Tuesday, February 22, 2011

drago's seafood restaurant

some of you  might know that i am a food network fanatic. it is my go-to channel all the time and i think i watch it more than any other tv network. one of my favorite shows on the network is called "the best thing i ever ate" where the celebrity chefs or the big names in the food industry share the best thing they have ever had and tell viewers where to find them.

from foodnetwork.com

on the grilled edition of "the best thing i ever ate", adam gertler was raving about the grilled oysters at drago's seafood restaurant in metairie, lousiana. so basically, i researched a lil bit on foodnetwork.com to see what food places we could go try while i was in louisiana and stumbled upon this and i knew i wanted to get myself some grilled oysters.


drago's seafood restaurant is known to be the home of the original charbroiled oysters. it is a well known restaurant in new orleans which was started and owned by a croatian family. to be honest, i guess i've never really heard of this restaurant until i saw it on food network but it is definitely a huge hit with people in louisiana. when we got there, it was crowded and it was a ten minute wait for a table.



as we walked towards our table, i could see stacks and stacks of oysters pile on the counter waiting to be fired up on the very hot and blazing grill. it was actually quite a treat to see that. ryan's grandmother didn't think of anything special with the charbroiled oysters here in drago and added that she had better at another restaurant. but i was determined to try it out anyway.

the decor of the place was nice and simple with a bar on the right as you come in through the entrance. the back dining room was dimly lit but spacious. the staff were really friendly which i really like.

so just for ryan and myself, we ordered an appetizer and two entrees to share cos we couldn't make up my minds on just one entree.

firstly, the main reason why we were there: their famous original charbroiled oysters.


i was really excited to try some. although i am not (yet) a huge fan of raw oysters, i love slightly cooked oysters cos of its brininess and the freshness of the oysters which isn't cold and raw.


was it the best thing i ever ate? not exactly. it was very tasty but it didn't sweep me off my feet. i think the issue is that the garlic butter sorta overpowers the delicate flavors of the oyster that it almost masks it fully and it seems all i get from the oyster is the texture. i mean i love the savoriness of the cheese and the garlic with just a squeeze of lemon which makes it come together but i'd like to taste the oyster as well which i had difficulty picking up. for one or two oysters, it was somewhat gritty like there were some small bits of shell left which was a lil disappointing.


ryan thinks that it was hard to discern whether the oysters were fresh because of the other stuff that was on it (though his grandmother who had fresh raw oysters confirmed that the oysters were fresh and delicious). i asked him if he compared the oysters we got from girl&the goat or this was better, he said the former was his preference which i concur. although i 'd get this again just because i am such an oyster lover.

his mom and sister ordered crab meat au gratin dip | jumbo lump crabmeat served au gratin style with tortilla chips. i can't help but compare it to the one we had from parrain's.


a much bigger serving of melty cheesy goodness. the au gratin here is just as delicious as the one from parrain's but i have to say the edge goes to parrain's for their garlic toasts which paired very well with the dip. the amount of lump crab here was generous which is totally fine by me :)

one of our main entree was called shuckee duckee | blackened duck breast over linguini pasta with oysters and cream sauce. i just love the name! haha.


omg. i love this dish. i love the lightness of the cream sauce and OMG love the oysters! it's like eating a creamy but not overwhelmingly heavy pasta with small briny surprises with each bite from the oysters. even though it might seem it is like two completely separate dishes on  a plate but it's awesome when you combine both the flavors. the duck was moist, slightly gamey (which is good), succulent and seasoned very well.

there were a few downsides to the dish. while it is described as blackened which meant cooking in a hot cast iron skillet, the lack of good crust on the skin side meant it wasn't done properly. it was really quite a challenge to cut through the skin. other than that, i would totally recommend this dish.

the second entree was a grilled shrimp pasta | fresh gulf shrimp, lightly seasoned and grilled, with angel hair pasta and creole sauce. garnished with fresh parmesan and romano cheese.


this dish was also well executed. ryan thought that the pasta sauce tasted like store bought salsa in a bottle which i disagree although i can see why he might have felt so. the sauce had a combination of tomatoes, green bell peppers and onions cooked down and it was slightly sweet and savory but it didn't taste anything like salsa. i actually liked it. the shrimp was definitely the star of the dish. it was grilled to perfection and seasoned well to compliment the natural sweetness of the shrimp. the only problem i had with the dish was that the dish felt like it was disjointed instead of it being a single dish.

for drago's seafood restaurant to stay this popular among the locals and tourists in the midst of all the other great restaurants in new orleans has gotta mean they are doing something right. :)

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others


p.s. i've got a lot of entry catching up to do. 3 restaurants in san francisco and a few more from restaurant week from this weekend. i'll be picking up restaurant week first since it is a lot more recent. watch out for it!

Drago's Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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