My family and I had dinner at Acme Oyster House on a recent weekend, early enough to beat what became a fair-sized crowd. The restaurant sits off of U.S. 98 in Seascape Towne Center. Outside, you won’t miss the big pink and green sign. Inside, the place is big. Ceilings are high, tables are covered with black-and-white checkered cloths, there’s wooden floors and dark wood accents, brick red walls, and a bar just left of center.
Over the bar is a huge neon sign that reads: “Oysters.” You can drink, eat, or just watch the folks opening and grilling oysters. The scent from the grill is seductive.
Each year I hope the oyster harvest will increase and we will be past the lean times we’ve been dealing with since 2012. There seemed to be no lack of oysters that night.
My wife, our daughter Grace and I got a table in the middle, giving us a 360-degree view of the diners. There were couples, families, and more than a few New Orleanians on holiday (I lived in the Crescent City for 10 years, and the working class accent is unmistakable).
Our server, Natalie, brought us menus, told us the fish of the day (swordfish), took drink orders and left us to decide.
Acme offers oysters raw in the shell, chargrilled, and in shooters (shot of vodka, oyster, down the hatch). There are appetizers, salads, New Orleans specialties, Po’boys, and both fried and grilled platters.
I was set on breaking my raw oyster fast (last time was January), so I ordered a dozen on the half-shell. Neither my wife nor Grace eat raw oysters, so we got a sharing app of meat pies. While we were waiting, I noticed the table had three bottles of Tabasco sauce—regular, jalapeño and Buffalo wing style.
The oysters and meat pies came. My dozen were of medium size, full-flavored and briny, with horseradish, cocktail sauce, and lemons. Saltines were already on the table. I just pinned my ears back and relished the experience. I tasted a meat pie—fried crisp, full of finely ground beef, onions and seasonings, with a little spicy kick at the end. I tried some of the Buffalo Tabasco, and was glad I did.
Other starters include chargrilled oysters, “boo fries” with beef gravy and cheese (like Quebec’s poutine), wings, crab claws, onion rings, craw puppies, “boom boom” shrimp in a creamy sauce, crab cake with sweet corn maque choux, boiled seafood, and a sampler plate. There are also salads, dinner salad options with shrimp, chicken, fried oysters or assorted seafood. Soups include seafood, chicken and andouille gumbo, and an Oysters Rockefeller soup that sounded intriguing.
My daughter ordered a fried fish kids meal. My wife chose the fried shrimp and fish combo plate, adding an optional soft-shell crab. I ordered the grilled marinated shrimp, with sweet potato fries.
The entrees showed up just as I downed the 12th oyster; “I’ll get those out the way,” said Natalie in Ninth Ward fashion, clearing the platter of shells. The soft-shell crab was perhaps the fattest I have ever seen, plump and big enough to share (I got a crunchy, meaty leg). My wife took about half of her crisp cornmeal fried fish home (she finished the shrimp).
I got about 15 mid-to-large-sized shrimp, shelled and ready to eat, in a spicy marinade with a fruity, teriyaki-style glaze. There were plenty of sweet potato fries, which went home with my wife and daughter’s leftover fish.
Other main courses include seafood étouffée, oyster, shrimp, fish, crawfish, soft-shell crab, ham, turkey, sausage, chicken, or pot roast Po’boys, hamburger, fried fish and seafood platters, jambalaya, and fried fish Pontchartrain (topped with crab and shrimp in a butter cream sauce). They also have red beans and rice.
Dessert is worth consideration at Acme when planning your meal. My wife declined, so it was up to me and Grace. I like bread pudding, she doesn’t. That left a brownie sundae, pecan cobbler, chocolate caramel pie, root beer float, and ice cream. We compromised on the pie. It’s a cross between a ganache, ice box pie, and cheesecake, served cold but not frozen solid (that happens sometimes with this kind of dessert). It’s flavorful and not excessively rich. I ate most of it—Grace is only seven, with a small tummy.
New Orleans too far a drive? Go to Seascape and belly up to the oyster bar at Acme.
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