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THE BIG MEAL

  • t
  • thesteiner Jul 25, 2001 12:37 PM
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wife and i going to be in NO,first week in Oct, staying out Maison duPuy, our usual place is The Columns, we wanted to stay in the quarter this time. Gonna hit many of our fav spots,Acme, Mothers, definetly going to try Uglisech's, after hearing such glowing reports. Would love some feedback on our 2 main choices for her bday dinner, Brigsten's or Gabrielle? Last few visits, stretching back almost 7 years,we've had dinner at Emeril's. The first time, back in 95, it was the most incrediable meal we ever had(me being in the restuarant biz, is quite the compliment), each subsequent visit was a little bit less(as his star rose the food declined) Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. u might wanna try ``indigo`` it is the new top dog in new orleans , chef randy lewis top 10 new chefs in food and wine , beautiful restaurant , i think it is the best right now i am a local who knows , try clancy`s also u can go there for lunch , indigo just dinner tues thru sat, check out the new ritz carlton in the quarter for drinks really sweet , any questioms e mail me , in the biz also, new orleans is cheapest in august , slowest month , sincerly sean

    1. First off nice choice with Maison DuPuy. The house restaurant there is Dominique's, and is quite good, although has fallen off radar lately. If you are ever in a pinch don't hesitate eating there. Also, if you are a light sleeper do ask for an interior room, as that corner of the Quarter can be noisy with people braking at the stop sign. Just something to consider.

      Brigtsen's and Gabrielle have much in common in that they are both headed up by splendid couples with deep Louisiana roots. The Sonniers and Brigtsens are not oportunists who opened up New Orleans-themed restaurants in the hopes of making a lot of money. They both have a huge committment to the state's culinary heritage and do so in a respectful manner. Both restaurants will often hold the top spot in the minds of locals.

      Brigtsen's has been around the longer of the two causing a huge splash when it first opened in the late 1980's. At the time many restaurants were abandoning authentic Louisiana cooking in favor of what outsiders thought Louisiana cooking should be. Frank Brigtsen came in and focused on foodstuffs available to us locally and produced beautiful well thought out meals that everyone applauded. Brigsten serves only five meals a week so can operate with just one crew. Their service is splendid. The value is the best in New Orleans.

      Greg Sonnier of Gabrielle has in common with Frank Brigtsen a huge heart and is too a beloved figure. His wife Mary, like Marna Brigsten, runs the front end of the restaurant, and I believe that she is also the pastry chef. Sonnier is a bit more worldly with his dishes, sophisticated perhaps, as he tries to take them to a higher level than Brigsten, who seems content to let a piece of chicken be a piece of chicken. Sonnier has a touch for smoking meats and game.

      There is no reason to really go into recommendations as both have fairly limited menus, and often it is just best to order specials anyway.

      Emeril's is not frequented by locals. Tourists are suprised to hear this, I know, but this is a city that doesn't like celebrities of any stripe, and him not being a local makes his restaurant even easier to dislike. A better meal can be gotten at either Brigtsen's or Gabrielle's for much less money, in Brigtsen's case at least half as much.

      Reservations for both are difficult to obtain so please call ahead. Also a jacket would be expected to be worn at both restaurants.

      I have eaten at Indigo but once (it has only been open a few months) and had a poor meal. The food is not identifiably local and the restaurant has a New York feel to it. Service is awful. The senior restaurant critic in the city Tom Fitzmorris gave the place an absolutely terrible review in the current issue of "CityBusiness" which you may be able to read on-line. Also very expensive by New Orleans standards. Nonetheless Indigo is an extraordinarly popular restaurant, a decidedly hip place.