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Restaurants & Bars 5

New Englander Report: Acme, Galatoire, Aquarians and More (long)

MB | Aug 12, 200209:30 AM

Thanks to all the NO 'hounds for the chow suggestions a couple of weeks back.

Acme - Even in a crowded restaurant, it took less than 10 minutes for our food to arrive. Sampled the shrimp and oyster po-boys, dee-lish! Perfectly crisp, not greasy at all. Perhaps I longed for a bit more mayo (yes?) Also shared a dozen oysters which were wonderful, even a couple of those huge ones that I often shy away from. The biggest shocker to me was the price - so (wow!) inexpensive compared to Boston. Staff were wonderful - gave me directions for all the nightlife I'd been looking for.

The Napolean House was rather fun. Our waiter seemed a bit brusque at first, but really it was that he was just all business. Tried the appetizer with 3 different spreads: the tapenade was terrible, but we rather enjoyed the hummus and goat cheese offerings. Shared a grilled muffaletta (sp?) which seemed more toasted than grilled. I'd pass on that one next time. As I recall I was thrilled to discover your NO version of an "Italian sub" on a previous visit but it just didn't knock my socks off this time. (Last visit was at Central Grocery.)

Aquarians - I'd seen some people here chatting about this new-ish (they've been open for 6 months) place in the Marigny area. Seems to me that the area is much like Boston's South End or San Francisco's SOMA areas were years ago. I think "transitional neighborhood" is usually the description as it's on the way up. Anyway, the restaurant was cute. The atmosphere was certainly bohemian, keeping with the astrological theme. The second story dining room was a great location to watch a storm move in while we dug into tasty salads made with mixed greens, fresh vegetables, summer berries and a light vinagrette. Dinner was a couple of great pieces of fish (salmon and mahi mahi) cooked perfectly. It was nice to have vegetables with a meal in NO! Great garlic mashed, nicely cooked, sweet asparagus spears and a "signature" dish of spinach sauteed with blueberries. The chef had also prepared osso bucco that had been cooking all day - it looked wonderful. Had a great, cool glass of Estancia (sp?) chardonnay with dinner, too. Talking with our waiter and the owners was a delight. Great food, great price/value and wonderful company. I like spending my money with great people like this.

Galatoire's - Old school is old school wherever you are, no? It was fun to experience and compare NO's version to New England's. Tried the stuffed eggplant - yum - which reminded me of a seafood casserole or baked stuffed anything (lobster, shrimp) back home. Also had the Pompano Meunière Amandine. Very tasty, the crabmeat was a delight - big and meaty, not like the rock crab meat you have to work so hard for in New England. Sides of asparagus and potatoes were pedestrian at best, though, as was the banana bread pudding. What really knocked my socks off was the Oysters Rockefeller. It's a very different recipe from New England, where the spinach is rarely pureed so finely and there's lots of butter and cheese which results in the oyster floating in oil. [I would be thrilled to find a recipe for this one, folks!]

There wasn't nearly enough time to sample all of the suggestions I'd seen here. My quest for West Indian food wasn't even initiated. Although I did find THE reggae club in the area - Club Caribbean over on Bayou.

Thanks to all for your suggestions. My next trip will have to include more time so that I can fit in all of your great restaurants AND the gym!

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