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Sep 19, 2009 06:54 PM

Can you get Soft Shell crabs in NO in October?

I will be coming to New Orleans in 3 weeks and love Soft Shells crabs. I know this is a NO speciality but was wondering if they are still in season in mid October. Does anyone know if places like Galatoire's, Antoine's, etc. will be serving them? Their current menus show them but I hope they don't stop serving them when I Go there!!!!!

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  1. Absolutely. You can get soft shelled crabs year 'round. I live in Metaire, 5 minutes from the airport. The fancy places like Galatoire's and Antoine's and Commander's Palace are good. But if you want a real taste of New Orleans, ask your waiter what neighborhood place they would recommend. Be sure to try a french fry po-boy with mayo and roast beef gravy. The best one comes from T & B foods in Harahan. Corner of Jeff Hwy and Hickory. We get a whole loaf size and feed the whole family. Tujaques has the best brisket. Don't miss Cafe DuMonde, Bring cash, they take nothing else, and don't wear black. We're glad you're coming to visit and if some one says, " I bet I know where you got your shoes" you say "on my feet, now move along."

    25 Replies
    1. re: nancybmorrison

      Are they still doing that shoes scam? I had it pulled on me nearly 40 years ago- that kid must be a grandfather by now!

        1. re: steakrules85

          a scam to make $ of you by you losing the bet.

          ask if the ss's are fresh or frozen.
          I like the ss's at Clancy's and Galatoire's, and the ss po boy at The Galley on Metairie Rd.
          at Galatoire's, get them w/fresh lump crabmeat on top.

          1. re: edible complex

            Yes at Galatoire's I want the fried soft shell crabs almandie with sauteed crabmeat garnish. I've seen pics and it looks so terrific. I just wanted to make sure they will still have them in October. I have made a Thursday reservation which is my firs day yhtere and should be a great way to break in my trip.

            1. re: steakrules85

              If you have a reservation that means you will be sitting upstairs. IMHO, the real action is in the main dining room downstairs (except Sundays at 1130 as we all wait, with bloody mary in hand, for the downstairs room to open up at noon). Gal's take no reservations for the downstairs room. Also men are required to wear jackets at dinner. Along with August and Brigsten's my favorite place. You can also get pompano with a soft shell and shrimp garnish! Just talk with your waiter about what you like and follow his advice. Have fun...laissez les bons temps roulez!!!!!

              1. re: quads32

                Yes I have heard that downstairs is where its at, but honestly I do not feel like waiting on a line for hours on end. If you show up there on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday for a party of 2 at around 6 how long would you expect to wait just out of curiosity?

                1. re: steakrules85

                  Probably no wait at all at that time. Certainly not longer than a drink or maybe two, which you can enjoy in the little bar upstairs.

                  1. re: uptownlibrarian

                    Really??? Wow, maybe then I will just head there on a whim at around 6 or so and try to score a table downstairs.

                    1. re: steakrules85

                      Don;t go at six--go at 4:30 and you'll get right in. Don;t mention HL Mencken if you have the soft shell fried--he thought that was a crime.

                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        4:30 meaning I will have to wait in line for an hour or so? What is HL Menchken?

                        1. re: steakrules85

                          They are open all day--4:30 or 5:00 will have no line. HL Mencken was a Baltimore journalist who wrote caustic and funny stuff...he was a well-known trencherman and wondered in print "what assassin invented the New York scheme of frying soft crabs in batter?" He wass a True Believer in sauteed crab or a roasting variety using, as he put it, "a little jockstrap of bacon."

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            I agree with the timing (430) because part of the fun of Gal's is watching the room come to life and fill up. It's the reason I prefer Sunday lunch. You won't be rushed by management or waiter to eat and leave. Settle in for 2 or 3 appetizers (the goute, fried eggplant, pommes soufle) and cocktails (plural) then the entree with a glass of wine, perhaps desert, cafe brulot or cognac...slow and easy, what's the hurry. It seems to me that Galatoire's is more a Diamond Jim Brady kind of place, but I'd have been happy to have dined with either of them...or more recently RW Apple of the New York Times.

                            1. re: quads32

                              Sounds like an awesome place and since I knew I was coming to NO this was a MUST on my list. How long is the typical wait though if I were to show up around 5:30 or 6? We will be arriving in New Orleans on Thursday and probably won't get settled at the hotel until about 3 or so. We are staying at the Iberville, which is literally one block from Galatoire's. Since we will probably be coming on empty stomachs (and take into account an hour time difference from NYC), we will probably be more than happy to eat early like around 6.

                              1. re: steakrules85

                                A 5:30 or 6:00 arrival might have a wait or it might not--depends on many factors not all of which are predictable. On a Thursday you should be OK at 5:30 but there will be many locals who will go directly from the office after 5:00. Then,too, many peope will go Wednesday or Thursday evening so as to avoid the Friday zoo. You should be able to settle in at the Iberville and wander over to tehr estaurant anytime...3:30, 4:00....whenever you get around to it. Have cocktails and appetizers for might be empty when you get there..don't worry about it, they are open. The waiters will be sitting in the back at a couple of tables, some of them having whatever dinner has been made for the staff on that day--chicken, tacos, red beans,..whatever...There might be a boisterous party still drunk from never know.

                                1. re: hazelhurst

                                  Sounds like am amazing place. You also sound like you know a lot about the city... what are some fun things to do during the day and night after dinner.

                                  So far everyone says you have to do the garden distict tour, St. Louis Cathedral, and cemetery. I also want to try to do one of the haunted tours.. the vampire one of the ghost one both sound cool. The wax museum sounds cool. I will probably also swing down to the CBD to hit up the IMAX theater since I love those.

                                  What else is there to do in this great city besides eat lol!??

                                  1. re: steakrules85

                                    Well, you'll get as many differing opinions as the number who care to try--I think the Garden District and cemeteries are always good--and you can add Commander's lunch to a cemetery tour b/c they are right together I have no idea what music you'd care for but certainly check out the standard spots which will be emblazoned on all guides..Almost everything you hear on Bourbon Street is as good as canned music but once in awhile there is someone with talent. Swamp Tours are always fun if the weather is not too hot . I cannot think of the last time I heard of someone doing the wax Museum but that is no bar to enjoying it. You'll get more of the pace of the city if you do the pub crawls, though, especially Miss Mae's and the Uptown places. See who is at the Maple Leaf, too.

                                    1. re: steakrules85

                                      While Galatoires might be something you feel you need to do, dont expect much. Most people here love it for what it used to be and the memories they had in the days when it was good. Their quality has slipped dramatically in the last 6 years or so. You can get a better soft shell at a place like Clancys for less money in just as much of a local atmosphere. Dont get conned into music on Bourbon street. If you want to hear music check out whos playing in Marigny. A swamp tour is always a good idea, and they will come and get you and drop you back off at your hotel, and this is the perfect time of year for one. Check out Pearl River Eco Tours at 985-502-2586.

                                      1. re: sweetbreads39

                                        "While Galatoires might be something you feel you need to do, dont expect much. Most people here love it for what it used to be and the memories they had in the days when it was good."

                                        Now, I could see that comment regarding Antoine's, as that is how I feel. I try to cut them slack, based on how they used to be.

                                        My last visits to Galatoire's have been anything but nostalgia. We have had great food, and great service.

                                        Now, because we're there for the food, and far less for the "show," we have dined upstairs with reservations. Still, the food has been great. I'd venture that it was never better, at least not in my 50+ years of dining there.

                                        Sorry to offer up an opposing view, but I call them, as I experience them.


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          Thanks for he info! That was was next question.. Is there a difference in food quality from the first floor compared to the second fl?

                                          And according to you it sounds like it is great no matter what. Awesome.

                                          1. re: steakrules85

                                            Dude, you are overthinking this. Just go whenever you are hungry. There will probably not be a line. That really only happens on "event" days and Fridays at lunch. Sit downstairs, relax, and enjoy yourself.

                                            1. re: steakrules85

                                              "Is there a difference in food quality from the first floor compared to the second fl?"

                                              None, what so ever. The only difference is the "show." For us, well we've been there and done that. That is not to say that it is not worth the visit, but I go for the food now, and am often on a tight string - either mine, or that of my guests.

                                              The food is the same, as is the service, provided that one does not have a "family wait person."

                                              I just like the quieter atmosphere and the ability to do a reservation. Others feel just the opposite, and I cannot argue with them. They are fortunate to have more time, than I do, and will get the "show."

                                              Most of all, enjoy,


                                              PS - I feel that it IS great, regardless. It would be like a venue that had stage seating on a FCFS basis, for a musical act, and then quiet upstairs with reservations, but no music.

                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                I see I see. Thanks so much for the detailed information. Thanks to everyone actually you have all been very helpful. Galatoire's sounds like a great place and I can't wait. Seems like the "show" occurs every single night.

                                                1. re: steakrules85

                                                  I'd guess that there IS a "show," on most nights. That is not a bad thing. It's definitely worth the price of admission, but I've been to that show, so I go for the food.

                                                  The real "show" is Friday lunch. The food and service will be good, but the line will likely be longer. Still, if one gets the "show," and the only cover-charge is the wait, then it should well be worth while.

                                                  It is a personal call. That is why I opt for upstairs, and a reservation.

                                                  I've struggled with an apt analogy, and the best that I can come up with is:
                                                  If one wants to see NOLA (the wonderful City), should they go at Mardi Gras? Well, they can, but to really see NOLA, they need to go at another time. That is not to say that the "show" of Mardi Gras is bad, but it can get in the way of experiencing the City.

                                                  Sorry that the analogy is so lame, but it's the best that I could do, and I even had a night to sleep on it.



                                          2. re: sweetbreads39

                                            What I should have said re Bourbon Street music--and intended to say--was "ONLY as good as canned music." But it is true that every now and then someone who knows what he is doing shows up..doesn;t last long, admittedly, and if someone is a good trumpeter, say, the chances to playing with a good drummer or what-have-you are slight.

            2. That depends. Many chefs will not use anything but fresh, local soft-shells, so you may find them, or you may not.

              Going back two years, Chef Frank Brigtsen refused to do any, and it was late Sept. All that he could source were frozen. It will depend on the supply and on the chef.

              Good luck, 'cause we love 'em too.


              1. Are there any palces to get soft shell crab po boys in the uptown area? I would love to go to Galatoire's and all those places, but im still a poor student.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Tiger1833

                  During the "season," most po-boy shops do soft-shells. Much will depend on the dates. I'd look to Felix's, and also Parkway Bakery and Tavern. This is obviously not the full list, but just two out of many.

                  Good luck, and let's hope that it's a long season.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Casamentos has excellent ss, either po boy or plate. Johnny's FQ has ss po boys. IMO, THE best ss in NOLA is at Brigtsen's. Not always available, call ahead and have them save one for you ... they sell out quickly. Vincent's also does a good ss. Ditto Irene's.

                    1. re: JazzyB


                      Thanks, as always. Out here in AZ, it's tough to keep up with who is doing what, especially with things like seasonal seafood.

                      Your comments are appreciated,


                  2. re: Tiger1833

                    Mahoney's Poboy shop, 3435 Magazine ST, had a softshell crab poboy on the specials board yesterday. IIRC, price was $11 for a small, $21, and $52 for a "supa" size.

                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                      $52 for a poboy? I'm sure that it is well worth it, but I'll bet whoever invented (and named) the poboy is rolling in his grave!

                  3. I would highly recommend the soft shell crabs at Eleven 79. They are usually large and always super fresh. It's one our favorite neighborhood restaurants. Their Italian specialties are also very, very good.