A question that comes my way quite often is: "Where in the Quarter can we find really good seafood?" More often than not, the inquisitor is in search of platters of fried or boiled shrimp and crawfish and piles of fried catfish and oysters. I always have trouble recommending such a restaurant in the Vieux Carre, usually pointing them to Deanie's after drawing a blank on anywhere else. But lately my standard response has been, "If you don't taking a step in price, you should try GW Fins."
Blue Crab Pot Stickers
"Seafood at its Seasonal Peak" is the mantra at Fins, and from a quick glance at the menu diners learn that the preparations of this bounty are as likely to have roots in the Gulf Coast as they are in the Far East. Appetizers of seafood gumbo and shrimp remoulade are likely to share table space with a cylinder of yellow fin tuna tartare wrapped with thinly sliced cucumber and topped with mango, the plate sauced with squiggles of spicy wasabi and a hint of sweetness from what tasted like cane syrup. Softly decadent lobster ravioli may be the calling card of Fins' preludes, but the blue crab pot stickers deserve equal praise, with the crisped edges of the dumpling giving way to the soft filling for a nicely contrasting texture. Both are bathed a in a rich butter sauce, a recurring theme throughout the entire menu.
Parmesan Crusted Flounder
In my experience, entrees have been underwhelming when compared to the appetizers, though that judgment is not unique to Fins and may be a matter of personal preference. Parmesan crusted flounder was dry underneath its nutty and buttery crust, but the fried capers added a welcome salty crunch. Same for the sheepshead, the larget filet of which was hiding a dome of mac and cheese underneath - rich, creamy, and delicious as long as you are a fan of truffle oil. On the other hand, a cobia (lemonfish) special was perfectly cooked and served atop cubes of watermelon and mango. Wood grilled scallops were meaty and tender and placed atop a creamy mushroom risotto.
Wood Grilled Scallops
The circular dining room feels dated with its concentric semi-circles of leather banquettes, but the arrangement of most seats focuses the view toward the large windows opening onto Bienville Street. Service is respectable, with a cordial staff always available to refill your wine glass and replenish your bread plate with freshly baked drop biscuits which have become a trademark of service. Prices can run high when ordering multiple courses, but the $35 three course Fins Feast is a steal of deal.
GW Fins - Par/Birdie
808 Bienville Street