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Nov 13, 2010 10:53 AM

Galatoire's for New Years Eve Dinner

Thoughts on this? Have a reservation for 8pm...hoping to have dinner then make it to the river for the fireworks, then rest of the night out in the FQ...

Good place for a NYE dinner?

Galatoire's Restaurant
209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

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  1. always a great place for any celebration~cheers!

    1. Fantastic, thanks for the input.

      When ordering, should we just leave it up to our waiter, in general? Tell him what we like/don't like?

      For instance I really, realllllly love soft shell crabs. Like, I LOVE all seafood, and softshell crabs are the epitome of seafood for me. I realize the ones they will be serving will be farm raised and/or imported out of state most likely (?). Should I ask the waiter how they are, or am I going to get the standard, "Yes, they're great" line..?

      15 Replies
      1. re: yanks26dmb

        Believe it or not...and I have seen a lot of self-described experts fooled on this---some of the "fresh frozen" processors have got it down pretty damn good with soft shells. I almost never have them in winter, though, and usually am careful with crabmeat in coldweather generally becuase it is far more likely to have shell in it. Crab is coming in from west of the Atchafalaya, though.

        You might get the line about how the crabs were "playing the piano this morning." Any of the old line waiters will shoot straight with you. If you are decent to him, he'll be happy to let you in on "secrets." Get the Grande Goute to start..that should help out your seafood fixation. Swimps remoulade, maybe a crawfish maison or a crabmeat maison..depends on what's looking good...maybe oysters en brochette (which I always get with the beurre noir). If they have the redfish, see if you can get it poached with hollandaise, the old fashioned way we always had it before Certain People started cremating them.

        1. re: hazelhurst

          Hazelhurst, I know you are the NOLA guru and my definite go to for recs and info. So I guess it's safe to say that Galatoire's and pretty much every other restaurant in NO serves soft shell crabs all year long?

          I went in October 09' and they had the fried soft shell crabs at Galatoire's and to this day it was on of my favorite plates of food. I am possibly coming back to the great NOLA in November this year so was wondering if they will be serving them?? I hope so because there is no doubt in my mind that is the go-to order.

          Galatoire's Restaurant
          209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

          1. re: steakrules85

            They are pretty good about almost year-round because the fishermen keep different pens and as long as the water is not too cold you get some who molt "out-of-season"---that's what was 'splained to me years and years ago. However, on restauranteur I know (and he is very particular) told me that he was using a flash-frozen product from SE Asia because he said it was (a) cheaper and (b) "better than I can get from right here this afternoon." Go figure. But I've had soft-shells at times when you wouldn't think they would be available and they haev been fine...although not as fat and plump in the off months, it seems to me.

            As I say, try them sauteed sometime...the kitchen will put anything you want on it..paprika, apple jam (just kidding) ....

            1. re: hazelhurst

              LOLOL great. I don't care how they make them I am sure they will be delicious. I just want to make sure they have them PERIOD!

              1. re: steakrules85

                Well, just be friendly with your waiter and ask if the soft shells are any good...then trust the answer. I've been told many times not to bother.

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Now, that is great advice. In my mentioned case, it did not work, but then, I was NOT dining in NOLA, where the waitstaff can be trusted much more.

                  For me, late May through middle September is "the season," and I would rather wait a year, than have a bad soft-shell, but that is just me.

                  When Chef Frank Brigtsen leaves the kitchen, to whisper in my ear, "the season is over, and all that I have seen for the last two weeks are not good," I listen, and listen carefully.


                  Brigtsen's Restaurant
                  723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118

              2. re: hazelhurst

                The "skinny" on soft-shells is that research has shown that it's the light-dark cycles, that trigger the molting with the crab. I am sure that other factors can figure into the program, the trigger is the light-dark. Some researchers are basically putting crabs into bins and then doing a disco-like thing with them, to trigger the molting.

                I've had many, many different soft-shells, but have learned to avoid them, except from May through September. In NOLA, even in mid-September, I have had chefs tell me that they could not find good soft-shells any more, so they were off the menu.

                Just dined in DC, and the claim was that the Chesapeake Bay soft-shells had just started (this was early April). Had some at one restaurant, and they were pretty good (albeit at a premium price, and they were NOT LA blue crabs), but at the second, the soft-shells were bad. I had inquired, considering the dates, and was assured that these were fresh that AM. They were anything BUT fresh, and I complained. The GM stopped by the table, and said that they were alive that morning. I directed him to bring the chef to my table. I confronted him, and after a bit, he admitted that they were flash-frozen from Vietnam - not even close!

                Now, I do not wish to cast a pall over ALL flash-frozen SE Asian soft-shells, but let me just say that, though I have been gone from the Deep South for over 30 years, I can still spot crabs that have been frozen, and are also from a previous time/place.

                I will wait for the Gulf/Lake blue crabs to molt, and leave the rest for others.


                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  wow. what kind of qualities do you look for when identifying the real deal from non? what sets off your spidey sense?

                  1. re: kibbles

                    I suspect Bill is zeroing in on a give-away (for me, anyway) and that is a "mushiness" . Other times there is just no damn flavor. But I admit to having been fooled. And If I can get good stuff that fools me, s'OK

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      Actually, and especially with the second crab, I would have lit a candle for "no flavor." The texture was a dead giveaway, and the shell being like a thin piece of leather was another. The aroma was appalling. I thought that I was screening "Night of the Living Dead" in Smell-o-vision. [One needs to have a few years, or maybe decades, on them to remember Smell-o-vision.]

                      I should have placed crab B into an evidence bag, and then shared it, in a NOLA Board dine-in. Like corked wine, then all would understand.

                      Since it's getting on towards "dinner time," here in the delightful High Sonoran Desert, I will cease in my descriptions. Let's just say that I'd rather take my chances with a restaurant, right outside the backdoor to Touro's Path Department.


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        What a horror! I regret to say I've encountered some similar disasters. We learn this way...such is life...and I kinda like it, don't you?

                        1. re: hazelhurst

                          Horror is the correct term. At one point, the chef was said to be coming out to talk to us. Along the way, I mentioned that we were "from New Orleans," and the chef was suddenly detained, and was a no-show. Maybe he thought he had some folk from Ottumwa at the table, or he got detained. I will never know, but could not eat the crabs.

                          What a bad meal - but, when staying near Dulles, we have been so very horribly disappointed with any food. We'll just do the re-heated Mrs. Paul's fish sticks at the Hilton, and be done with it!!!!


                    2. re: kibbles

                      First, I want a bit of "the taste of the sea," (or Lake Pontchartrain) and then a certain texture of the meat. The shell should be soft, and not like eating parchment paper. There should be no off-putting tastes, or odors.

                      If the crab comes to my table, smelling more like a fishing pier at 6:00PM, and not like you cupped your hand, scooped up some sea/lake water and smelled it, then I am not likely to enjoy it. If you have ever fished, later in the day, and been around the cut-bait left on the pier, you know exactly what I mean - very fishy, spoiled aromas, seagull poop, and the like. Not something that I want to eat.

                      In the recent DC incident, I could smell the crab, as the waiter came through the doors. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. The closer it got, the worse it smelled. At that point, I was apprehensive, but pressed on, since I had "signed affidavit... [Grin]. One crab was marginally OK, if one had NEVER eaten a fresh softshell, but the other had gone rancid. My guess was that it was in bad shape, when frozen, a couple hundred years before. Either that, or someone had used mustard gas to kill it?

                      The shells were like trying to eat the bag, that your pompano was served it, though probably tougher. You could not cut it with a normal table knife. The other one rather fell apart, as though it had just been shipped in from Fukushima. I would have expected it to glow in the dark, should the electricity have failed in the restaurant.

                      I think that anyone with access to fresh, Gulf/Lake softshells would have done the same thing that I did - throw the plate at the kitchen door! No, wait. I called the server over, who called upon the chef, who would NOT confront me, but only tell me that the softshells were alive that day. Yeah. If that were true, then one of them was horribly diseased and should have been put down months before.

                      Ever had Bo-Pic dried shrimp (an acquired taste to some)? The second crab made those taste fresh. Matter of fact, even the first crab made those taste fresh.

                      Probably what galled me most was that this restaurant was a US $ 40 round-trip cab ride from my hotel. Let's just say that in the Dulles Airport vicinity, I have now completely eliminated two restaurants. I would rather do Mrs. Paul's fishsticks at the Hilton, than taking a cab to some of the restaurants in the general area. Heck, airport food has proved much better!


            2. re: yanks26dmb

              Softshell crabs, at least those served at restaurants, are all "farmraised." Hard shell crabs are caught and kept in a pen until they molt. At that point the farmer, scoops them up and sells them. There would be no reliable source for softshells if left to the happenstance of collecting one in the wild.

              1. re: yanks26dmb

                I always start w/a 6 pack of rock and an en brochette. Love the seafood stuffed eggplant w.some lemon and tabasco as well as the crabmeat maison. I can never decide btwn the lamb chops bearnaise and the soft shells w/crab on top. The crabmeat au gratin is killer, as are the sweetbreads. I rarely get any veggies or sides, as the above is more than enough food and is usually shared. And I never get to dessert...cheers!

              2. Request Preston as your waiter and you will have a great time!

                4 Replies
                1. re: nonative

                  Thanks for the tips guys. I'm expecting a fairly chaotic atmosphere in there on NYE, which also happens to be a Friday. If I request a waiter, i.e. Preston, will he wonder who the hell are these people requesting him, as I am certainly not a regular.

                  I've heard that tourists requesting specific waiters are often given the eye roll....any word on this?

                  1. re: yanks26dmb

                    Just tell him some friends recommended him. If he's busy ask for Richard who is a nice tall gentleman about 65 or so.

                    1. re: Littleman

                      Actually, richard is rather more than 65 but I didn't say that....

                    2. re: yanks26dmb

                      Well, if I tell a friend to use a certain waiter and tell the waiter that they got the rec from me then the waiter has something to go on...but if a total stranger goes in an asks for a waiter by name it can--but not necesasrily--be seen as being a poseur. But the place is really relaxed and if you go in saying that you read about Preston or whomever and then you work on building your own rapport, you'll be welcomed with open arms. They are not snobs, they are professionals. BUt for the regulars they are real friends and that takes time.