On busy days (which happen more often than not), there are bouncers at the door of Acme Oyster House. You’ve got to respect a seafood and po-boy joint that requires muscle to keep the crowds of hungry visitors in check. Fortunately, the post-Katrina expansion of this French Quarter flagship and the finely tuned staff running the place means the lines move quickly and, thanks to the extra security, somewhat politely.
Naturally, oyster po-boys are a specialty here. Fried up crunchy or served slippery raw, few restaurants in New Orleans rifle through the volume of briny native oyster that shuckers at Acme do. The trucks delivering fresh oysters are as common a sight on Iberville Street as the line to get into the restaurant.
The best seat in the house is at the raw bar, where veteran (and award-winning) shuckers plow through iced-down heaps of oysters like, well, like it’s their job—quickly and carefully, so the chilled bivalves are generally free of grit and shell. Detractors say the place has gone corporate over the years, but Acme still makes a fine version of the Peace Maker, slathered with Tabasco mayo and stuffed with a raft of fried oysters and shrimp. Acme is also one of the few places in the French Quarter I’d order a softshell crab po-boy.
The flagship location of Acme Oyster House is still the place visitors flock for classic New Orleans po-boys, fried seafood and one of the best raw bars in town.