A night devoted to oysters, gumbo crawfish
I have a night in NO tomorrow (Friday). If staying near the Quarter is there anywhere where once can stroll from oysters, to gumbo to boiled crawfish for a sort of ongoing seafood crawl. This trinity is a favorite and hopefully crawfish are online by now.
Cab if necessary is OK but no huge exploits to very distant areas desired.
Failing all that, any place where a single traveller will find dinner nirvana with seafood (preferably) minus too much: crowds, dress codes, tourists, attitude, beautiful set?
Many thanks. last minute, as always.
The trip was largely a success. I stayed at the Iberville Suites so Felix's worked well for oysters. Sadly (stupidly) when I got there there was no one at the oyster bar so I *SAT* down there alone and ordered a dozen. I was flabbergasted when I saw them wheeling out a doz PRESHUCKED monstrosities yea even while the shuckers mooched around idle. "What the hey!?" The waitress explained "these were shucked ONLY an hour ago." [which of course may as well have been a week ago]. I didn't think I would even have to be concerned about that awful practise here. So I had one oyster. AWFUL. Had another YUK!. My expression (similar to a 2-year old with food set before them they dislike) got the attention of the waitress and she whispered she'd get them to shuck a fresh 1/2 doz on the house. I left the rest of the doz and slurped those. BEAUTIFUL! Then it became clear what an ass I had been. A group staggers in and *STAND* at the other end of the bar. Quelle IDIOT and rube of the French Quarter I felt! And they started to be served fresh shucked a la carte. I rapidly finished my "free" 1/2 doz (although they still charged me for the uneaten preshucked doz) and paid up there and moved down to where the real action was. The oysters there (again without asking) were fine, but all large. I noticed again that the "regulars" either had asked for smaller or were given them. So I guess as with anywhere, if you are local & known you get something better, which is fair enough. The oysters themselves were fine. I gained the approval of the shuckers by ixne-ing on any accompaniment of any kind. Lemon? Sauce? Er, I don't think so. If oysters are any good you don't want anything with them other than their own sublime liquor.
I then lost considerable dosh (well at least for the action) at the Harrah's, had a couple of g&t's at their bar where each place comes with a bob-sled track to place your drinks on (!) and came to the conclusion that wasted as the observed punters were at the bar at 7pm, I would not want to see them at 3am!
Then on to Deanie's Seafood really just across from the Iberville Suites (a curious but comfortable hotel). This was . . . only OK. Not bad really now, but only OK. This was mainly owing to my waiter who was a tall lollygagging gent, whose main desires and passions in life were not all about waiting on tables, particularly mine! The food was fine. I got gumbo there. It wasn't awful, it wasn't going down in the record books either. Their portions are truly huge if that really matters to anything. It wasn't bad. I wish I had had energy for travels further afield. No crawfish to be had.
I had an early departure (by train) the next morning and I nipped out of the hotel trying to find a store to get some essentials (toothpaste, bottled water etc.) for the trip. This was at 5am. You know what I was saying about the punters at Harrah's . . . . yikes. This is not news to NO residents, but it was a bloody rough place the FQ at 5am on a Saturday morning!!! Several near-death fights in progress, and no sign of the NOPD to break up the breaking of bones. A few dark blocks looking for anywhere open and I'd (even though able-bodied enough) decided oral hygiene could be suspended in favor of personal intact survival. Ironically and sadly [Katrina no doubt brought this about] the in-your-face danger (that in the 90's I thought was being Disney-fied out of NO in the FQ compared to how it was in the early 80's ) was back in full force.
I will be back though. Those oysters. And just the completely unique atmosphere is certainly still very alluring to me.