My daughter and I had dinner at Galatoire's tonight. While I agree that the lovely old space confers a real sense of dining as Bourbon Street must once have been, I was remarakbly unimpressed by the food. Unimpressed is probably actually a little too nice a way to put it.
I guess it's possible that we just ordered all the wrong things... nothing was ill-prepared... it just didn't taste that good. There was one exception. They make a fantastic amaretto sour.
So anyway, I tried to get a table upstairs but it was booked solid from 5:30 on for a big party. Downstairs was really very nice, with the black and white mosaic floor and lace curtains, and tuxedoed waiters who really know their stuff. We started out with the Galatoire's Goutou, a selection of three cold seafood salads: shrimp remoulade, and crab and crawfish maison. The shrimp remoulade really amounted to shrimp swimming in cocktail sauce. The shrimp were overcooked and mealy. The crab maison was very nice large backfin chunks in a mayo, parsely, lemon and caper dressing. It was pretty good, if a little sharp. The crawfish maison was my favorite, lots of crawfish in a mayo-based dressing that was more mild than the crab.
For entrees, we ordered the shrimp marguery and a lemon fish (cobia) grilled and topped with sauteed crab; an artichoke; and the souffleed potatoes. The lemon fish was a little overcooked, not awfully so (not grilled though; it was pan sauteed) The crab was plentiful and sweet, sauteed in butter and parsely and lemon. It wasn't unpleasant at all. Just really boring, and about the same level of cooking I would expect in a place like the old Chesapeake Bay Seafood House. The shrimp marguery was just awful. It was a heavy cream sauce with mushrooms. Heavy in the sense that it was thick enough to hold its shape on a spoon; thick enough to be called gloppy even. But it had literally no flavor... not even salt. It tasted just like a thick unseasoned white sauce. The shrimp were plentiful but not crisp as all, just mealy.
We really love artichokes but this one was cooked to a deathly dark gray. And the potatoes? I really can't tell why they're famous. Just deep fried slices that puff up and get hollow, but taste like a damp unsalted potato chip.
The meal was $50/person (including 3 cocktails) The service was outstanding and the space lovely. But the food was just ... a combination of blah and blech.
So I'm just scratching my head about Galatoire's. Did we order poorly? Or is Galatoire's just not really that good?