This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
In an era when most restaurants don’t last more than five years it’s comforting to know Restaurant Galatoire’s in New Orleans, which was founded in 1905, is still alive and well in its original location on Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter.
Few restaurants have ever lasted more than 100 years in business and far fewer have received the kind of accolades this restaurant has. Saveur Magazine called Friday lunch at Galatoire’s one of the 25 best meals in the world and The James Beard foundation presented the “America’s most Outstanding Restaurant Award” to Galatoire’s in 2005, the restaurant's 100th year in business.
My wife, Rica, and I have been traveling to “Nawlins” for the past 20 years or so to visit the kinds of restaurants they just don’t seem to make any more. Restaurants that make you feel comfortable the moment you walk in the door. Restaurants that take their heritage seriously and don’t just jump on the next food trend that comes down the pike.
I know that the gulf fish at Galatoire’s will be sautéed in brown butter with almonds and topped with lump crabmeat at my asking. The Oysters en Brochette will be the same preparation with crisp bacon and briny oysters that I remember from my very first visit and the lamb chops will still remain the best I’ve ever had.
If you've never traveled to New Orleans and experienced the richness and fun that dining in this great city offers, I highly suggest you do so. Here are a few more of my favorite spots.
- Willie Mae’s may have the greatest fried chicken on the planet.
- Clancy’s still makes the best Bourbon Old Fashion along with terrific Crawfish Etouffee.
- Emerils on Tchoupitoulas continues to be the standard bearer for Creole-inspired dishes infused with the hospitality only Emeril can deliver.
- Commander's Palace, the crown jewel of the Brennan family, is where my family experienced the most gracious of restaurant experiences a few weeks ago and cannot wait to return.
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