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Galatoire's

209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA - (504) 525-2021
Posted By Michael Stern on 4/2/2009 6:49:00 AM
Question: If you had time for only one meal in New Orleans, where would you go?

Answer: To strangle whatever idiot planned the trip. It is ridiculous 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. The place, of course, 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 more than a little frustrating. Making a decision is sweet agony. Do you like crab meat? You can have it au gratin, ravigote, Sardou, Saint-Pierre, maison, or Yvonne. There's shrimp 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 omelettes 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. 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.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Shrimp Remoulade
Garlic Salad
Trout Amandine
Banana Bread Pudding
Crabmeat Ravigote
Gumbo (cup)
Hash Browns
Cup Custard
Crab Sardou
Souffle Potatoes
Soft-Shell Crabs
Bread
Pompano
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Crab Sardou: big hunks of sweet crab meat atop artichoke hearts with spinach under a blanket of hollandaise sauce. Supper gets no better than this!
"Crab Sardou: big hunks of sweet crab meat atop artichoke hearts with spinach under a blanket of hollandaise sauce. Supper gets no better than this!"
Michael Stern





Unlike so many remoulades that are more like shrimp ballasted by 1000 Islands dressing, this version is bright and light, its school of big, taut shrimp packing sharp pepper punch.
"Unlike so many remoulades that are more like shrimp ballasted by 1000 Islands dressing, this version is bright and light, its school of big, taut shrimp packing sharp pepper punch."
Michael Stern


It is hard to know where the trout ends and butter begins, this classic trout amandine is that rich. The crust melts when bitten; the almond slivers add a whole other dimension of luxury.
"It is hard to know where the trout ends and butter begins, this classic trout amandine is that rich. The crust melts when bitten; the almond slivers add a whole other dimension of luxury."
Michael Stern


Most other Creole restaurants' ravigote is mustardy. Galatoire's is ultra mild and overwhelmingly creamy.
"Most other Creole restaurants' ravigote is mustardy. Galatoire's is ultra mild and overwhelmingly creamy."
Michael Stern


Are these the world's most elegant hash brown potatoes? Crisp and vividly seasoned, they are hugely satisfying and yet curiously ethereal.
"Are these the world's most elegant hash brown potatoes? Crisp and vividly seasoned, they are hugely satisfying and yet curiously ethereal."
Michael Stern


Dark, aromatic, earthy and shot through with pepper, Galatoire's gumbo is a swell appetizer, even if it is not one of the top 5 gumbos in the city!
"Dark, aromatic, earthy and shot through with pepper, Galatoire's gumbo is a swell appetizer, even if it is not one of the top 5 gumbos in the city!"
Michael Stern


Oh, yeah! No one makes bread pudding better than the cooks of New Orleans, and this is a good example. Dense but not heavy and sweet but not cloyingly so, it comes draped with syrup that is so good you must strategize so as to have enough actual bread pudding to wipe the last drop of it off your plate.
"Oh, yeah! No one makes bread pudding better than the cooks of New Orleans, and this is a good example. Dense but not heavy and sweet but not cloyingly so, it comes draped with syrup that is so good you must strategize so as to have enough actual bread pudding to wipe the last drop of it off your plate."
Michael Stern


A perfectly fine cup custard -- cool, smooth, gentle-flavored -- but this is the one dish we had at Galatoire's that was only good, not earth-shaking.
"A perfectly fine cup custard -- cool, smooth, gentle-flavored -- but this is the one dish we had at Galatoire's that was only good, not earth-shaking."
Michael Stern


Regular customers ask for their regular waiters, some of whom have served generations of local families. But tourists are treated just fine, too. This picture was taken late in the afternoon; the big grandfather clock on the back wall was about to strike 5.
"Regular customers ask for their regular waiters, some of whom have served generations of local families. But tourists are treated just fine, too. This picture was taken late in the afternoon; the big grandfather clock on the back wall was about to strike 5."
Michael Stern


A pillar of the French-ancestored but uniquely Louisianian cuisine of New Orleans, Galatoire's opened in 1905 serving food made using recipes from owner Jean Galatoire's original home in a small village east of the Pyrenees.
"A pillar of the French-ancestored but uniquely Louisianian cuisine of New Orleans, Galatoire's opened in 1905 serving food made using recipes from owner Jean Galatoire's original home in a small village east of the Pyrenees."
Michael Stern


Beyond this glass door is a dining experience that instantly makes the noise and commotion of the Vieux Carre streets outside seem far, far away.
"Beyond this glass door is a dining experience that instantly makes the noise and commotion of the Vieux Carre streets outside seem far, far away."
Michael Stern


Crisp-crusted and feather-light, the bread that begins a meal is great plain or with butter and ideal for sopping up everything from gumbo to the last of your etouffee.
"Crisp-crusted and feather-light, the bread that begins a meal is great plain or with butter and ideal for sopping up everything from gumbo to the last of your etouffee."
Michael Stern


Pompano, with flesh as rich as cream, is adorned with pearly hunks of crab.
"Pompano, with flesh as rich as cream, is adorned with pearly hunks of crab."
Michael Stern


Really soft shells, easy to cut with the edge of a fork, sheathed in savory crust and heaped with shrimp and crab meat. God bless Galatoire's!
"Really soft shells, easy to cut with the edge of a fork, sheathed in savory crust and heaped with shrimp and crab meat. God bless Galatoire's!"
Michael Stern


I automatically like any restaurant that lists seven different styles of potato as potential side dishes. These are souffle potatoes, thrice-cooked so they puff up like spuddy sopaipillas, so fragile they feel almost weightless.
"I automatically like any restaurant that lists seven different styles of potato as potential side dishes. These are souffle potatoes, thrice-cooked so they puff up like spuddy sopaipillas, so fragile they feel almost weightless."
Michael Stern


Shrimp Remoulade, dressed in a sharp sauce that includes mustard and horseradish.
"Shrimp Remoulade, dressed in a sharp sauce that includes mustard and horseradish."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Fried oysters.  Bacon.  Butter.  Need we say more?
"Fried oysters. Bacon. Butter. Need we say more?"
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Do you want your fish prepared with almonds and butter?  Can't do any better than here at Galatoire's.  Choose your fish.  We selected drum.
"Do you want your fish prepared with almonds and butter? Can't do any better than here at Galatoire's. Choose your fish. We selected drum."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Maybe cauliflower au gratin was more creaminess than the meal called for.  But it WAS good.
"Maybe cauliflower au gratin was more creaminess than the meal called for. But it WAS good."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Galatoire's has a number of signature dishes, and well-seasoned Brabant Potatoes is one of them.
"Galatoire's has a number of signature dishes, and well-seasoned Brabant Potatoes is one of them."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


One of the lighter-textured bread puddings in town.
"One of the lighter-textured bread puddings in town."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle



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