Galatoire's, The Quintessential

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris March 18, 2023 09:40 in Dining Diary

On the way into town to try out Miss Shirley’s, Tom mentioned that he wanted to go to Galatoire's. My feeling is that Tom has earned the right to go anywhere he darn well pleases, so Chinese was out and Galatoire’s was in. Besides, no one ever has to ask me twice to go to Galatoire’s.

It was mid-afternoon so the lunch crowd had died down. They squeezed us in and gave us a waiter I had seen before, which is not true of most of the servers there. But I don’t go to Galatoire’s enough to know who is who and who is gone.

After we sat, the kitchen sent out a combo plate of soufflé potatoes and fried eggplant. There was powdered sugar for the fried eggplant, but we don’t understand this, so both apps got dipped in the Bearnaise that came for the potatoes.

We ordered Oysters En Brochette for Tom and the Goute, which is the combo plate of Shrimp Remoulade and Crabmeat Maison. I hadn’t noticed this before, but it’s definitely the way to go. There is a triple combo that includes the oysters, but I didn’t notice that on the menu. It was rung up that way and I think we saved a few dollars.

I wanted the Trout Amandine because it’s the best version in town, but here was a good chance to try something different. The last time I did that at Galatoire’s I didn’t like what I got, but here I was doing it again. All the shrimp dishes sounded good when I read the descriptions, and then I remembered how often the stuffed eggplant dish has come up on the show. Unfortunately. I forgot that the people who had talked about it have completely different tastes than I.

I forgot to order the brabant potatoes but remedied that when the waiter passed by again.

The Oysters En Brochette at Galatoire’s is always great. Golden brown, crispy, greaseless, and wrapped in thick smoky bacon, this is a great New Orleans appetizer. We get it every time.

My personal favorite is the Goute, which I will forevermore order that way. It comes in large and small, and the large is very large. On this day, it being crawfish season, it included a substantial portion of crawfish tails and a red tomato! I wonder where they found it. (One of my most frequent screeds on The Food Show is the shocking dearth of red tomatoes in restaurants.)

This is always perfection, to me. It is the best version of the dish out there. The remoulade sauce is just piquant enough but doesn’t get you in the throat, the crabmeat delicately tossed in the ravigote with not too many capers (I finally found out there is such a thing), and the crawfish were just coated in a creamy light mayo dressing, allowing their boil flavors to shine through.

Tom's Amandine was consistent with all others he has gotten here. Fried perfectly with a generous napping of brown butter and slivered toasted almonds. This might be the great poster dish for what makes our food so sublimely special, yet simple. This was smaller than usual and only overshot the plate on both sides a little.

My eggplant dish was a huge disappointment. I don’t like eggplant, exempting a few circumstances. One is lightly fried, in this case meaning the eggplant is treated in a way to make it light in color inside and not at all chewy. The fried eggplant in this very restaurant was a good example, but others are Clancy’s and Di Martino’s. When eggplant is gray inside and chewy I find it inedible. I expected this dish to be a hollowed eggplant that was deep-fried with only a crabmeat and shrimp stuffing. Chewy gray bits of eggplant were everywhere throughout it, and removing them was a tedious process. It ruined the dish for me, which was otherwise a tasty seafood stuffing with a bit of a kick to it.

The brabant potatoes this day might have been the best I have had there. Crispy but also tender inside, they were covered with garlic butter so generously the aroma preceded it.

Tom wanted some coffee in a Grande Dame, which tends to be his kind of coffee, more well-made than I am able to do. They brought him a little cup custard to eat with it. There were strawberries and blueberries sprinkled atop it.

An oft-repeated story of Tom throughout our association was that he had a schtick whenever he went to Galatoire’s. He always declared it his birthday. This story suddenly made a lot more sense to me on this last visit. There were 6 birthdays there that day, and glasses were constantly clinked and the house good-naturedly sang Happy Birthday to the celebrant. Frankly, this became a little annoying, and I felt bad having that thought until I noticed two guys at an adjacent table voicing the same concerns. It’s obviously a “thing” like so many other “things” at Galatoire’s. I asked the waiter what the record of birthdays in one day was, and he told me 8. The manager told me 28!! 

The service at Galatoire’s also interests me. They tend to use the bus staff as waiter assistants in a more pronounced fashion than usual. Most of our service came from them. It might be that the waiter was busier with people who seemed like regulars whose checks would be much larger than ours. I definitely understand this, but it is noteworthy. We don’t usually dine in places like this, meaning old-line New Orleans restaurants. In our orbit on the north shore, we get absolutely equal attention to the much bigger spenders. In casual places that would be expected, but the nicer places like Tchefuncte’s and Pardo’s also have staff who dole out attention in equal measure. Interesting.