Day 2 of our epic New Orleans food run, and we're just getting to the good stuff. Yes, beignets, rabbit jambalaya, and red beans & rice are good and all, but tonight, Yien and I are in the mood for a hearty helping of some Gulf SEAFOOD! So, we headed to Acme Oyster House, our spirits already uplifted by the simple fact that one in every three words has to do with seafood at this joint.
Have you ever seen Man vs. Food? You know, that show that chronicles one dude's weight gain over 3 years of binge eating? No? Food challenges? That's it. Well, there's an episode where Adam Richman attempts to eat 15 dozen raw oysters from Acme Oyster House. First of all, that's an invitation to get Vibrio vulnificus, but more importantly, why would you want to eat raw oysters to the point where you get sick and never want to see another oyster again? That's a pyrrhic victory.
I'll be honest, I did think about doing the challenge for a second. One second, because as it turns out, what's your reward for finishing 180 oysters within an hour? A t-shirt, a hat, your name on the board, and a bill for $101.25. That's after the 50% discount Acme gives you for finishing. And if you don't finish? Double up the bill and head home, son, cause you sure as heck won't have any money left to spend on Bourbon Street after dropping $200+ on oysters.
All kidding aside, these were the best oysters I have ever had. Granted, I haven't been eating oysters for very long, but Boston, New York, and Chicago have nothing on the Gulf of Mexico. These oysters were gigantic, meaty, and full of that briny ocean taste that I love about raw oysters. Seriously, why do people eat oysters any other way? The horseradish, cocktail sauce, and crackers were average, but when you've got such gems to work with, you don't have to work hard dressing them up.
We're not done yet, not by a long shot. Next up: a full pound of boiled crawfish, straight from the Gulf. Hell, even the presentation looks like someone just brought them in from the fishing boats moored not far down the Mississippi from the French Quarter. These tiny little lobsters were so insanely tasty, boiled with cajun seasonings so delicious you'll want to suck the heads after all the meat's gone (hence the phrase).
There's not a lot of meat in these little suckers - besides the tail, you can get some from the claws, but that's it - but they were well worth the money and the effort. The meat is juicy and bursting with not just the seasonings thrown in by the chef, but the flavors of the ocean too. If you're a seafood fan, don't leave New Orleans without getting some of these in your belly.
To finish off our amazing seafood feast, we ordered up a plate of Seafood Etouffee. This Creole specialty is made with a roux (what isn't?) that forms the gravy, with shrimp, sausage, & crawfish added in and served on a bed of white rice. We got the "deluxe version," which adds a side of fried crawfish tails to go along with the etouffee.
I don't say this very often, so consider it significant: this is my new favorite food. No, not favorite cajun food or New Orleans food. My favorite food, period. The gravy was spot on, mixing a wonderful seafood flavor with the perfect amount of spiciness. The shrimp and crawfish were cooked beautifully, with enough tenderness and pop to balance out the otherwise soft textures of the rice and gravy. Finally, as if that weren't enough, the fried crawfish tails gave even more crunch to each bite and were a welcome addition, although the dish is perfect without them.
For showing us what seafood is all about, and for giving me my new favorite food, Acme Oyster House earns 5 Cherries.