Escargots Bordelaise @ Antoine’s
Escargots’ reputation as a gourmet dish largely faded it in the last decade. It’s nearly impossible for restaurants to buy them fresh, so many chefs disdain them. But snails don’t really have a powerful flavor of their own. What makes the good ones great is the sauce. Among the best is the sauce in one of the two ways you can have escargots at Antoine’s. Under the name “escargots bourguignonne” they serve the standard version with garlic, parsley and butter, which are okay. But the Bordelaise version is better–and pure Antoine’s. A dark brown sauce with a good deal of garlic and sherry floats the snails in one of those six-pocket dishes that keep the sauce bubbling. Before it goes into the oven, it’s sprinkled with a blend of cheeses–just a little, not enough to form a solid layer. Odd, but innocuous. The flavor is spectacular, especially once you get the slugs out of the way and start in on a whole loaf of French bread with that marvelous, very Creole sauce.
All this said, it must be noted that snails are totally out of vogue these days, a victim of the imperative for chefs to by the best ingredients. Almost all snails found in restaurants came from a can.
Antoine’s. French Quarter: 713 St. Louis. 504-581-4422.
This is among the 500 best dishes in New Orleans area restaurants. Click here for a list of the other 499.