Chargrilled Oysters. Acme/Felix/Dragos, my 2¢
I first tried chargrilled oysters on our first visit to NO two years ago at Felix (always long lines @ Acme).
I was charmed.
On our recent visit, I got to try Felix, Dragos (Hilton location), and Acme in that order.
Pricewise, they're basically the same.
Eating a couple dozen chargrilled oysters in one sitting is hardly a definitive survey, but my thoughts (FWIW, maybe 2c):
Dragos was the worst. The shell bottoms were very dirty, caked with mud - kinda offputting, and every oyster had bits of shell. After biting on shell bits on the first 3 oysters, I finished by mashing up with my tongue, spitting out the bits, and swallowing the oyster. Chalk it up to poor shucking, perhaps, but in the Hilton?
I read that service at Dragos could be lousy. Maybe they've been reading the same thing and improved; all workers from hostess, to waitresses, to grill people, to shuckers were very friendly and attentive.
Felix and Acme were very close on the oysters. I'd have to give Acme the win by a small margin. Overall experience was nicer @ Acme, giving them the definitive nod.
With that said, I still would not wait in line for Acme if Felix was available.
I've heard it said that the true winner is Dragos original location. Alas I did not get to try.
I sure miss those grilled, gulf oysters.
I've grilled my own. coming close to those NO favorites, but the Caraquets and Malpeques are not meaty at all and don't stand up well to heat...
Interesting, and thank you for reporting.
We have only had one Drago's (Hilton) experience, and it was bad on all levels.
The place was almost empty, and we had a party of five with reservations. There were probably a dozen servers, who were all talking in groups, or on their cell phones. We had a difficult time just getting a server to come to the table. Then, things went downhill quickly, and completely. We would never dine there, on any conditions.
re: Bill Hunt
No. We moved from NOLA in 1980, lived in Denver for almost 20 years, and are now in Phoenix, AZ. However, we both have family in New Orleans (and its environs), plus the MS Gulf Coast, so are "back" 2 - 3x per year.
Unfortunately, for us, when we are back, much time is spent doing the "family crawl," so we do not have as much time to dine, on our own, as one might expect.
We are planning a Le Grande Dame Tour, as some of our favorite restaurants have disappeared, and it seems that a few more might be on the edge. We would not let anyone know that we were in town, and just spend every night dining at some of the old-school restaurants - reliving our youth, so to speak.
I have the WYES series, "Lost Restaurants of New Orleans" on DVD, and feel that a second in that series is near. http://www.wyes.org/store/lost-restau...
We had just done such a tour, immediately before Katrina, so got to re-experience some, that did not make it, post-K, or closed shortly afterward. Then, various factors have contributed to others closing. Gotta' get back, though as Thomas Wolfe pointed out - "You can never go home again."
Where are you now located?
Hunt - pining to get back to NOLA, and just eat, and eat.
Much ado about nothing, I asked for the oyster shells at the various joints I ate at. Once back in the room, I washed them then wrapped in newspaper.
At home, I laquered them, epoxied a magnet to the back, glued a few crystals, a few fake pearls, permanent marker, and voila, xmas gift top souveniers for family and friends.
This one was from Acme.
re: Bill Hunt
I gave one such souvenir to an acquaintance/friend in the city. She was enamored.
After a few drinks, she pulled a cloth-covered plate outta her fridge with 3 leftover, live, raspberry point Prince Edward Island oysters (She devoured 57 (of 60) with her better half during the holidays).
They were very tasty, meaty, and salty.
A little while later, I asked if she'd like me to dress them up like my "souvenir" shells. Her eyes sparkled and she said yes.
Well, PEI oysters are not gulf oysters. They lack the mother-of-pearl quality of the gulf's. I lacquered them, (even 2 coats) but they simply do not shine like their southern cousins.
I'll post a pict later (we're spending New Year in Burlington VT) to show the difference.
I saw plenty of places in FLA with driveways of shell. Why would your Phoenix neighbors frown? Maybe explain it as a 100 million year hommage to the cretaceous NA inland sea...
Again, just to recap, the gulf oysters I had in New Orleans were always meaty. The oysters in the Northeast (Canadian Maritimes) are hit and miss and depend heavily on variety.
My friend had me try "raspberry point" oysters from PEI which were indeed meaty (as opposed to generic malpeques which can be watery and of little substance).
Anyway, another big difference was the shells. New Orleans oysters always had bulk and beautiful, mother-of-pearl quality. Our oyster shells are generally thinnish and quite plain internally.
I assume its due to water temps and nutrients, but alas I'm not a marine biologist...
Heres one from NO, another from PEI