Best Shrimp Cocktail

Bar Natasha

Shrimp cocktail is a classic nightclub dish. It was as much a staple of the first "celebrity" nightclubs in the 1940s and '50s -- think Ciro's, the Stork Club, the El Morocco -- as a martini, a Manhattan or an unfiltered cigarette. It's called a cocktail because the shrimp were often perched on the edge of a martini glass. At Bar Natasha, the kitchen borrows an oversized margarita glass from the bar to concoct the Mexican-influenced coctel de camarón, created by chef Lou Jane Temple. "You have to have nice big, cold shrimp," says Temple, who uses six big ol' prawns with a spicy rémoulade sauce made with Dijon and Creole mustards, horseradish, lemon, cayenne and paprika. To cool down the fiery sauce, there's diced mango and avocado, too. Because shrimp and avocado are both reputed aphrodisiacs, we can imagine what happens when lusty bar patrons follow up a shrimp cocktail with one of owner Missy Koonce's potent concoctions -- say, a straight-up Belvedere martini with blue-cheese stuffed olives.

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