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Rebecca Charles on Bivalve Bliss: Galatoire's

Galatoire's Sara Essex Sky August 2010

Photo by Sara Essex

Open since 1905, Galatoire's is a grande dame of a restaurant.

The Locale: 209 Bourbon Street

The scene: Open since 1905, Galatoire’s is a grande dame of a restaurant—an elegant institution that features attentive old-school service, a menu that never changes and a famously boozy Friday lunch. “I found the perfect restaurant in Galatoire’s,” Charles says. “It’s beautiful, and there’s crabmeat in everything—I love that it’s their go-to add-on for just about every dish. The menu is simple, the crispy pompano is delicious and it’s the place for cooked oysters.” Galatoire’s only serves Louisiana oysters from the brackish waters of the Gulf Coast.
   
Oyster nirvana:
“Their oysters Rockefeller are much better than Antoine’s, which is the birthplace of the dish,” says Charles. At Galatoire’s, the spinach is sautéed with shallots, Herbsaint (an anise-flavored liqueur) and cream. Other don’t-miss dishes include perfectly fried oysters with Creole hollandaise and oysters en brochette (an oyster skewer wrapped in bacon, dipped in batter and deep fried).

The seersucker factor: “There are all these adorable regulars who go there every week, decked out in bowties and seersucker suits, and I think that whole concept is lost in modern-day restaurant business,” Charles says. “As a result, you miss that level of attentive service—people who know what you eat and drink so that your food is practically ordered before you sit down.”

Halfshell shout out:
Galatoire’s is the place for cooked oysters, but when it comes to raw oysters on the half shell, Charles says she loves Acme Oyster House (acmeoyster.com), where you can sit at the raw bar and watch the masters at work. “To have the experience of watching people shuck oysters who are so good at it, while you are sitting there enjoying them, is symbiotic bliss,” Charles says.

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