Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Glorious Galatoire's

“I knew him,” says the elderly waiter. “He would sit at his favorite corner table in the front window.” The server continues, “But sometimes he would sit over by the pillar, reading a book.”

Him” is the acclaimed Southern playwright Tennessee Williams, and we are in his favorite restaurant, Galatoire’s on Bourbon St. in the Vieux Carre of New Orleans.

Serving traditional French Creole food in high style, Galatoire’s has been a favorite of many patrons for 105 years. Historically, many would wait hours in long lines until a table opens up. (Seating on the main floor is first come first served, although reservations are now taken for second floor dining these days)

It’s the kind of restaurant where meals are served by jacketed waiters. Dishes are served on real china that is laid on linen tablecloths. The silverware is real silver and jackets are required for gentlemen after 5 pm weekdays and all day Sunday.

Many of the recipes and traditions were brought here from France by the original owner, Jean Galatoire. The timeless, award winning menu has changed little in its years of operation.

 Lunch begins with a warm baguette—its thin veneer of toasty-crisp crust encasing an airy crumb. It’s as luscious as any to be found in a Parisian sidewalk café. The bread is served with double pats of salty rich creamy butter that rivals the pale smooth gold of Normandie butter.

Shrimp remoulade, a favorite chilled appetizer, is a staple in this town. We had it paired with crabmeat maison. The combination was a delicate balance of richness and spice. Best of all, the recipe can be found on their website.

We ordered a steaming bowl of rich bouillabaisse and delicate redfish smothered in jumbo lump crabmeat. I began to wonder if Stella and Blanche might have ordered this for supper in Streetcar Named Desire.

Guests are invited to savor the experience, table hop and bask in the ambience.

Galatoire’s is at 209 Bourbon St. in New Orleans. Just look for the longest line on a Friday night in the Big Easy. Telephone: 504.525.2021 Dining room is open Sunday from Noon – 10 pm. Monday-CLOSED, Tuesday – Saturday 11:30 am – 10 pm

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