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New Orleans Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


chezcherie
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Full report to come, but thank you all so much for your recommendations. I simply do not have enough time in this beautiful city, but so far have hit Tujaques for garlicky chicken bon femme (the waiter was very impressed when I went off "menu" for it) and a divine Sazerac, Johnny's for a po boy that was so gigantic that I had to give half to the guys at the next table, Cafe du Monde for beignets and an iced cafe au lait, and Southern Candymakers for pralines to cart home to New York. (All this and I arrived late yesterday afternoon and have simultaneously been attending a style-cramping conference.) Am hoping to dine at the bar at August tonight.

Thank you again. If you can figure out a way to show me the rest of your recommendations on a map I can try to get to the rest before I leave tomorrow. :laugh:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just got back from New Orleans, my wife and I spent 3 days in the city, this is a few of my favorites.

Mothers - Ferdi Special

Drago's - Chargrilled Oysters

Acme Oyster House - Oysters on the Halfshell

Red Fish Grill - Hicory Smoked Snapper, Double Chocolate Bread Pudding

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Drago's should have a new location open soon at the downtown Hilton. I'm looking forward to easier access to the cargrilled oysters.

Nothing better than a good, cargrilled oyster. I usually cook mine on an old Chrysler New Yorker. Plenty of room for lots of oysters in that big, old roadhog.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Drago's should have a new location open soon at the downtown Hilton. I'm looking forward to easier access to the cargrilled oysters.

Nothing better than a good, cargrilled oyster. I usually cook mine on an old Chrysler New Yorker. Plenty of room for lots of oysters in that big, old roadhog.

What great is, if you've got the right rig, you can use the exhaust pipe for smoked oysters.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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  • 1 month later...

Walk out of the front door of the casino and either walk just a bit to your left on Canal and then right on Decatur. About 8 blocks on your left, catty cornered across from General Jackson, you will find Cafe DuMonde.

If you aren't into walking a half mile or so, walk out of the casino, go towards the river, catch a convenient Riverfront streetcar, and ride it to the back of the place.

Either way, you aren't far. There used to be a place in the Riverwalk, but honestly, I don't even know what's open in there anymore. It's a nice shopping area (if you like that sort of thing) that now gets so little traffic that it's kind of sad. Even during the holidays it was pretty dead.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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What's the best spot for beignets near Harrah's?  I'm in New Orleans on business right now and don't have as much free time as I'd like, thus the request for close proximity.

Where else are you eating while you are here?

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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  • 1 month later...

Will be going to New Orleans this coming week, looking for suggestions for Sunday brunch, lunch, dinner and drinking establishments. I have reservations for dinner at Luke, Restaurant August and Brigtsen's so far, where else should I go?

Thanks,

Dave

Edited by David Crum (log)
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We had the 9 course tasting at August with the wine tasting. Simply the Best restaurant experience we have ever had. I have pictures from the weekend, I just need time to post them.

We had lunch at Antoine's and Dinner at Arnuad's in the Jazz Club side both excellent meals.

We had Brunch at Brennan's and it was good but came in last place compared with all the other places we went to.

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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When we were in New Orleans for the Tales of the Cocktail recently, Todd Price arranged a dinner at Cochon, which was very good. I'll second August, as well. Luke had a nice breakfast menu, although maybe if you're having dinner there you won't want to go twice. Last year when I was in town for the conference, Herbsaint was my overall favorite of the places I tried.

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Go to Parkway Bakery for a po'boy or po'boys.

We had an excellent dinner at Cafe Adelaide, you might check them for brunch. And cocktails at the Swizzle Stick bar is a must.

Lunch at Cochon is what we did and it was great.

Get in touch with TAPrice and meet up with him somewhere, he is a nice guy.

And go have breakfast one morning at the Camilla Grill out at Riverbend just for the experience.

Someplace else to go is Angelo Brocatos out on Carrollton just off Canal to have some Spumoni Ice Cream or some canoli's.

Have fun.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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Check out Herbsaint. Impressive. Look at the New Orleans threads for some ideas. Enjoy - be careful.

Jmahl

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been meaning to write something about Brett Anderson's recent article in the TP on the state of restaurants.

He quotes Alberta Pate, owner of the upscale Alberta, which opened after the storm:

"It was only after the more traditional New Orleans restaurants that have been in existence for some time started to open that our business started to slow down," Pate said. "I'm not saying that the older ones aren't struggling. It's just that it's the new ones that are closing, and I wonder if there's a thread."

New Orleans saw a surprising number of new restaurants open following Katrina, and there's no arguing that in 2007 a fair number of them have closed. Ristorante Civello, Jackson and Longbranch have all gone dark in recent months. Fire and Nardo's, two restaurants that were too new prior to Katrina to have built sizable clienteles, have also closed.

I would actually argue that a fair number of them have not close. Rather, a small number closed, and that number is actually no different than the general rate of attrition for new restaurants (which do not, no matter the myth, fail at a rate of 90%).

Honestly, I'm surprised how few closures we've had since the storm. I don't understand it, and I'm constantly asking restaurateurs how it's possible. Sure, locals eat out a lot, but I just can't believe that they're eating out enough to make up for lost revenue from tourists and conventioneers.

Here are places that show up in 2007 Zagat Guide but weren't in the 2005 (not a perfect survey, but it leaves out some places opened since January of 2007 and gives us a range of new restaurants):

Alberta

Anatole

Azul (closed)

Brother's Sushi

Calas Bistro

Chateau du Lac

Civello's (closed)

Cochon

Eat

Fiesta Bistro

Fire (closed)

Ignatius Eatery

Iris

Jackson (closed)

Jazz Tacos

La Boca

Li'l Dizzy's Cafe

Longbranch (closed)

Mike's on Lee Circle (closed)

Minnie's Catfish Corner

One Restaurant

Riche

7 on Fulton

Shula's

Stanley's (in limbo)

Table One

Vizard's

Wolfe in the Warehouse

(I left out Savvy Gourmet, because it's a combination store/restaurant with multiple revenue streams. I also didn't include Gulfstream, which is just a different concept by the same company that ran another chain in the spot pre-Katrina.)

That 28 restaurants opening around the storm. Since then, 6 have closed (I'm not counting Stanley, since it will reopen soon on Jackson Square). That's a 21% failure rate. According to this article, over a three-year period new restaurants failed at rate of 59%:

The highest failure rate was noted during the first year when about 26 percent of the restaurants failed. About 19 percent failed in the second year and 14 percent in the third year. Cumulative failure rate for the three-year period (1996-99) was 59 percent.

So overall, the new New Orleans restaurants are far healthier than the average new restaurant. Ok, that's my theory and my evidence. What I still can't figure out is why it's true. Any suggestions?

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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I think you have to remove Sushi Brothers from the "new" list, as it is just a new name/new ownership for the old Tokyo bistro--decor, menu, etc are substantially the same. I get the general sense that quite a few places are barely holding on....if we don't have a good fall season, you'll see some additional closures by Christmas--mostly the sort of places heavily dependent on tourists.

But back to your analysis: to make sense of the entire picture, you have to count the number of restaurants missing from the Zagat's 2005 to 2007 editions (within the same price range as those "new openings" you mentioned). How many places simply didn't reopen after the storm? Despite a certain local critic's assertion that we have more restaurants than ever, I can think of some mid-range to high-end places that are gone, so perhaps the dining public has fewer overall choices? Smith & Wollensky, the original Ruth's Chris, Mandich, Chateaubriand, Brunings, Sid-Mar's, etc etc. I'd be interested in the LA Restaurant Association's pre- & post-storm membership comparisons, or a real analysis of the Board of Health's pre- & post-storm restaurant licensing.

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I get the general sense that quite a few places are barely holding on....if we don't have a good fall season, you'll see some additional closures by Christmas--mostly the sort of places heavily dependent on tourists.

That would be my guess, although I don't know that it's true. I would have predicted a slew of closings last August, but that didn't really happen. Perhaps in the French Quarter things are really bad? John Besh recently told me that he was surprised how strongly tourist business rebounded in his restaurants.

But back to your analysis:  to make sense of the entire picture, you have to count the number of restaurants missing from the Zagat's 2005 to 2007 editions (within the same price range as those "new openings" you mentioned).

I agree, although I was initially taking issue with the idea that new restaurants are being hit harder. From what I can tell, new restaurants as doing as well as new restaurants can be expected to perform. Not surprisingly, two of the new places that closed were owned by first-time restaurateurs: Jackson and Longbranch. In Brett's piece, Alberta appears to be struggling. It's another place run by a novice restaurateur.

How many places simply didn't reopen after the storm?

Yeah, I would love to actually see those numbers.

Despite a certain local critic's assertion that we have more restaurants than ever, I can think of some mid-range to high-end places that are gone, so perhaps the dining public has fewer overall choices?

Agreed. I don't buy Fitzmorris' assertion (you think he reads this board?). Before the storm, I don't remember ever reading his complete list of restaurants. But my sense is that he's paying a lot more attention than before and scouring for restaurants to add to that list. Since his criteria are subjective, it's hard to put much faith in the final number.

Smith & Wollensky, the original Ruth's Chris, Mandich, Chateaubriand, Brunings, Sid-Mar's, etc etc.  I'd be interested in the LA Restaurant Association's pre- & post-storm membership comparisons, or a real analysis of the Board of Health's pre- & post-storm restaurant licensing.

I do think Fitzmorris is right to say that Board of Health licenses include a lot of places that wouldn't be considered restaurants (although I haven't double checked that). I'm not sure about LRA membership.

Do we have fewer overall choices? That's hard to quantify I think. Certainly some places are gone that many people miss. Then again, a lot of places that didn't reopen are probably not that missed. They were, in a phrase of Sara Roahen's that I love, just "places where people go to eat." With fewer people, it may not be a loss that we have fewer of these types of establishments.

It's really hard to say what it means to have a healthy restaurant scene. There is economic health, which could be measured if you could get the numbers. Then, as you alluded to, the health could be whether we have the same dining options as before, although I don't think a head count would necessarily be the way to measure that. It seems to need a subjective judgment. The other measure might be if people are still investing in restaurant and keeping the restaurant scene alive. On that count, I would say that New Orleans restaurants are still healthy.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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I think another variable would be all the money being spent rebuilding NO. A lot of that money is labor which tends to turn over a few times in a local economy. Can you imagine what carpet salesmen have been earning?

Is it possible the locals are being counted as tourists?

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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