33BestSeafoodRests2015Square

#33

3 Fleur
EntreePrice-12
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Acme Oyster House

French Quarter: 724 Iberville. 504-522-5973. Map.
Metairie: 3000 Veterans Blvd, 504-309-4056. Map.
Covington: 1202 US 190 (Causeway Blvd), 985-246-6155. Map.
Casual.
AE DC DS MC V
Website

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
The least pretentious of the seven century-old New Orleans restaurants, the Acme acts its age in its signature activity. Their oysters have always been among the city’s best, both in the raw bivalves and the grilled oysters–the latter a recent borrowing from Drago’s. Most of the rest of the menu is standard New Orleans neighborhood eats, but in much of that the kitchen comes across as the small chain restaurant that it is, with less range in its offering, particularly the finfish.

Acme-GrilledOysters2

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
The original Acme Oyster House on Iberville has always been popular, but during the past decade it has become a must-visit eatery for visitors to New Orleans. It’s so busy that many local Acme fans have forsaken it for the other Acme locations–the best of which is the one in Covington. The place can become habit-forming. It serves all the New Orleans neighborhood-cafe classics, from gumbo and seafood platters to red beans and roast beef poor boys.

WHAT’S GOOD
Beyond the consistently excellent oysters (Acme is in deadly earnest about that part of its operation), all the seafood here is prepared to order and comes out hot and crisp. That’s a good start. Much–perhaps most–of the rest of the menu comes from a commissary, and is only warmed up and served on site. Despite that, most of those dishes are more than edible. (The red beans and gumbos are notable examples.) In recent times the Acme has expanded and modified its menu. This has made the place even better, without harming the culinary core. A very reliable place to eat.

Acme-WaitressAvailable

BACKSTORY
The Acme on Iberville Street is the Antoine’s of oyster bars, its history stretching back to 1910. Oyster bars were a recent import from New York City. Our estuaries produced first-class oysters in quantities so vast that oysters were (and still are) a delicacy that could be afforded by anybody here. When the current owners took over about twenty-five years ago, they turned a sleepy but very fine little cafe into a phenomenon, just by jazzing it up a little. The satellite locations came in the 1990s, and have lately begun opening well outside of New Orleans, with Acmes in Metairie, Covington, Baton Rouge and Sandestin.

DINING ROOM
All the locations are different, except for one common motif: neon signs everywhere, one proclaiming “Waitress Available Sometimes.” (There’s a joke in there somewhere.) The Iberville original is the roughest, most beat-up of the bunch (people love that about it; it’s widely believed that a restaurant can’t be real Nawlins without being funky.) The Metairie restaurant is a former Mexican cantina, not much renovated from that look. The most pleasant Acme is the Covington location, which has a separate room for the oyster bar and a clean, bustling environment in the television-surrounded main room.

Acme-RedBeans

BEST DISHES
Starters
Raw oysters on the half shell
Char-grilled oysters
Fried oysters remoulade
Wedge salad, blue cheese, bacon
Seafood gumbo
Chicken-andouille gumbo

Entrees
Red beans and rice, smoked sausage
Fried oyster, shrimp, fish, or combo platters
New Orleans hamburger steak
Grilled marinated shrimp, fish or chicken platter

Sandwiches
Peacemaker poor boy (fried oysters and shrimp)
Fried oyster, shrimp, crawfish or fish poor boy
Fried oyster, shrimp, crawfish or fish loaf
Hot or smoked sausage poor boy
Chuck roast beef poor boy

Desserts
Bread pudding, whiskey sauce
Chocolate caramel pie
Bananas Foster pie

FOR BEST RESULTS
Whether oysters are a main course or an appetizer, have them at the bar to get the biggest and best ones. Order twice as many of the grilled oysters as you think you’ll eat. If there’s a line in front on Iberville Street, go for oysters to the Bourbon House or the Red Fish Grill instead.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The catfish is Asian and the other finfish are of similarly secondary quality. The soft shell crabs are too inconsistent to order (where are those coming from, anyway?).

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment
  • Consistency +1
  • Service+1
  • Value +1
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar -1
  • Hipness
  • Local Color +2

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Good for business meetings
  • 8-25
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Historic
  • Oyster bar
  • Quick, good meal
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • No reservations

4 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Andy on February 18, 2015

    Why anyone would go to Acme on Iberville instead of Felix’s is beyond me. And in Covington, why Acme instead of Chimes is equally mysterious.

    TOM SEZ:
    I agree with you about Felix’s, but the Acme gets better oysters and grills them better than Chimes in my opinion. I find Chimes’s food on a downward trend in recent times.

    • brian on April 29, 2015

      my only beef with Acme is the Swai (Asian) fish. Who in New Orleans sells Asian fish in place of catfish? Makes no sense.

  2. Keith on February 18, 2015

    OK, I’m going to see if I can list the seven 100 year old + restaurants in New Orleans:

    Antoines
    Commander’s Palace
    Galatoires
    Tujagues
    Acme Oyster Bar
    Cafe du Monde
    Morning Call

    Is any of this correct?

    TOMMENT:
    All correct as far as you go. Here are all the 100-year-old New Orleans restaurants:
    Antoine’s 1840
    Tujague’s 1856
    Bon Ton 1878 at latest
    Commander’s Palace 1880
    Delmonico 1895
    Galatoire’s 1905
    Acme 1910
    Pascal’s Manale 1913

    I don’t count the coffee stands as restaurants, but both Morning Call and Cafe Du Monde go back to the 1860s-70s.

  3. Frank Speyerer on February 18, 2015

    Napoleon House Bar & Cafe has been family-operated since 1914.
    Pascal’s Manale Restaurant originally opened in 1913.
    Central Grocery Co., the quarter deli and store, dates back to 1906

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