One week ago we were at Galatoire's for one of the best dining experiences we've ever had. And it wasn't just about the food. The celebratory ambience, hospitable staff, wonderful company, and an invitation to photograph the kitchen of one of New Orleans' oldest and most famous restaurants made our afternoon unforgettable.
Friday lunch at Galatoire's is a New Oreans tradition. Locals gather to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, reunions...any excuse for a party. We arrived late and were seated at 2pm after cocktails in the upstairs bar. The first thing you notice when you walk into the dining room is the revelry...people up and about and shouting across the room. We sang Happy Birthday at least 6 times to guests dressed in their absolute best. Feathered hats, sequined gowns, dripping jewels...you can't overdress at Galatoire's. Our table was in the back corner, the perfect place to view the festivities surrounding us. Our waiter, Imre, has worked at Galatoire's for 40 years, and when he found out this was our first visit he quickly snatched our menus away. From the kitchen poured the restaurant's favorite dishes...soufflé potatoes, shrimp rémoulade, oysters rockefeller, crab salad, poisson crabmeat yvonne, poisson mèuniere amandine. And then, Imre and Executive Chef Michael Sichel invited us into the kitchen. Sarah and I may have squealed...and jumped up and down a few times, too.
Welcome to Galatoire's...
Zinc Bistro, here in Charlottesville, is featuring some amazing dishes on their summer menu. After watching chef Justin Hershey work for a few hours and trying not to drool on the beautiful food I was photographing, I wondered why I don't eat at Zinc every night of the week. They're going to have to peel me out of the restaurant by the end of this season...
Commonwealth Restaurant + Skybar is set to open on the downtown mall this June and I, for one, cannot wait to enjoy people-watching from atop the corner roof deck. This is the newest restaurant project of Alex George, former owner of the much-missed Just Curry, who is opening Commonwealth with four investors. The cuisine is "new american with a south american influence" and from what I sampled at a small dinner Alex orchestrated last weekend, it promises to be delicious.
Congratulations, Alex, on this new endeavor!
diver scallops with chorizo, rocket, and dill
crab, coconut, and coriander soup
golden beet tinted chilean sea bass with roasted beets and wilted baby greens
local grilled lamb chops with lavender-honey gravy and minted mushy peas
crispy polyface farms chicken breast with violet mustard sauce, peas, and black bean puree
cinnamon + golden raisin bread pudding