Warm Bread and Butter
French 75, Pimms’ Cup, Classic Daiquiri
Souffle Potatoes – Crispy Puffs, Béarnaise Sauce
Fried Eggplant – Eggplant Sticks, Italian Breadcrumbs, Béarnaise Sauce, Powdered Sugar
Oysters en Brochette – Fried Oysters, Bacon, Meuniere Butter
Duck and Andouille Gumbo – Andouille Sausage, Shredded Duck, Trinity, Rich Duck Stock, Dark Brown Roux
Duck Crepe – Roasted Duck, Homemade Boursin Cheese, Port-Cherry Reduction, Pistachios
Foie Gras – Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Pain Perdu, Cane Sugar Gastrique, Apricot Chutney
Stuffed Eggplant – Louisiana Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Boiled Shrimp, Bechamel Sauce, Green Onions, Grilled Eggplant
Crabmeat au Gratin – Louisiana Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Becahamel Sauce, Cheddar Cheese, Green Onions, Breadcrumbs
Cauliflower au Gratin
Bread Pudding – Banana Praline Sauce
Sweet Potato Cheesecake – Caramel Sauce, Candied Spicy Pecans, White Chocolate Shavings
Black Bottom Pecan Pie – Whiskey Caramel Sauce, Whipped Cream
Missed on a prior trip to New Orleans, the restaurant smartly opting to shutter for the week of Mardi Gras, it was with family in town that we made our way down Bourbon Street on the day before Halloween to Galatoire’s, the ladies well dressed and myself in a suit jacket in order to enjoy dinner at the more formal dining space upstairs.
One of the city’s Grande Dames of dining, the menu reading like a hit list of Creole Classics that has not budged in years, it was shortly after seating that a young female server introduced herself as our captain – the drink list offered, but no menus, her short disappearance followed by a return with “any questions” as if alcohol was mandatory…though perhaps it really was as her eventual return from the bar still saw us sitting without water, the fifteen minutes enough to actually see me stand up and walk across the room to steal three glasses from one of the bussers.
Dismissing the issue with “we only have one busser, and water is typically served with bread,” it was with glazed eyes that we next sat listening to a description of ‘musts’ and favorites, the decision eventually seeing a total of twelve plates presented in three courses, the service no doubt improving though certainly not to the level of a ‘jacket and tie’ sort of place.
Using slowly warming blocks of Butter to dress fresh, hot Rolls from the Kitchen, it was not long after ordering that two Galatoire’s signatures arrived alongside an open-face Oyster Roll and spicy Duck Gumbo, the feather light Souffle Potatoes delicious in Béarnaise Sauce while fried strips of Eggplant took the same to another place with a bowl of Powdered Sugar into which diners are encouraged to dunk.
Definitely a space with some history, the luminous downstairs jammed-packed and boisterous while those seated in the more formal space are completely isolated from that noise, it was approximately an hour after the 7:00pm reservation that the second course arrived as two entrees, two more appetizers and a side dish, the Seafood-stuffed Eggplant, Crab Meat and Cauliflower all browned beneath creamy Bechamel while the Duck Crepe and Foie Gras were both a rich balance of savory and sweet, the Port-Cherry sauce beautiful with the confit while unctuous seared Liver found its foil in Apricot Chutney and Sugar Cane Gastrique.
Obviously not planning to pass up a sweet finale in the city that puts Pain Perdu and Pralines on almost every dessert menu, the evening at Galatoire’s ended with three plates from which ‘best’ and ‘most decadent’ was a toss-up, the steaming Bread Pudding offered up next to Whipped Cream in a pool of Banana Praline Sauce while Sweet Potato Cheesecake found nuance in lightly spiced Pecans and smooth White Chocolate shavings, the Oreo-crusted Pecan Pie dripping with Hot Fudge and boozy Caramel atop a center that was almost Butterscotch pudding like, and all the better for it.