Thanks for all the posts here that helped me plan my trip to NOLA last weekend. I had a great time and ate VERY well.
My wife and I rolled in late Thursday night so we didn't have the energy to head out for dinner. We woke up Friday morning and went over to Uglesich's. We got there at 9:50am and there was already a line halfway down the block. Clearly people had been there since 8 in the morning. The smart ones had brought chairs and reading material.
At about 10:30am we got our first round of bloody mary's. This was the best BM I've ever had. A perfect balance of worcestershire sauce, horseradish, tomato juice, and vodka. I loved the pickled okra too. An hour and a half and another bloody mary later we were inside.
The place is small. Maybe ten tables with a L shaped bar on your left when you walk in. The tables have no covers and the lighting is flourescent and the floors formica. Along the bar sat the guy who takes your order, Anthony who was selling and signing cookbooks and Gail, one other guy making drinks and then Michael shucking the oysters as fast as they could bring the bags in from the side.
We ordered 18 oysters on the half shell, shrimp and grits, shrimp uggie and the bbq combination of shrimp and oysters. The guy said we had done alright. We got our number 30 on a little yellow post-it and waited for our number to be called to get to sit down.
There was a bit of unpleasantness when we ordered. The whole time we were waiting there was a older black couple with a 4 year-old right behind us. But after I ordered I noticed that there were two yuppies standing behind us. An argument started and it turned out that they had paid someone to wait in line for them and when they got there they just jumped in the line behind us. The guy was a real jerk and he claimed that this was perfectly acceptable in New Orleans and he did all the time at Galatoire's. This rubbed me the wrong way and I told them that it wasn't right but they ignored me. The fact that they jumped in in front of the black family also made me feel angry but this could have been just coincidence.
After another half hour, we got our table and shortly after John shouted out "30! Where did I put ya!" and brought out our shrimp and grits. These were delicious. The portion was small, 4 shrimp on two squares of fried grits cakes. The sauce was creamy and spicy and like nothing I've tasted before. I immediately wished I had ordered two. I do see why some complain about the small portions and price. Shrimp and grits is $7.95.
[ed note. had to run out to lunch because writing this was making me hungry. Popeye's is the only cajun food we got here near me in Brooklyn, unfortunately. though i do think they have the best biscuits in the world. ]
Then we waited a good half an hour more for our oysters. I'm pretty sure the people who cut in line before just slurped our oysters when they came up on the bar. When we did get them we were amazed. My wife is an oyster fanatic and she thought these were the best oysters she had ever had. We are used to northeast oysters which are small and firm and briny. These oysters were big and juicy and not briny at all. The dipping sauce was very horseradish heavy. I think I read that they make their own horseradish which might explain why the bloody mary's and this dipping sauce is so good.
All the while when we were sitting it was turning into quite a scene , the police chief came in to wish Anthony luck. Two local television crews showed up and filmed reports. One of which walked right by me so I'm pretty sure I was on the evening news that day. At one point the line-cutters asked if 31 was ready and John shouted "We're at 24 champ! I'll call you when it's ready!" That made me feel better.
At about 2pm we got our entrees, the shrimp uggie and the bbq combination. The shrimp uggie is shelled shrimp and potatoes sitting in a very greasy, spicy sauce. It was excellent, a very unique flavor that I can't do justice. The bbq combination had whole shrimp, oysters, and potatoes sitting a greasy sauce that was much garlicky and not as spicy as the shrimp uggie sauce. Needless to say we scarfed it down, said thanks and walked back to our hotel to hurriedly checked out of our hotel.
All in all it was about a 5 hour ordeal. But a lot of fun and I'm glad to have been able to try these dishes. They are not refined by any stretch of the imagination but really tasty and original. And we've got the book. My favorite recipe so far is for their potatoes which has two ingredients: potatoes and butter.
The next day we opened the Times-Picayune and saw a picture of us waiting in line. Now I guess I'll have to start a scrapbook. A link to the story is below.