by Ian McNulty
The drinks have been flowing for a while now in the new bar that Galatoire’s Restaurant developed in the building adjacent to its landmark Bourbon Street address, though plans for the large dining room just beyond the bar remained unclear. Now this new Galatoire’s operation has a name and the whole concept is set to debut Wednesday, April 10.
It’s called Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak, and it will function as a stand-alone bar and as a new steakhouse.
“It’s really a traditional steakhouse menu with just a few dishes from next door,” says Melvin Rodrigue, the restaurant’s president and chief operating officer.
That menu will feature USDA prime steaks plus a few French Creole set pieces, like shrimp remoulade, oysters Rockefeller and turtle soup. There will also be lobster maison, he says, which sounds like an up-market twist on the restaurant’s famous crabmeat maison, and a platter of appetizers, the Gouté “33,” with horseradish-crusted bone marrow and deviled eggs with crab ravigote and smoked trout. Galatoire’s executive chef Michael Sichel will oversee Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak as well.
Last summer, Galatoire’s announced its purchase of the three-story building beside its original restaurant. That space had previously been a location of Mike Anderson’s Seafood, but it had been vacant for years. The Galatoire’s 33 name is a reference to an address the building used in the past as part of a now-obsolete street numbering system, Rodrigue explains.
In addition to the bar and steakhouse, the building now holds private dining rooms on its upper floors.
The bar area is roughly the same size as Galatoire’s no-reservations first floor dining room, and the mirror-backed, polished-wood and brass bar itself runs of much of this length. With tile floors, a pressed tin ceiling and marble-top bar tables, the room has a classic look but an altogether different design from the iconic room next door. There are also TVs to show sports and a grand piano where local musician Jep Epstein performs Thursdays through Saturdays, from 9 p.m. to midnight. On Wednesday nights, from 6-9 p.m., the bar has a half-price ($4) deal on a menu of classic cocktails.
It's become standard practice in most coverage of Galatoire’s these days to note how any little modification at the 108-year-old French Creole stalwart might upset its fiercely loyal regulars. And as these things go, the addition of a new bar, TVs, live music and a whole second restaurant concept is big.
But this raft of changes also feels timely and optimistic, and maybe even a little brave. The old restaurant has long felt like an Old World oasis amid the lowest common denominator of T-shirt shops, daiquiri bars and scoop-and-serve tourist trap restaurants that have loudly held sway along Bourbon Street. But the city’s most famous street once had more dining and entertainment options that weren’t so cartoonish, and at least from early visits it seems that Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak is reclaiming a little more turf for class acts.
The bar is open daily from 11 a.m. while the steakhouse serves dinner nightly and lunch on Fridays. Reservations for the steakhouse are accepted.
Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak
215 Bourbon St., (504) 525-2021