Dozen Best Crabmeat Dishes
We have hit the height of crabmeat season. The availability and quality will not get better, and the price is as low as we’re likely to see. These restaurants–none of them shy about using lots of this local delicacy–let out all the stops in midsummer to take advantage of the resource.
1. Restaurant August. CBD: 301 Tchoupitoulas. 504-299-9777. Crabmeat with gnocchi, a little butter and cream, and truffles of the season. Wow. A little of it is enough.
2. Mr. B’s Bistro. French Quarter: 201 Royal. 504-523-2078. The finest crab cake in town. Period.
3. Galatoire’s. French Quarter: 209 Bourbon. 504-525-2021. “The House Of Crabmeat” could be the motto under the name of the classic Creole-French seafood specialist. Crabmeat maison, crabmeat on top of fish, crabmeat salad, crabmeat au gratin, crabmeat Yvonne (brown butter, artichokes, mushrooms). . .it never ends.
4. Pelican Club. French Quarter: 615 Bienville. 504-523-1504. The seafood martini has nice lumps of crabmeat, big shrimp, and lobster. The price is an almost absurdly good value.
5. Clancy’s. Uptown: 6100 Annunciation. 504-895-1111. Clancy’s owner Brad Hollingsworth was a waiter at LeRuth’s, from which came the great idea to top a soft-shell crab with lump crabmeat and brown butter. Simple but wonderful. About ninety-nine percent crabmeat.
6. Cafe Giovanni. French Quarter: 117 Decatur. 504-529-2154. Crabmeat Siciliana salad is a good start, but with a little arm-twisting you can remind Chef Duke that he once served this with his seafood Caprese on top–with even more crabmeat.
7. Brennan’s. French Quarter: 417 Royal. 504-525-9711. Trout Nancy: pan-seared, lemon butter all around, and almost concealed from view by the pile of jumbo lump crabmeat on top.
8. La Thai Cuisine. Uptown: 4938 Prytania. 504-899-8886 . Merlin’s soft-shell crab is the namesake crustacean on the bottom, jumbo lump crabmeat on top, all squirted with Thai sweet heat. Outrageous, but marvelous.
9. Gallagher’s Grill. Covington: 509 S Tyler. 985-892-9992. Both the crab cake and the crabmeat ravigote–both appetizers, both available on a three-way combo starter for two–are finely engineered.
10. Patois. Uptown: 6078 Laurel. 504-895-9441. The lump crabmeat salad here is the best I’ve encountered anywhere. Not only is the crabmeat perfect, but the other elements–hearts of palm, lemon-verbena vinaigrette, Creole tomatoes–add even more class.
11. Atchafalaya. Uptown: 901 Louisiana Ave. 504-891-9626. Crabmeat remoulade atop fried green tomatoes. Warm-cool, crunchy-smooth, sharp-mellow.
12. Bon Ton Cafe. CBD: 401 Magazine. 504-524-3386. The apotheosis of crabmeat au gratin, made with very little cheese and lots of lump crabmeat.