Went to Galatoire's with a group of 7 starving Bostonians together for a conference - we figured it was our best chance of getting in since it was only 630 pm, and it was during Jazz Fest. Sure enough, when we arrived there was no line. Coming from the conference meant we were appropriately dressed (jackets required for men at dinner) so we were promptly seated in the pretty mirrored downstairs dining hall. Over the night it filled up quite a bit, and got somewhat noisy.
What an experience! We were sat next to a trio of older gentlewomen (probalby in their 60s) who had been drinking champagne for a birthday celebration since 3 PM, and were so jovially drunk that they scooted up to our table to help us order, then discovered that they were "too drunk to get my shoes on! It's okay, the taxi's going to be right outside."
Our waiter was John, a 4'5" stocky mustached gentleman who has been working at Galatoire for 40 years (he's in the Galatoire's brochure). He took care of us - said that we should order our entrees (crawfish etoufee being his favorite here) but that he would bring us appetizers and desserts, "no worries." We put ourselves in his hands and were perfectly happy. All throughout, he was helpful and funny - told us all about his grandchildren, what he thought of FEMA and the government, etc.
Now, the food:
Turtle soup: first time tasting it, the flavor reminds me of chili because of the amount of cumin. Pretty tasty. I'd get it again.
Puffed Potatoes: pretty but didn't taste particularly special
Seafood salads (white fish, crawfish and a shrimp one): really wonderful, not heavy, very finely spiced.
Oysters en brouchette: delicious plump deep-fried oysters with chunks of deepfried thick bacon between. I've been really impressed with the oysters here in NOLA.
The two vegetarians in this group (I found that eating with a vegetarian in this town pretty difficult - at least, for the food I wanted to eat) got a stuffed eggplant and a grilled vegetable platter, which they were pretty pleased with.
Several of us got the crawfish etoufee on the recommendation of our waiter, and it was great - big chunks of crawfish in a rich rich sauce over rice. Perfect balance of rice to sauce.
One got the sauteed poisson with crabmeat garnish - he liked it, but considering he wouldn't share with anyone, I'll just have to take his word on it.
Bete Noir a la mode: a good solid chocolate cake, but not special
Banana bread pudding: very satisfying
Sweet potato cheesecake - creamy cheesecake without being leaden, the sweet potato flavor was present but not overwhelming. I liked this and the bread pudding pretty equally.
Total bill (with a couple of drinks for some of the party) came to be about $50 a person incluidng tip. I really loved this visit.