Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Study in Charbroiled Oysters: Acme and Drago

Even though I have visited New Orleans a half-dozen times, I had never sampled one of their homegrown delicacies: charbroiled oysters. We more than made up for this last weekend.

Our first food stop of the trip was the famed Acme Oyster House (http://www.acmeoyster.com/), located off Bourbon and Iberville Streets. After enduring the flight from DC and enjoying a "welcome to NOLA" cocktail, we were famished and not wholly prepared for the line that awaited us. But we persevered and were rewarded with seats at the Oyster bar where they were busily shucking huge Louisiana Oysters.

We ordered a dozen of the charbroiled oysters ($16.99) straight away and settled in with a couple of Abita beers. While waiting, I asked how many oysters were shucked nightly, whereupon the shucker responded with the precise and no doubt often-told answer: between a buttload and a shitload. Mystery solved.

Our oysters arrived bubbling hot and topped with a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese which had melted into the butter sauce. Once grilled the oysters cook down to plump bites with what looks like lasagna-type layers from the side. Each oyster was juicy and delicious with a kick of lemon and french bread for soaking up the extra sauce.

Acme Oyster House on Urbanspoon

Two days later at the New Orleans Po' Boy Festival, we again got to try the same dish, but this time by the inventors of the concept: Drago's (Drago's Seafood Restaurant). These oysters had more char and less cheese and were equally as plump and juicy.

And while it is a tough choice, the winner was Drago's, but I may just have to go back soon and make sure I made the right decision!

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