#1 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes.

#1 Oysters Ooh-La-La @ La Provence This sounds like something the Chris Kerageorgiou–the late chef and founder of this classic North Shore restaurant–would have thought of. Not just the recipe, but the name, too. The dish is a total original by chef Eric Loos, joining the many baked oyster dishes restaurants serve. Here, the shell and its oyster are topped with a mixture of crab fat, Parmesan cheese, a little bit of bread crumbs, and seasoning. They come out bubbling–an effect Chef Chris always loved. Rich, but in a unique…

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#2 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes.

500BestSquare Until Katrina, one of the most famous fancy restaurant fish dishes in New Orleans was pompano en papillote. Fish cooked in a paper bag. It was fancy and terrible, at least the way Antoine’s was doing it. But Antoine’s wisely chose to let the dish die in the flood, and unless you ask for it in advance you won’t find it there any more. But it was the recipe, not the concept that was flawed, and a few other chefs have tried their hands in reviving the dish. The best of them is so good that it has become a signature dish at Borgne. Chef Brian Landry reworked the dish by removing the heavy, gloppy seafood sauce of old and replacing it with some savory vegetables and crabmeat. This keeps the fish flavor as the top note, and releases enough steam inside the bag (that’s the idea) to keep the fish moist. The exact species varies, of course, with the market. Read entire article.

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#4 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes.

#4: Oysters Giovanni @ Cafe Giovanni Chef Duke Locicero won a big cooking contest years ago with this dish, and it’s easy to see why. It starts out with money in the bank: fried oysters, crisp with cornmeal at the exterior, still bulging. A bunch of those are arrayed in a circle on a plate spread with a unique brown sauce. It tastes like nothing else I know: sweet, gingery, savory, a little peppery–hard to describe, but perfect with oysters. In that sauce three colorful fruit-flavored sauces get swirled in…

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#5 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes.

#5: Lobster Dumplings @ GW Fins These are a staple on GWFins appetizer list. In appearance they’re reminiscent of Chinese steamed dumplings, but in every other way they are much more elegant, stuffed with lobster and fish mousseline. A lobster butter sauce finishes it off. Sometimes this is the first course in a four-course lobster dinner that Fins runs in season. It’s almost always available otherwise. Most years Chef Tenney Flynn brings these great tidbits to the French Quarter Festival. GW Fins. French Quarter: 808 Bienville. 504-581-3467.

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#6 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes.

#6: Oysters Foch @ Antoine’s The sauce is where the main action is, although the rest of the dish is pretty good, too. It’s a variation on hollandaise, which will come as a surprise to those who like it, because it doesn’t resemble hollandaise at all. It’s so dark that it looks as if it’s made out of chocolate. The flavors of tomato, sherry, and pepper come through, too. There’s nothing like it in any New Orleans restaurant (or any other restaurant anywhere, to my knowledge). The sauce goes over…

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#7 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

#7: Seafood Martini @ Pelican Club This appetizer has lately stole my allegiance from the Pelican Club’s still-excellent scallops-and-artichokes arrangement. Big lumps of crabmeat, big shrimp, and chunks of lobster come together united by an herbal, piquant ravigote sauce. The martini aspect is only in the glass used to hold all this. It’s big enough that Chef Richard Hughes deemed it necessary to add some potato salad at the bottom, to prop up the main items. Pelican Club. French Quarter: 615 Bienville. 504-523-1504.

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#8 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes.

#8: Salt-Baked Crab @ Kim Son The dish, a Vietnamese specialty, is a misnomer. There’s more pepper than salt. And it’s not really baked, but stir-fried and finished briefly in the oven. It is, however, really made with crab–good lake blue crabs cut into quarters, cooked with a tremendous amount of garlic and pepper. It’s a major mess to eat–along the lines of boiled crabs. But once you start eating this, you’ll find it impossible to stop, particularly during the best months of crab season (early and late summer). Also…

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#9 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

#9: Crabmeat Sardou @ Tommy’s Cuisine The idea is simple and good. Remove the poached eggs from the classic breakfast dish eggs Sardou, and replace it with a pile of warm crabmeat. Everything else remains the same: the artichoke bottoms, the creamed spinach in them, and the hollandaise sauce over everything. All those flavors are great together, as long as there’s enough crabmeat to be the main ingredient. The dish was created at Galatoire’s a long time ago, but their long-time chef Prudence Milton is at Tommy’s now, and so…

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#10 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes.

#10: Crabmeat Cheesecake With Pecan Crust @ Palace Cafe This first time I encountered a savory cheesecake was at Commander’s Palace, during Emeril Lagasse’s chefdom. Interesting idea: you combine all the standard ingredients for a cheesecake except the sweet ones. Then add an interesting savory ingredient or two. In this case, those are crabmeat and wild mushrooms. Surprise! What sounded like a really stupid idea emerges as a brilliant new flavor ensemble. When the Palace CafĂ© opened, crabmeat cheesecake was one of the specials on the original menu. It quickly…

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#11 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes.

#11: Oysters Amandine @ Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar & Fish House After eighty-five years of serving simple but meticulously cooked seafood, the elderly owners of Bozo’s restaurant found the perfect person to carry the torch into the future. Ed McIntyre is not only an excellent operator of neighborhood cafes, but also a big fan of Bozo’s for his entire life. When he bought Bozo’s in 2013, he kept a lot of the old menu, but tripled it in size with a wealth of new dishes. The oysters amandine may be…

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#12 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes.

#12: Crawfish And Goat Cheese Crepes @ Muriel’s This appetizer (made with shrimp when crawfish are out of season, with no loss of goodness) first appeared on Muriel’s menu during the chefhood of Erik Veney. Two subsequent chefs made many changes to the food during their times, but the crawfish and goat cheese crepes remain inviolate, a classic dish for which it’s hard to imagine an improvement. The goat cheese is inside the crepes, softened by an admixture of cream cheese and sharpened with chives and shallots. The crawfish are…

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#13 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

#13: Scallops With Fennel And Orange Emulsion @ Rue 127 One of the lightest but also one of the best dishes from this small, brilliant bistro is a trio of enormous diver scallops, seared top and bottom and bulging with juiciness. The flavor of the sea releases itself in the first bite. It is further enhanced by the orange and fennel flavors. The presence of oyster mushrooms lends a meatiness that satisfies. As always, scallops are what you want to eat when you want to stick to seafood, yet enjoy…

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#14 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

500BestSquare Whoever came up with the idea of pairing beets with lump crabmeat was a) someone who could think counter-intuitively, because the last thing you’d think of doing with expensive crabmeat is to stain it with beet juice, and 2) a genius of taste. The two flavors are remarkable together. The most interesting version is put out as an appetizer at La Provence. Like everything else there, the beets come from a local farm, where they grow a few different heirloom varieties of beets. Not all are red. They look as good as they taste. Read entire article.

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#15 Of 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

#15: Fleur-De-Lis Shrimp @ Drago’s A dish of relatively recent vintage (inspired by a similar concoction from Bonefish Grill), these are good-size shrimp fried without a batter. They’re then tossed in a spicy aioli to coat them, and then in crushed, toasted peanuts, which stick to the aioli-covered shrimp. This is an irresistible combination of flavors, and a great nibble with a glass of wine or a cocktail. Beware having too many orders of these shrimp on the table. You won’t be able to stop eating them, and they can…

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#26 Cajun Bouillabaisse @ Jacques-Imo’s

#26 Cajun Bouillabaisse @ Jacques-Imo’s It’s not the most popular dish at the hyper-popular Jacques-Imo’s, but it is the best. Chef Jacques take a broad interpretation of the bouillabaisse concept, with shrimp, crabmeat, and crawfish in season. It’s topped by a chunk of blackened tuna, and there it is. Spicy and redolent with tomatoes and the Creole trinity, it’s a big bowl of pleasure for seafood lovers. Jacques-Imo’s. Riverbend: 8324 Oak. 504-861-0886. This is among the 500 best dishes in New Orleans area restaurants. Click here for a list of…

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#29 Barbecue Oysters @ Middendorf’s

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500BestSquare The name suggests something like Drago’s famous grilled oysters, but this is a dish unique to Middendorf’s. They’re baked on the shell, after being topped with a thick reddish-brown sauce whose flavor components are all but impossible to discern by flavor alone. It’s savory and aromatic like a steak sauce, peppery like barbecue sauce, and has a curious texture. If you get a half-dozen of these, you’ll wish you’d asked for another six. A decided sleeper on the menu of this great old catfish house in the marshes. Read entire

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Seafood Survey 2016: 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

#1 Oysters Ooh-La-La La ProvenceLacombe: 25020 US 190. 985-626-7662. This sounds like something the Chris Kerageorgiou–the late chef and founder of this classic North Shore restaurant–would have thought of. Not just the recipe, but the name, too. The dish is a total original by chef Eric Loos, joining the many baked oyster dishes restaurants serve. Here, the shell and its oyster are topped with a mixture of crab fat, Parmesan cheeese, a little bit of bread crumbs, and seasoning. They come out bubbling–an effect Chef Chris always loved. Rich, but…

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Seafood Countdown: #32. Lobster Empire @ Drago’s.

Every year during Lent, we survey the most distinctive part of the New Orleans menu: seafood. Our search is for the most creative, great seafood dishes on restaurants’ menus. All of these are not just good, but unique or nearly so. So don’t look for oysters Rockefeller, shrimp remoulade, or trout meuniere. It’s a countdown of thirty-three seafood dishes, one for each of the weekday in Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday. Lobster Empire @ Drago’s For my money, the only way you can find a better lobster than…

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