Dozen Best Baked Oysters On The Half Shell
We have a passion for baked oyster dishes in New Orleans. They went out of vogue in the 1990s but are back with a vengeance lately–and better than ever. All of these are baked on oyster shells, which leaves out a few great oyster dishes–notably oysters Mosca, the fried oyster appetizers on shells at Broussard’s, and others. But rules is rules.
1. Arnaud’s. French Quarter: 813 Bienville. 504-523-5433. Five different kinds of baked oysters, available all of a kind or one of each in a combination. The miracle here is that all of them are so good that deciding which is the best is impossible.
2. Drago’s. Metairie: 3232 N Arnoult Rd. 504-888-9254. CBD: 2 Poydras. 504-584-3911. Char-broiled oysters, astonishingly satisfying for something so simple. The most widely-copied dish in town these days.
3. Antoine’s. French Quarter: 713 St Louis. 504-581-4422. The inventor of this entire concept, starting with the original Rockefellers. Also great Bienvilles and the unusual and wrongly-named “thermidor,” with cocktail sauce and bacon.
4. Pascal’s Manale. Uptown: 1838 Napoleon Ave. 504-895-4877. Rockefeller and Bienvilles, both with a light, fluffy sauce in the old style.
5. Brennan’s. French Quarter: 417 Royal. 504-525-9711. I’m pretty sure that Brennan’s oyster dishes have their roots at Antoine’s, but no matter. Great Rockefellers and “casino” (just like Antoine’s “thermidors.”
6. Galatoire’s. French Quarter: 209 Bourbon. 504-525-2021. The best Rockefellers around.
7. Tommy’s Cuisine. Warehouse District: 746 Tchoupitoulas. 504-581-1103. Bienvilles, Rockefellers, and a house variety with tomatoes, herbs, pancetta and cheese. Always big oysters.
8. Pelican Club. French Quarter: 615 Bienville. 504-523-1504. Sizzling oysters on the shells with bacon, red peppers, Parmesan, and garlic butter.
9. Keith Young’s Steak House. Madisonville: 165 LA 21. 985-845-9940. Keith Young added oysters Bienville some months ago, using a superb recipe. Wonder where he got it?
10. Bourbon House. French Quarter: 144 Bourbon. 504-522-0111. The oyster bar at the Bourbon House supplies the bivalves, and the kitchen bakes them three ways. A 2-2-2 is a good start of a very large meal.
11. Grand Isle. Warehouse District: 575 Convention Center Blvd. 504-520-8530. The oyster bar is the strongest suit at this CBD seafood house. Their baked oysters are all original and good, and they used to make great Rockefellers and Bienvilles, too.
12. Red Maple. Gretna: 1036 Lafayette. 504-367-0935. High-class oysters from their own bar, and excellent Rockefeller and char-grilled oysters, too.