#20 Among The 33 Best Seafood Eateries
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Blue Crab

West End & Bucktown: 7900 Lakeshore Dr. 504-284-2898. Map.

Of all the depredations laid down by hurricane Katrina to the New Orleans restaurant community, the worst was surely the total destruction of West End Park. With a history of dining as long as any other part of town but the French Quarter, the seafood restaurants along the shoreline predated the Civil War. Louis Armstrong’s first great record was “West End Blues.” Getting out there by way of boats, streetcars, and finally automobiles, every year at this time New Orleanians were pulled to West End for a platter of boiled and fried seafood. It truly was a rite of spring–one we can honor again. Sort of.

Deck at the Blue Crab

Deck at the Blue Crab

New Orleans aches for restaurants with views of Lake Pontchartrain. All we had for years after the storm was the chain Landry’s, with a fine lake vista but unconvincing food. The Blue Crab is more like we remember from Bruning’s, Fitzgerald’s, Swanson’s and all the other great West End seafood houses. Both in its food and its environment, everything about the place shouts localism. Noisy dining rooms, open decks, a great look at the sunset, and big piles of seafood make it the most nostalgic new restaurant in town.

Raw oysters.

Raw oysters.

Blue Crab’s menu includes all the dishes we remember from West End’s glory days: boiled seafood in its season, gigantic piles of fried everything, the famous West End-style whole flounder, and a good seafood gumbo. But where the old West End places stopped, Blue Crab keeps going: grilled and blackened fish, great raw and pretty good grilled oysters, seafood pastas with creamy sauces and salads surmounted by seafood. And it may be the only old-style seafood house with fresh-cut French fries.

Seafood platter at Blue Crab.

Seafood platter at Blue Crab.

The Blue Crab towers twenty feet above the spot where Bart’s stood for decades, alongside what’s left of the New Basin Canal, where private boats line up at their berths. At the Blue Crab’s own dock, mariners can have food brought to their boats, or they can climb up to the dining room. The Blue Crab opened in July 2013, almost two years after the first announcements of its coming. It was the third eatery to appear on the canal since Katrina, following Landry’s and Brisbi’s.


The building, being outside the levees and right on the water, rises some 20 feet in the air. (There’s an elevator.) This affords most diners a view of something or other. The outer deck looks across the phalanx of yachts and the Southern Yacht Club itself, with the Causeway and that lake underneath it framing the sunset at the appropriate time. These are, for obvious reasons, the most popular tables in the house, but the indoor dining rooms also give airy views. Unfortunately, when the indoor dining room is full, it is very noisy.


Onion rings
JalapeƱo hush puppies
Barbecue shrimp
Blue crab cakes, remoulade sauce
Buffalo shrimp or oysters
Oysters on the half shell
Char-grilled oysters
Oyster & artichoke soup
Seafood gumbo

Fried platters: shrimp, oysters, catfish, soft-shell crab
Barbecue shrimp & grits
Whole stuffed flounder

Shrimp, oyster, catfish, or soft-shell crab poor boy (fried or grilled)
Roast beef poor boy

Bread pudding

If you go out on the deck on a hot day, you will be thankful for the Bali Ha’i-style tropical cocktails the bar makes so well and generously.

If they’re going to make a big deal of its local fresh fish of the day, they need to apply a bit more quality control in its purchasing and preparation.

Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment +2
  • Consistency
  • Service+1
  • Value
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness -2
  • Local Color +2



  • Courtyard or deck dining
  • Romantic
  • Good view
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Historic
  • Oyster bar
  • Unusually large servings
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • No reservations

5 Readers Commented

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  1. dan on July 10, 2014

    good food. if only it had the atmosphere of fitzgeralds and brunings. when i ate there i felt i was in a hospital setting. more wood and more intriguing interior decoration would have been nice.

    • Tom Fitzmorris Author on July 11, 2014

      This will come in time. But Fitzgerald’s was over 50 years old when it went down, and Brinung’s went back to 1859. I’ll bet some of their early customers said the places didn’t have atmosphere.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

  2. Bob Vallon on November 2, 2014

    My wife and I ate there on Sunday afternoon about 3:30 PM. The place was about 50% full. The service was very average, but the time it took to get us our food was way too long. The 2 crab cakes that we ordered for a starter was pretty good but wasn’t worth $12.99. We then ordered the Blue Crab Platter for two. We told the waitress that we wanted it with the soft shell crab. The price for that was $39.95. About 15 minutes later the waitress came back to say that they didn’t have anymore soft shell crabs. She should have known that when she took our order. About an half an hour later we finally received our main course. While we were starting to eat our meal, I noticed that we didn’t have one of the items (jalenpino corn fritters) that was suppose to come with our meal. When I brought it up to the waitress, she said that they no longer served that item on their menus. As we were leaving the restaurant, we was several people with jalenino corn fritters on their plates. With that kind of overall service, I don’t think we will be back. FYI, that was the first time that we went to this restaurant.

  3. Ron Chesnut on February 16, 2016

    Ditto on the fresh fish quality comment. Wish someone like a Brightson or a Besch had opened it.

  4. ANNA on May 12, 2016

    I along with many friends have eaten at the Blue Crab and have never gotten any thing we didn’t like. The food is always good. And our service is great. If you want fast food this is not a fast food place.