As 2018 marks the 300th birthday of our great city, we can be sure that any and everything relating to New Orleans this year will be particularly special. It’s obvious that this will hold true for the upcoming Mardi Gras season that officially kicks off on Twelfth Night (or Jan. 6). But did you know that the oldest, and arguably most famous restaurant in New Orleans will be celebrating its very own holiday just four days later? On Wednesday, Jan. 10, the legendary Antoine’s (which also happens to be the oldest, continuously-operating restaurant in the entire country) will honor the city with the 2nd annual “National Oysters Rockefeller Day,” named after their 1899 platter that has been sold and consumed in New Orleans more than 4.6 million times!
Oysters Rockefeller is widely considered as one of the greatest culinary creations in history, with chefs all around the world presenting their own versions of the iconic dish. But the only place you can experience the way it was meant to be eaten is at Antoine’s, as the original recipe of Jules Alciatore (son of Antoine) remains a closely-guarded family secret. A family, I might add, which still owns Antoine’s to this very day! Pioneering the art of cooked oysters, it’s interesting to note that this famous recipe almost didn’t come to pass. At the end of the 19th century, escargots were the delicacy of choice for New Orleanians and a shortage of snails coming in from Europe had Jules searching for a locally-abundant replacement: the oyster.
Serving as a veritable kick-off to many forthcoming culinary Tricentennial celebrations, Antoine’s will offer a free order of Oysters Rockefeller to anyone dining either in the main restaurant or at Hermes Bar during lunch or dinner on National Oysters Rockefeller Day. Wine pairings of William Fevre Chablis, Burgundy, or Chardonnay 2015 will be available for $14.50 a glass or $55 for the bottle. Antoine’s, the premier French Creole dining establishment since 1840, is located at 713 St. Louis St. in the French Quarter. For more information, visit www.antoines.com.