradigm of whatever it’s supposed to be.
Meals begin with warm loaves of the fragile-skinned, fluffy bread the likes of which is found nowhere outside of southern Louisiana. And they can end with a fiery climax: café brulot for two, concocted in a big silver bowl and flamed tableside.
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|