500BestSquareTurtle Soup @ Commander’s Palace

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The turtle soup at Commander’s Palace is not quite the best in town, but it’s close, and it’s certainly the most famous. Enough so that it has spread to most of the other Brennan family restaurants. Ask them about the recipe and you’ll learn that turtle meat is not the only protein in there (they use veal, too). Another oddity (but an old one) is the background presence of spinach. Sherry is in the pot, of course–enough so that you won’t need any more added at the table. All this adds up to a singularly delicious, somewhat heavy soup, a must-get dish at Commander’s.

Commander’s made turtle soup a specialty long before the Brennans owned the place. The Moran family not only made turtle soup there, but was famous for serving it from a large, upturned tortoise shell. A final footnote: those who observe Catholic eating strictures will be interested to know that turtle is considered a seafood by the Church.

Commander’s Palace. Garden District: 1403 Washington Ave. 504-899-8221.

This is among the 500 best dishes in New Orleans area restaurants. Click here for a list of the other 499.

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