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need new orleans rest rec's for 3 nights


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can i get some help?

Of course. That's what we are all here for.

You might want to start by going here, to the Louisiana Forum and see what recent visitors thought about their trips.

I would be happy to be much more specific id you could give me a general idea of what kind of money they are talking about and whether they will have a car or not. Is this dinner only or do they need to know about lunch as well?

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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Under no circumstances should your friend leave New Orleans without going to UPPERLINE.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...=0entry442440

Also I would strongly recommend Jacques-imos, but it might be closed during the opening of the NYC branch for the next week or so.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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can i get some help?

Of course. That's what we are all here for.

You might want to start by going here, to the Louisiana Forum and see what recent visitors thought about their trips.

I would be happy to be much more specific id you could give me a general idea of what kind of money they are talking about and whether they will have a car or not. Is this dinner only or do they need to know about lunch as well?

no lunch, biz trip with a contolled expense account

thanks

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In terms of quality and value I think that Commanders Palace is one of the best in the country. I was first there about 12 years ago and I was back just last year and I still think it's great. I remember having a menu that included oysters, foie gras stuffed quail, beef fillet cheese and desserts two bottles of wine (also a great value, although I can't remember which wines we had) all served in a "NOLA fancy" setting by tuxedoed servers for something like $80 per person. It was crazy I remember asking if there was a mistake on check.

For a less fancy meal try Pascale Manale's (spelling?) they serve great NOLA style bbq shrimp and they have a great raw bar in front for the wait. Last time I ate 1 1/2 dz oysters before we got seated.

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I spent much of the morning calling around trying to get reservations for March 11-14. To my surprise, many restaurants (including Commander's Palace and Gallatoire's) are already booked solid for each of those days. I was able to land some late reservations at a few places. My current dinner line-up is:

1) Brigtsen's

2) Bayona

3) NOLA

Should I make any adjustments? (From what I gather, opinions are mixed on NOLA.)

For lunches, we'll probably do low-end local specialties (at Coop's Place, Central Grocery, Uglesich's, Cafe du Monde, etc.). I'm still not sure where anything is. We'll be staying in the French Quarter (Marriott New Orleans), so recommendations for good breakfast, lunch, and snack spots within reasonable walking distance would be greatly appreciated. (We will have a car, though. So if something's worth the drive, do let me know.)

Thanks for the help!

Scott

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I, too, have seen mixed reviews on NOLA. Two other dinner spots, just to throw them in the mix, are the Pelican Club, which I feel is one of the most underrated restaurants in New Orleans, and GW Fins, which is wonderful if you are a seafood eater who is not searching for battered and fried. For lunch, I'll second the recommendation of Port of Call, if you are in a burger mood. Their burgers are true hamburger bliss!

Betsy

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In terms of quality and value I think that Commanders Palace is one of the best in the country.  I was first there about 12 years ago and I was back just last year and I still think it's great.  I remember having a menu that included oysters, foie gras stuffed quail, beef fillet cheese and desserts two bottles of wine (also a great value, although I can't remember which wines we had) all served in a "NOLA fancy" setting by tuxedoed servers for something like $80 per person.  It was crazy I remember asking if there was a mistake on check.

For a less fancy meal try Pascale Manale's (spelling?) they serve great NOLA style bbq shrimp and they have a great raw bar in front for the wait.  Last time I ate 1 1/2 dz oysters before we got seated.

Actually I think Mr. B's has better BBQ shrimp than Pascal's Manale, but its a matter of personal preference. The PM ones are also very good.

I agree that Commanders is a good value, but only for Lunch.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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What Jason said.

I would (this is a personal opinion, and maybe a pretty jaded one since I can eat anywhere in town often and do) but I can think of a number of places in the price range of Bayona that I would personally prefer:

Chief among these is the fabulous (I am not overstating the case, trust me on this one) Restaurant August. John Besh had his first Big Chief job in my little town at the once superb and no o.k. Artesia. The guy has one all kinds of awards (deservedly I might add) and you will find that if you do a quick review on google for the place that both he and the restaurant have gained a very good rep. very quickly. It is both beautiful and not overdone at the same time. If you are spending Bayona type dough I think this is a more interesting choice.

2) Peristyle (I love it. Really. Anne Kearney rocks!)

3) Mr B's (they're right about the shrimp, but the one's at Manale's are the originals and damn good and they have a very good oyster bar to boot, but you will need a cab to get Uptown)

Have a great trip. The weather here today was 85 and clear. Really gorgeous. After what seems like weeks of rain it was a welcome relief.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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The main difference between PM's and Mr. B's (and others) BBQ shrimp is the sauce. PM's is the original, it is very oily with lots of black pepper. Mr. B's is more of a rouxed brown sauce. Both are good, but I preferred Mr. B's.

I'd rather do Upperline than NOLA. As long as you have a car, you may as well use it! ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just returned from the New Orleans trip last night. The quick rundown:

Prejean's in Lafayette. Smoked duck and andouille gumbo. Catfish Chenier (with shrimp & crab stuffing, heavy sauce and crawdads). Pepper-jack shrimp (fried, stuffed with tasso and jalapeno jack, with a rich sauce and crawdads). Bread pudding. The gumbo was good, the entrees great, and the dessert just okay. Good value, for the lunch menu. Complimentary bread and salads (with a nice parmesan vinaigrette) were both good. This is food I could get fat on.

Brigtsen's for dinner. Appetizers of fried rabbit tenderloin (cleverly presented so it looked like a shrimp) on a firm grits cake with a creamy creole mustard sauce; then a smoked salmon salad. Both were very good. Entrees were the seafood platter (with baked oysters, filet of Sheepshead with grilled shrimp, crawfish gratin, another oyster dish and ratatoille) and roasted duck with a honey pecan sauce, veggies, and mashed potatoes. The seafood platter was lackluster--handily the weakest seafood dish we had on the trip. The oysters, in particular, were very disappointing. The duck, however, was very nice--not an imaginative dish, but a tasty one. For dessert, we had the excellent pecan pie ala mode. Service was acceptable, but not stellar. Overall, a good dinner, but not a great one.

Cafe Beignet. Had beignet's here. Light, fluffy, scone-like.

Central Grocery. Mufalleta. A pretty good sandwich, but nothing to knock our socks off. I'd be interested to try some of the competition in this category.

Cafe du Monde. Beignets again. Perhaps it's because we don't know what "good beignets" are supposed to taste like, but we both preferred the lighter texture of the Cafe Beignet version. Cafe du Monde's beignets were tough and bready--less like a dessert pastry.

Bayona for dinner. Starters were a five bean andouille soup and goat cheese crouton with mushrooms in Madeira cream. Both were very tasty. Not as strong as Brigtsen's appetizers from the night before, but still solid offerings. Entrees were Alaskan halibut with a corn relish and grits patties and rabbit (grilled tenderloin with herbs and fried boneless leg) with greens--both very good. Desserts were where Bayona really shined. A five spice dark chocolate delice with sesame seed touile and candied cashews was complex, exotic, and surprisingly good. And a milk chocolate and raspberry napoleon redeemed that tired dessert category. This was probably our most even dinner experience on the trip. I'd be happy to return. (Oh, they also had two tasty, interesting breads.)

Brennan's for breakfast. Started with turtle soup. Tasty, but not the best I've had. (Tomato was much more noticable than turtle meat in it.) Next was grillades and grits--sauteed veal with a sauce and grits. The veal was bland and the sauce nondescript. It's sad when the best element in a $36 breakfast entree is the side of grits. Desserts were creole chocolate suicide cake and bananas Foster. The former was a very good, moist chocolate layer cake served in a pool of vanilla infused cream. The latter...well, I'm not a banana fan, but this was a very good dessert. I can see how it's a part of their reputation. When the $65 check arrived, I definitely felt stung. No value here. They did, however, have by far the best service of any restaurant we visited in this trip.

Mother's for lunch. Had a very tasty jambalaya and the Ferdi's special po'boy. The jambalaya was excellent. (There are probably better representatives in that category in NO. But, still, I loved this dish.) The po'boy was also very good, though I have to say the cold-cuts didn't add anything to it. (If I had to do it again, I'd stick with roast beef and debris.) Saw a lot of great looking fried seafood moving around the room. Unfortunately, I didn't have room to try any of it. Maybe next time. Finished with their bread pudding. Heavy on bread, light on custard, giving it a nice, rustic texture. A worthy dessert. Of all the meals on the trip, this one gave the most bang for the buck.

Nola for dinner. Started with ancho-bbq pork and smoked cheddar flatbread with creamy Gulf shrimp and green onion slaw. Half pizza, half salad, this was an excellent dish, with great play between sweet, spicy, and tangy elements. Next was a roasted garlic and parmigiano reggiano bisque with foccacia croutons. Ultra-rich and creamy with almost overwhelmingly intense flavor. This is a dish that would have been better presented in a smaller format (e.g., in a shot glass on a tasting menu). It was just too much of a good thing. (But it *was* a good thing, which is very much to their credit.) Entree was hickory roasted duck with whiskey-caramel glaze, buttermilk cornbread pudding, a salad of haricot vert and roasted corn, and candied pecans. Wow. This was, hands down, the best entree I had on the trip. It's also one of the best duck entrees I've ever had (and I've eaten a fair amount of duck). Rich, sweet, fork-tender duck with crisp skin. The creamy sweetness of the cornbread pudding. The perfectly al dente beans and corn. It all worked wonderfully. Desserts were their signature banana pudding layer cake with housemade vanilla wafers and a peanut butter pie. Here's where the meal turned ugly. The banana dessert had a nice presentation. And obviously a lot of effort went into it. But it was ho-hum in the flavor department. The chocolate covered peanut butter pie was even more pedestrian. Both desserts would be more appropriate at a TGI Fridays. Had the desserts not been such disappointments, this might have been the best meal on the trip. I wasn't expecting much from Nola, on the basis of e-Gullet and Chowhound criticisms. Maybe I caught them on a good night. Or maybe I was lucky in my choices. But, with the exception of the desserts, this was (foodwise) an upper Mobil 4-star quality meal. Man, I wish I could have boxed that duck up and brought it back to Texas. (I also wish I'd skipped Brennan's that morning. It would have left room for the better food at Mother's and Nola later in the day which I had to leave on the plate.)

Tastee Restaurant. Okay, I know this is totally incongruous with the rest of the trip. We were on our way out of town, hit with a doughnut craving, and decided to give it a try. Boy, was that a mistake. These were school cafeteria quality doughnuts. Revolting. Never again.

Prejean's, revisited. On the drive back through Lafayette, we hit Prejean's again. (We were pressed for time, so we couldn't scout out other options. And, since we'd had a good experience there the first time....) Started with the chicken and sausage gumbo. Very good, though the richer, darker roux flavor of the smoked duck andouille gumbo appealled to me more. Entrees were blackened chicken with a tomato chutney (for lack of a better word) and red beans and rice, and the "Cajun surf and turf." The chicken was pretty unremarkable, but the red beans and rice were very tasty. (I wish I could have sampled some of the better red beans and rice offerings in NO. So little time. So little stomach volume.) The Cajun surf and turf consisted of heavily seasoned grilled pork medallions, dirty rice, and two large shrimp stuffed with (I think) the same stuffing as the earlier catfish Chenier, topped with a buttery sauce with crawdads. The pork was good; but the standout was the stuffed shrimp. Wow. I could eat those again and again. Desserts were pecan pie and strawberry shortcake. We should have stopped while we were ahead. The pecan pie was church potluck quality. The shortcake was even worse. (What kind of place makes a strawberry shortcake using Cool Whip instead of real cream?!) Not as even an experience as our first visit. But we were still happy with the meal. As this was the dinner menu, however, prices were much higher than they had been at lunch. Prices were still fair. But it wasn't quite the value it had been at the lunch prices, where the entrees had been every bit as good with no noticeable reduction in portion sizes.

In all, it was an excellent trip (especially given how late I was in trying to get reservations). You guys have some really wonderful, distinctive foods down there. I can't wait to come back. Thanks to you all for your participation on this board, which makes it easier for us outsiders to steer clear of places like the Tastee Restaurant.

Scott

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Glad you enjoyed the trip.

As far as your comments about Brennan's go, I couldn't agree more. We regularly beg off of invites for breakfast from friends who are in from out of town that insist on going there. It is good and the service is great, but I can think of many many early morning options that are more appealing than dropping $75 on breakfast.

And, as I have said many times, I like NOLA. Those that dump on it either can't get over the fact that it belongs to Emeril or they have never tried it. It is certainly not the best place in town (although it does offer great value for the buck) but it is much better than a number of places that are reccomended here over and over again.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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If you are looking for late night cocktails (clothed or otherwise :hmmm: ) you had better snap it up. Snake and Jakes is on the chopping block thanks to a Councilman named Jay Batt who has taken to making closing uptown bars his hobby.

One of the things that is unique about New Orleans is the fact that the corner bar is a vital part of many neighborhoods. The location for Snake and Jakes was formelry known as the Christmas Bar (thanks to it's year around display of tiny Christmas lights) and was located in a pretty seedy part of a pretty seedy block in an otherwise o.k. neighborhood. There were some dilapidated row houses across the street that housed starving musicians and other hipsters in the mid eighties. SOme of the current owners of Snake and Jakes (musicians Cranston Clements and Jay Bentonatti) lived there when I first got to know them.

Hopefully this will all get shot down in council, but the neighborhood has now become gentrified and the new yuppie neighbors want to change the situation that they bought into instead of accepting it. If they wanted quiet at night they should have bought a house in the burbs.

It's a great place (and there are many other places in similar circumstances) and I hope they make it.

Even Dives have web pages these days. Here is Snake and Jake's!

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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Nice write-up. Have to agree with you on the banana pudding layer cake at NOLA. Nice presentation, but mediocre flavor. Despite the banana cake, my dessert experience there was a bit more positive than yours due to the saving grace of a wonderful trio of sorbets, the clear winner of which was a delicious pear/lemongrass combination...

Those who do not remember the pasta are doomed to reheat it.

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i've read how people have mixed reviews on nola's. i went there in july and let me just say it was the best meal i ever had! you must go there. the bread basket has a bunch of different kinds of bread, sweet potato roll, onion foccacia, rosemary twists. in fact we had a waiter just to explain the different kinds of bread. had a perfect apple martini. my boyfriend had the duck and it was the best i have ever tasted, i can't say enough about this dish. in fact another poster said he liked it too. i had the pork chop and that was great as well. definitely make reservations and definitely go with an appetite! we had no room for dessert and i think if we had it we would have felt too stuffed and would not have enjoyed it as much. have fun:)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just got back from a weekend there and finally tried Bayonna which I must say was slightly disappointing. I had a salad that was special that night with lemon and parmesan that was outstanding and the sweet potato brioche rolls were spectacular but then the loin of lamb with goat cheese was just OK and the dessert we had was not worth the splurge. We were a party of 3 women and so maybe that's why we had aloof service (my personal opinion).

We did have amazing food and Frankie and Johnny's for lunch on Saturday - a fried soft shell crab po boy and beer - heaven.

Dinner on Satuday was at Bacco which I thought was the best meal of the weekend in terms of flavor and service. Their lobster ravioli is the best I have ever had.

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1st) I don't think I wold be so quick to blame shoddy service on the fact that it was a table full of women. Bayona is owned and operated by Susan Spicer (one hell of a woman as a matter of fact) and I don't think that she is going to put up with any chauvinist crap from any of her staff. Perhaps the service just wasn't that great? Off night? Who knows?

2nd) I like Bayona but it is far from my first choice around town. It's lovely but there are just places that I like better. Peristyle for example (yet again-owned by a woman-Anne Kearney) is one of my favorite places in town and I just like it better than Bayona-but that is not to say it's better-it's just my choice.

3rd) For that Bayona kind of dough I cannot reccomend Restaurant August with Executive Chef and current "Hottest Name in Town" John Besh. The place is gorgeous and the food is better. Pastry chef Kelly Fields makes some seriously badass deserts to boot.

All three of these people have awards coming out of the wazoo (seems like New Orleans could run a branch of the James Beard House, actually) and know what they are doing and how to run a decent place. As far as bad service goes I will always chalk it up to a bad night before I go for anything else in the excuse dept.

On a lighter note. I love Frankie and Johnny's. As I recently told somebody in an email "it is what it is. Neighborhood joint where most of the customers behave like they are with friends and having a good time-because they are. Hell, half the people in there on any average weeknight know all about "your mama and dem".

Great boiled and fried food and down to earth but efficient as hell service. That's all anyone can expect out of a superior neighborhood type restaurant in New Orleans.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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