#10 Among The 33 Best Seafood Eateries
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
New Orleans differs from most other great restaurant cities in that its menus are dominated by seafood. Even in grand old restaurants in which beef and lamb are prime, it’s the allure of the fish and shellfish that sets them apart. Part of this can be explained by the difficulty of buying good seafood. Although that’s easier here than in most places, it still requires spending lots of time on the phone tracking down the good stuff. No chef has a standing order for red snapper or pompano that they can count on. They must track it down.
With a long history of great food and service and a chef who came from Galatoire’s, Tommy’s seafood side is very strong. You could eat here ten times without ever leaving the fish, oysters, shrimp, crawfish, soft-shells, and especially the crabmeat.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
After decades of managing classy local dining rooms, Tommy Andrade became a culinary entrepreneur. His experience in the front of the house and his staff of veteran chefs and servers make his flagship restaurant (he’s involved in two others) as popular as any other restaurant in town–including his neighbor Emeril’s. More interested in making people happy than in showing how his kitchen can jump through hoops, Tommy and company relax on the traditional Creole-French-Italian side. You’ve seen this food before, but you’re very glad to see it again–especially given the goodness of the ingredients.
The combination of classic Creole and Creole-Italian dishes is immensely enjoyable. It’s lusty eating, with fresh fish, jumbo lump crabmeat, beautiful shrimp, and several species of fish daily with familiar presentations. Also here are first-class steak, veal and duck essays. The dining is made more fun by the convivial local crowd and the unerring hospitality of the dining room staff.
Tommy Andrade became know to lovers of fine dining in the 1970s and 1980s, when he was the major domo of the Fairmont Hotel’s Sazerac Restaurant–a very classy gig. He left that to open Irene’s in the 1980s, and went solo with Tommy’s in 1996. From the outset, Tommy’s was filled with service pros of the old school, including some highly recognizable waiters from some of the city’s best restaurants. A lot of former Brennan’s and Galatoire’s people are here now.
It feels like an old French Quarter cafe, with a lively buzz emanating from the largely local clientele. They keep the restaurant full most of the time. Tommy’s bar, in an adjacent building, is one of the classiest watering holes around.
FULL ONLINE MENU
Oysters Tommy (Romano cheese, pancetta, roasted red pepper)
Panneed oysters, grilled shrimp. spinach, raspberry vinaigrette
Escargots, vermouth, garlic, in mushroom caps
Crabmeat canapé, béchamel, fresh herbs, parmesan cheese
Sweetbreads, beurre blanc, capers, over eggplant
Duck salad, spinach, orange reduction, mushrooms, pecans
Asparagus salad, Creole vinaigrette
Crabmeat maison, lettuce, ravigote sauce
Soft-shell crab, linguini, fresh basil, roma tomatoes, Reggiano crawfish sauce
Pan sautéed fresh Gulf fish, grilled shrimp, roasted red pepper, beurre blanc, corn maquechoux, julienne sweet potatoes
Pollo di Parma (sauteed chicken, prosciutto, eggplant, mozzarella, tomatoes, mushrooms)
Veal Sorrentina (prosciutto, eggplant, mozzarella, green onion, mushroom marsala sauce)
Lamb Provençale, rosemary port wine demi, haricots verts
Duck Tchoupitoulas (crispy, raspberry, wild rice, spinach, toasted pecans and bacon)
Crabmeat au gratin
Fish of the day meuniere, crabmeat, Brabant potatoes
Crabmeat Sardou (artichoke, spinach, crabmeat, hollandaise sauce)
Fish Capri (crabmeat, crawfish, capers, artichokes, beurre blanc) Seafood stuffed eggplant
Filet Royal (béarnaise, brabants)
Pecan Praline Bread Pudding with bananas Foster, vanilla ice cream
Ladyfingers brushed with espresso and amaretto, whipped sweet mascarpone cheese, bittersweet chocolate
»Chocolate Almond Truffle (mousse with cream anglaise, toasted almonds, whipped cream
Dessert du Jour
FOR BEST RESULTS
If you have four or more, get them to make an appetizer assortment for the table. Make a reservation and show up early. Make friends with the service staff. Plan to have an after-dinner drink in the lounge next door.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The wall decorations look as if they came from a 100-year-old neighborhood restaurant. The large dining room’s ambient sound level can be too high for conversation.
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 +1
- Consistency +2
- Value +2
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar +2
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +2
- Live music some nights
- Good for business meetings
- Open Sunday dinner
- Open Monday dinner
- Unusually large servings
- Pay valet parking
- Reservations recommended