(from our archives) My daughter and (then) her boyfriend were in town last week, she wanted “classic cuisine,” and although there aren’t many places I favor more than Gallatoires, for some reason (DOH!) I decided to take them to Antoine’s. The good news is, having two underage guests at dinner greatly cuts down on the bar bill. The bad news is, maybe copious amounts of alcohol would have made dinner better.
Now I’m all for tradition and all that. Antoine’s is, according to some, the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the country, and still under the original family’s guidance. That’s just wunnaful, I guess. There are stories of families who have worked there longer than, well something, and “waiter jackets” that have been passed down from one generous to the next. That’s fine too.
We dined on Saturday night, and were promptly seated. Though I had made reservations, we really didn’t need them, even though the city was full of conventioneers. Some big rooms are intimate, and some are just loud and garish, and I think Antoine’s falls into the latter category.
Service was attentive, but unobtrusive, and that’s important, although our primary server, really didn’t seem to be too interested in our experience. Perhaps that’s because most days I resemble a crazy looking David Crosby (there’s a visual, huh?), and since I was accompanied by two teenagers, perhaps the server thought we were just “passing through,” like most other diners that night.
We weren’t feeling adventurous, so we stuck to those dishes which Antoine’s is noted for: the pompano, oysters rockefeller, and so on. The starters, a salad, and escargot, were fine. (How can you goof up anything you soak in garlic and butter? I always thought sponges would taste ok that way).
The mains were just “ho-hum.” My daughter’s first inclination was to go for the bouillabaisse, but she waffled at the last moment and went for the trout, a decision she regretted. I went for the pompano en papillote, which is one of their “usuals,” but it could as well have been served on an airplane. The only thing interesting about it was the shrimp was rather flavorful, but the white wine sauce? White gravy whose sole (har har) purpose seemed to be to hide the fish. Which I am not really sure if it was pompano, I forgot to ask, and many restaurants are substituting other fish for both pompano and redfish. Be sure to ask your server!
I didn’t notice what the boyfriend had, I was trying my best to pretty much ignore him all weekend, and he was confused about the quantity of cutlery anyway.
We split the crepes suzette for dessert, and it would have served more than three, for they completely overdid the liqueur and brandy. The coffee was OK.
$180 for three, with only one cocktail in the bunch. That was mine, and it was vodka on the rocks. Come to think of it, that wasn’t very good either, and the olives were downright embarrassing.
There are finer places in NOLA to get classic continental cuisine. IMHO, Antoine’s isn’t worth the necktie required to get in the door.