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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
A PERSONAL REVIEW OF RESTAURANTS AROUND THE WORLD

ARNAUD'S
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

This has been a favorite of New Oreleanians for decades.  We first experienced it back in 1972 and I'll always remember that night.

I was doing news on WNOE radio and when my father came down to visit us, we took him to Arnaud's.  My wife and I had our backs to the door but my father faced the entranceway. Being the conservative that he was, he saw a group enter the restaurant and muttered something like:  "Look at those #### punks.  They shouldn't be allowed in a fine place like this."  We turned around to view the "low life" my dad had spotted and guess who it was?  Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones!  I tried to explain to my father that these "low life" guys could easily buy this restaurant and the entire block, for that matter, with their pocket change!  He was still disturbed that they were allowed to dine there wearing their bright, funny clothes.

Arnaud's was an exceptional place for many years and then slipped a bit years ago until the new owner took over.  Archie Casbarian has done a great job with this fabulous old gal.

You can't go wrong with anything on the menu but we have our favorites, of course!

We always start out with Shrimp Arnaud.  It's their version of shrimp in remoulade sauce.  And I hate to admit it but we usually split an order of Oysters Bienville, too.  After all, they were created at this very famous restaurant. They are lightly baked fresh oysters with shrimp and wine and cooked until they're just warm inside.  If you're into bisques, the shrimp bisque is a stand-out.  My daughter just couldn't get enough of it.

The main course is tough decision.  Shrimp Creole is a favorite and doesn't pose a threat to your arteries since it's features a tomato based sauce.  Another thing Arnaud's does extremely well is Trout Meuniere.  This isn't the trout you're thinking of. This doesn't come from a mountain stream in Colorado.  This is speckled trout that is fished out of the saltwater bays along the Gulf coast and it's delicious.  This particular rendition is fried and then topped with Creole brown butter sauce.  You could also choose from a fine selection of beef and fowl but when we come here, we come for fresh Louisiana seafood and you probably should, too.

They offer various side dishes but you simply must try Souffle Potatoes. I don't know how they do it but they cut fresh potatoes into very flat pieces and then lightly deep fry them causing them to puff up like little balloons.  They're wonderful and if you have kids dining with you, they'll flip over them.

After a rich dessert and coffee, ask your waiter to point you toward the Mardi Gras Museum.  Technically it's called the Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum.  They have various carnival masks costumes and a little gift shop where you can buy, among other things, a really great Arnaud's cookbook.

There are many, many incredible restaurants in the Big Easy including Antoine's, Galatoire's, Commander's Palace, Brennan's and on and on.  But one of our very favorites has to be Arnaud's.

Arnaud's is located at 813 Rue Bienville.  Their phone number (and DO secure reservations) is (866) 230-8891 and that's a toll free number.  They have an outstanding web site HERE.

 

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