This is way out of the chronology (though not as much as, say, the posts I have left to do about our Thailand trip in June, or leftover Italy posts from May backwards) but, hey, it's a restaurant that's pretty much a New Orleans institution and I'd hate to let the opportunity to blog it slip by.
Actually, it's hard to believe that we were at Drago's only a month ago. Seems like a lot has happened since then!
The day we went to Drago's was a long one. We'd spent most of the day sorting through the various things we'd left at Mama Bear and GQ's house, trying to figure out what all would be coming with us to Austin and what would be going to various donation centers. The cats seemed happy to see us, but were still mad about the year-long vanishing act we'd pulled.
Stinky wanted to make sure we'd remember to bring him.
I think Fatty was just traumatized by the whole ordeal he'd had (he spent two days outside before we arrived) to want to leave the immediate vicinity.
I can't say that all of this sorting and driving back and forth to Goodwill and cat-dodging was the most relaxing way to spend the day, which is at least part of the reason we jumped on GQ's idea of meeting for dinner at Drago's. It's barely on the other side of the Causeway Bridge from Husbear's folks in Mandeville.
We arrived right about at prime eating time, just before 7. (Most Italian restaurants wouldn't even be open at 7.) The cavernous place was packed to the rafters, and since they don't take reservations, there was a good number of people waiting at the bar to be seated. We got drinks and went to watch Drago's signature dish being prepared.
Charbroiled oysters! To me, oysters have always been something best served raw, so I was more than a little suspicious of what was going on here. Especially the huge spouts of flame that kept shooting from the grill - how could they not be overcooked?
When we were seated after an elevator ride to the second floor (!), twenty minutes or so later (hey, not that bad!) we of course had to order a dozen first thing.
And I've gotta say I'm a convert. These oysters were barely cooked, still with that nice briny poppy oysterness to them, but layered on top of that was the always welcome flavor of the grill. Plus, a giant ladleful of butter and a hit of parmesan cheese. I mean, what's not to like?
We did giggle at the folks over at the next table, who were examining their plate of charbroiled oysters as if it had just arrived from Venus. After they poked at the bivalves for a long moment, the man at the head of the table started cutting each in half. We could barely contain ourselves.
Oh, like you don't laugh when you see people eating hamburgers with a knife and fork, or trying to bite directly into an unshelled crab leg.
ANYWAY, we also ordered a dozen fresh raw Louisiana oysters, caught just down the road. This platter occasioned stares from the folks next door. Come to think of it, I wonder where they were from?
These were delicious, and so fresh I'm surprised they allowed themselves to be eaten. They almost didn't need accompaniments, and if I had less of a horseradish addiction, I would have left them alone.
And, well, why not get a third appetizer?
These are the fleur-de-lis shrimp, fried and then tossed with peanuts and a nicely spicy aioli. The combination came across as vaguely Asian. Thankfully, the shrimp retained a lot of their fried crunch after being tossed with the sauce, though I'd recommend you eat these pretty quickly when they hit your table. Not that that should be a problem; they're ridonkulously tasty.
We opted to get three entrees to share, though GQ threatened to zealously guard the Crescent City Shrimp.
These arrived, floating in a sea of butter. They had a terrific grilly flavor and were well spiced, though the rosemary was a little overpowering. The dish was dangerous, since it asked repeatedly that you dip bread into its buttery, shrimpy, spicy sauce.
We also ordered the Shrimp and Eggplant Stack, which I would have enjoyed more had the tomato cream sauce been a little more seasoned. And perhaps with less cheese. The fried eggplant slices were perfectly done, though, and combining them with sauteed shrimp was genius. I swear I could see Husbear working out new dish ideas in his mind.
Our last choice was the unfortunatly named Shuckee Duckee. I'm sure I'm not the only person to feel like an ass ordering this dish, but it sure did sound tasty on the menu - blackened duck breast served with an oyster cream pasta.
Sorry this pic is a little blurry.
This was, unsurprisingly, an enormous amount of food. The duck was cooked quite nicely, though Husbear prefers his duck just about completely rare (and it's not common for restaurants to cook it that way). I really liked the pasta, too - the oyster flavor really dissipated through the entire sauce, so you didn't need to many to get a nice oystery flavor. Duck and oysters? Sign me up!
I don't know why, after all this, we felt the need to order dessert. Perhaps it was because our waiter told us the pecan cobbler was made with wild turkey and served with ice cream, and, well, that got us going.
While our waiter was walking away from the table to put in the order, Mama Bear leaned across the table to us. "Did he really say there was turkey in the dessert?"
Now, I can't say I didn't think the same thing for a second... but he meant this, not this.
Anyway, the dessert was delicious and poultry-free. Really sweet. I could only manage a couple of bites, but somehow it was all finished.
We stumbled out of the restaurant full of delicious Louisiana style oysters and yumminess. If you find yourself in the area (and you should; New Orleans and environs could really use your tourist dollars) go there. Yum.
Drago's. 3232 N. Arnoult Rd, Metairie, LA. 504.888.9254. No reservations.