The Best Thing You Ever Ate: New Orleans
I got caught up watching the new show on FN titled "The Best Thing I Ever Ate," and have really enjoyed some of the episodes. It's a documentary style show in which has some of the Food Network stars talk about the "one dish" of a particular style that was the "best thing" that they ever ate.
Last night while watching an episode, I began to think about some of the best meals I have ever had, then did my best to narrow it down to a specific dish. So here are the rules: name the best thing you ever ate in New Orleans. One dish. One restaurant.
Do your best to give a description and be as specific as possible, including the restaurant where you had it. It could be a dish you had one time or something you have often. Stick to restaurant meals, because even if the best thing you ever ate was at your grandma's house, it wouldn't do much good to the rest of us. This could be a great starting point for first time visitors to the city.
For me, the best thing I ever ate was a fried soft shell crab, topped with jumbo lump crab and brown butter sauce, at Galatoire's. The light breading on the crab added just enough balance and crunch to the briny, sweet crab meat on the inside. Having been there many times, I can't narrow it down to one specific day in time, so I would say it's probably one of my favorite meals in New Orleans and dream about it often...
Gosh Kevin this one had me stumped, simply because of the plethora of "favorite dishes" in NOLA. The burger at Camellia Grill at 12:00 a.m. after one too many cocktails.....oysters on the half shell or oyster loaf at Casamento's after months without them, the turtle soup or oyster and absinthe dome at Commander's, and depending on my frame of reference or frame of mind so many favorite dishes that vary dependent on circumstances. But if I had to pick ONE all time favorite, I would have to go with the duck and Brigtsen's. Even at 8:00 a.m. my mouth is watering just thinking about it. The duck skin is crisp and crackling and the tart cherry sauce perfectly compliments the wonderful brineiness (not sure if that is a word) of the duck. Delicious!!
Great topic. I feel in love with New Orleans when I came from NYC 2 years ago. There were so many unbelievable things I ate but here were the standouts:
Galatoires- Fried soft shell crabs with jumo lumb crab meat, almonds, and menuiere sauce and Lamb chops with mushroom bordelaise. But I really could just go on and on because every dish was incredibly memorable!
NOLA- Lacquered duck with corn and haircot verts
Commander's Palace- Bread Pudding souffle, Veal Chop Tchoupitoulas
Antoine's- Baked Alaska, Chateaubriand
Emeril's- Banana Cream Pie, Lamb Ribs
Commander's Palace Restaurant
1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130
209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130
This is impossible. I want to take the easy way out and list like three or four things but I will limit myself to one: The BBQ Shrimp at Mr. B's Bistro. The first taste is like a shock to the tastebuds. The garlic and the pepper are just shockingly present. The whole thing is so incredible. We went three times in a one week trip and sopped every drop of sauce each time.
As others have said, this is a daunting task. Naming one single dish in a city filled with so many great dishes of different style cuisines is impossible. But...if I had to pick just one, i can distinctly remember the first time I ever had the lamb chops at Commander's many years ago. They had such a great flavored crispy crust on the outside, while the inside was cooked at a perfect medium rare temperature. Not sure if they still prepare them this way, as the time to which i am referring was back in the Jamie Shannon days. I dont think it gets any better than those lamb chops.
What a great testament to our city's food when we all have a hard time picking out one dish to call "the best ever." For me, it was at Mr. B's for lunch, long before Katrina. The entree special was a free-form jumbo lump crab ravioli, which consisted of house-made pasta sheets layered with huge lumps of crab and topped with a butter sauce that was little more than simply melted butter...with maybe a little lemon juice. It was so simple, so fresh and so damn good, I can still see, smell and taste it to this day.
I second that one, and I have dined at most of the great restaurants in your wonderful town (and will be adding to the list in two weeks....can't wait!) but the one dish that really sticks in my mind and that I can't wait to eat everyday during Jazzfest is the conchon de lait po boy.
Wow, I haven't seen the free-form crab ravioli on the lunch menu since before "It." I think the chef at the time I ordered it was Gerard Maras, and that tells you how long ago it was. I probably won't order it again because I don't want to screw up the great memory I already have. *Sigh* Katrina changed way too many things...