Dozen Best Seafood-Stuffed Dishes
We enjoy such a large supply of seafood here in New Orleans that we’re always looking for ways to use it. It’s inevitable that seafood would become a stuffing, for a few reasons:
a) It tastes good
2) After filleting a fish or picking a crab, a lot of little pieces are left over, perfect for stuffing
iii) It transforms certain vegetables into seafood dishes
Here is a list of what I think are the best dishes stuffed with seafood in our restaurants. Certain items–stuffed crabs and shrimp, stuffed mushrooms and eggplant, most notably–are so widely served that we could probably work up a top-dozen list for each of them without hitting mediocrity. So there are some great stuffed crabs or eggplant that were edged off this list by even better versions. What a great place to live, right?
1. Fausto’s. Metairie: 530 Veterans Blvd. 504-833-7121. Fausto’s stuffed mushrooms are not only the most delicious I’ve ever encountered, but they come close to winning the size contest, too. Napped with a little lemon butter, the appetizer is enough for two.
2. Galatoire’s. French Quarter: 209 Bourbon. 504-525-2021. The stuffed eggplant here is made by floating lump crabmeat, shrimp and mushrooms in a seafoody bechamel sauce, along with enough spices and herbs to created a very big flavor. The idea has spread to some other restaurants, notably those of Frank Brigtsen.
3. Dakota. Covington: 629 N US 190 . 985-892-3712. How do you stuff a soft-shell crab? By jamming a crab stuffing into the cavity where the gills were, and stuffing so much more that the thing almost looks like a ball with legs.
4. Fury’s. Metairie: 724 Martin Behrman Ave. 504-834-5646. Fury’s is the one of very few restaurants serving whole stuffed flounder they way they used to in West End Park before Katrina. Warning: it’s not on the menu if fresh flounder are unobtainable.
5. Drago’s. CBD: 2 Poydras. 504-584-3911. Drago’s makes a good stuffed soft-shell crab. But even better are two lobster dishes with different stuffings of crabmeat and shrimp in the head cavity. Lobster Marco is the better, with a shrimp-and-mushroom, cream sauce.
6. Atchafalaya. Uptown: 901 Louisiana Ave. 504-891-9626. Crawfish-stuffed flounder is made with fillets, not the whole fish. But never mind: the stuffing is elegant and smooth, and the saucy part of it buttery and herbal.
7. Peppermill. Metairie: 3524 Severn Ave. 504-455-2266. Since Maryland crab cakes took over all over town, the traditional stuffed crabs have all but disappeared. These are the best around: a bread stuffing studded with jumbo lump crabmeat, all in the little metal shell.
8. Gallagher’s Grill. Covington: 509 S Tyler. 985-892-9992. Stuffed shrimp with chimichurri sauce is a unique new dish at Pat Gallagher’s exciting Covington restaurant. They sizzle.
9. Maple Street Cafe. Riverbend: 7623 Maple. 504-314-9003. Shrimp stuffed with crabmeat, wrapped in phyllo, then baked. The stuffing itself is crabby to the point of elegance. A little lemon butter finishes off a great appetizer or light entree.
10. Charlie’s Seafood. Harahan: 8311 Jefferson Hwy. 504-737-3700. Seafood stuffed eggplant is the Friday special at this old Harahan seafood house. It’s also the most popular special of the week. It’s made in much the same way that the stuffed eggplant at Galatoire’s is.
11. Vera’s. Slidell: 2020 Gause Blvd W. 985-690-9814 . Crawfish stuffed mushrooms with garlic butter are a superb appetizer in crawfish season, which is just starting now. They also stuff a fine whole flounder here.
12. Lakehouse. Mandeville: 2025 Lakeshore Dr. 985-626-3006. Shrimp Lafourche are enormous shrimp stuffed with crabmeat, then topped with a crawfish sauce that proves to be lighter than you think. A great appetizer while you watch the sun go down over the lake.