#18 Among The 33 Best Seafood Eateries
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
The two bedrock truths of the Galley are 1) you will have to plan, time, and maneuver in order to get a table without having to wait a long time and b) yes, the fried and boiled seafood really are that good. One item explains the other.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
One of the city’s best neighborhood-style seafood restaurants, the Galley cooks the way you wish all seafood houses did. Although they’re not 100 percent perfect on this, almost all the fried seafood comes right out of the fryer, light in texture and moister without missing crispness. If you hanker for boiled crabs and crawfish out of season, you might just find them here. I don’t know how they do that, but you can’t argue with the results.
Nothing about the menu at the Galley is unfamiliar. Even the signature soft-shell crab poor boy was around long before they made it a phenom. But they prepare everything so well that it seems up to date and refreshing. Boiled seafood is a real specialty. Most of that is served hot out of the pot, lusty in its seasoning and freshness. Fried seafood is crisp, hot, greaseless, and amply served. Good poor boys and daily specials finish out the menu. It’s a classic taste of New Orleans.
At the 1977 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Vicky and Dennis Patania sold fried soft-shell crab poor boys. Their lives would never be the same afterwards. The unique sandwich–with the legs and claws of the crab hanging out all around–became one of the top two or three food attractions at Jazz Fest. It still is. They sell so many of them that they have to start laying in a supply of crabs months ahead of time. In 1996, they opened the Galley as a full-time restaurant in Old Metairie. It too became so popular that the main issue for customers is when to go so they won’t have to wait too long.
A converted convenience store with far fewer tables than would-be customers. The kitchen is more or less in your face, the better to observe the fast movement of everything. A few more tables are set in a covered, outdoor seating area in front. It’s spartan and the service is minimal, but all that is standard for a neighborhood seafood joint.
FULL ONLINE MENU
Oysters on the half shell
Spinach crabmeat salad
Fried tomatoes, crabmeat, remoulade
Greek shrimp salad
Italian olive salad
Fried oyster, shrimp, catfish, crawfish tails, soft-shell crabs, or combo platters
Blackened or grilled redfish, shrimp and crabmeat
Soft-shell crab, crabmeat, pasta Alfredo
Fried crabcakes or panneed veal, crabmeat, pasta Alfredo
Red or white beans and rice, sausage and fried catfish
Panneed chicken or veal Parmesan, angel hair pasta
Shrimp and grits
Soft-shell crab poor boy
Fried catfish, shrimp, oysters, or combo poor boys
Roast beef poor boy
Grilled shrimp poor boy, olive salad, mozzarella cheese
Patton’s hot sausage poor boy
FOR BEST RESULTS
The restaurant is almost always mobbed, especially during Lent. Unless you go early for dinner or in the middle of the afternoon, you’ll have to wait for a table. There is almost nothing that can be done about this except to grab a beer and endure.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The service during busy times (which is almost all the time) can completely collapse. They don’t mean to, but the place is really too small to serve the crush of customers. And I don’t know what they can do about this, but in the weeks leading up to the Jazz Festival, they’re so involved with mounting that effort that the restaurant’s food is off a little.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Consistency +2
- Value +2
- Wine & Bar
- Local Color +1
- Sidewalk tables
- Open all afternoon
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations