WHY IT'S NOTEWORTHY
The original idea here was to offer the environment and menu of a cafe in the fishing-camp town of Grand Isle--one of the several ends of the earth on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. That have evolved over the years into a menu much like you'd find in a good, funky New Orleans neighborhood place, but served in a squeaky-clean, hotel-restaurant kind of way.
This is emphatically a seafood house, with the oyster bar the most attractive source of eats, followed by boiled, fried, and grilled seafood platters. An all-appetizer meal is the best plan of all, although the grilled fish of the day is always nice.
Grand Isle opened in the back end of Harrah's Hotel in 2004, with Chef Joel Dondis as the original tastemaker. It opened with a strong seafood offering--particularly in the oyster and chilled seafood departments--and a bunch of overly inventive country-style dishes. Mark Falgoust took over the kitchen in 2008, and after an initial dip in the goodness of the food things have steadily improved, with familiar local classics replacing the contrived ones.
If you've ever been to the likes of Grand Isle, you'll recognize some of the elements of the decor here. But really the place is too slick and surrounded by too many tall buildings for that feeling to take hold. That matter past, it's a pleasant dining room with cypress panels and, wood floors, and tile, surmounted with historic photos of the real Gulf Coast.
»Oysters on half shell
»Boiled shrimp cocktail or remoulade
Marinated blue crab claws
Boiled crawfish in season
Maine lobster, hot or cold
Chilled seafood platters
»Grand oysters (baked, tasso, jalapeno, Havarti)
»Oysters Falgoust (crawfish, béchamel, ham)
»Oysters Fourchon (bread crumbs, garlic, parmesan)
»Oyster sampler (two each of above)
»Crabmeat au gratin
Mussels, wine, lemon, tomato
Grand Isle salad (shrimp, oysters, or crabmeat optional)
Poor boy sandwiches
»Shrimp Caminada (spicy citrus butter, Asian slaw)
Hamburger on brioche bun
Oven roasted chicken, boudin dressing
»Smoked and braised beef brisket
»Shrimp and grits, andouille gravy
»Pasta au Pimonté (shrimp, mussels, oysters, crawfish)
»Pecan crusted catfish meuniere
»Grilled Gulf fish of the day
Chili butter baked fish
»Sautéed fish with brown butter and crawfish etouffee
Fried seafood platter
Fried shrimp platter
Fried catfish platter
Fried oyster plate
FOR BEST RESULTS
The simpler the dish (starting with raw oysters and boiled shrimp), the better it is. The saucier fish dishes get confused, and the meat dishes are just there for those who don't eat seafood.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
They had great oysters Rockefeller and Bienville here when they first opened, and I wish they still did. The servers often seem distracted.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine and Bar +1
- Local Color +1
- Sidewalk tables
- Good for business meetings
- Medium private room
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open most holidays
- Open after 10 p.m.
- Open all afternoon
- Oyster bar
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations accepted
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