I'll be arriving in NO by plane on Thursday at about 1 p.m., and I suppose getting into the city by say 2 or so. Since I am only staying until Sunday morning, it's finally dawned on me that my only chances to go to U's would be Thursday or Friday. But for Friday I made lunch reservations at Bayona, so that means Thursday is the only chance for U's unless I cancel Bayona lunch. So my question is, since everyone says get to U's at 11 a.m. to get served, is there any chance I'll get served if I go there Thursday at 2:30 or 3 or so? If not, I'd better cancel Friday at Bayona in order not to miss the legendary Uglesich experience.
Many thanks for any advice--
Late lunch seems to be a good choice everywhere in NO, as long as they're not about to close.
If you do not eat Oysters, Uglesich is boring and overpriced. Plus it is crowded, cash only, and absolutely filthy inside. I don't eat any kind of shell fish, my opinion is biased. The other food is OK, but $20 for lunch for 1 person in a DIVE? We arrived at U. at 1:10 pm. Did not wait for a table. No problems, but the restaurant was packed.
I enjoyed Bayona. It's a fancy slow food place. And what everyone says about it being possible to find fancy slow food elsewhere is true, but that doesn't mean Bayona is an average restaurant. It's not necessarily regional cuisine, but it was really good. We arrived there at 1:00 pm. No problems, did not wait for a table (restaurant was mostly empty).
Bayona and Uglesich are in the same price category at lunch, but Bayona has tablecloths and they take credit cards. Like I said, I didn't get the oysters, but I think the food at Bayona is better. And you don't spend the afternoon worried about ptomaine.
If you were going to Uglesich for the roast beef po boy, skip it and go to Parasol (3rd & Constance) instead. They're open until 11pm, so there won't be any time constraints.
I do not live in New Orleans. But over the past twenty five years I have done everything in my power to invest hundreds of thousands of calories wisely throughout the city and, perhaps, within a radius of 125 miles or so. I have also been accused by friends of never being short of an opinion therefore...
1. If you have never been to Uglesich or Bayona there is absolutely no question in my mind that you should go to Uglesich. Like Mother's, the Central Grocery, Acme, Mosca's and a number of others it is a definitive New Orleans experience. There is simply nothing like in any other city anywhere in America.
2. I agree with a post below that Bayona is really not that different from what you might find in another city. It is good but, for me, not the exalted experience that others feel that it is.
3. I personally believe that any restaurant in New Orleans that receives national publicity and where the chef starts appearing on talk shows is a restaurant that will start to go down hill. In 1979 K-Paul's was a local treasure with blackened redfish at $8.95 and coconut cake appearing on the menu once a week. By 1982 (with countless reviews started by Mimi Sheraton nationally) the redfish had doubled (and later tripled) while the coconut cake began to appear once a month and then later only by special order. I never felt that K-Paul's in the mid and late '80's was as good as the first three or four years it was opened. Emeril's six years ago was extraordinary. Yes, they booked up two months in advance for Friday and Saturday night but he was still there and hadn't started on the TV Food Network yet. I personally felt that then Emeril's was one of the very best restaurants in America. When Vegas opened it was a shadow of N. O. and now Orlando is there which is one of the most overpriced and overrated restaurants in America, one that I feel he should be ashamed to have his name associated with. New Orleans? For me it's about on the level of Vegas four years ago.
What does all this have to do with Bayona? Well, at it's best I believe that it has never been even near the level of K-Paul's or Emeril's at their respective best. Uglesich while very different from these two- when it was strictly locals in line-had some dishes that approached the others. Plus it had atmosphere.
Go to Uglesich and go to whatever restaurant that locals on this board believe is currently the best before it is "discovered" by tourists and the national media. (For myself I've liked Peristyle among others) Uglesich will be the overall experience and the other will be the definitive N. O. meal that you can't find elsewhere.
My information is that Uglesich's closes at 2:30. It is possible that you can get in but I wouldn't count on it. LibationMan's suggestion of Acme is a good alternative. You could have your cab swing by Uglesich's to see if you made it on time and then go to the Acme as an alternative if you didn't. Neither is very far from the Monteleone where you are staying.
His Jacque-Mo's suggestion would be a good one as well but for the fact that it isn't open for lunch!
re: Gerald McGowin
Zachary's is not bad for lunch, but dinner is way overpriced and nothing special. They do have more southern-type dishes at lunch, like greens and fried chicken, than they do at dinner. If you go to Jacques-Imo's for dinner and find that there is a long wait, DO NOT be tempted to bail out and go to Zachary's for dinner. We did that once.
Ignore the Nay-sayers. We had lunch at Uglesich twice last week. Superb food. Don't miss the fresh oysters in blue cheese, the firecracker shrimp and the fried green tomatoes. We had planned to go there only once-it was SO GOOD we went back again. BTW Emerile was in filming a segment on Uglesich as his favorite place in New Orleans.
re: Bob Foster
Bob--just a quick procedural point. I realize you probably typed "Ignore the Nay-sayers" with a wink, but for those who mistakenly take the remark for more than it's worth, I'd like to reinforce that what makes this site work is that hounds feel free to post respectfully divergent (if passionately adament) opinions. We add the cream of our knowledge and experience, and varying mileage is a part of the deal.
NO opinion should really be "ignored". The mix is what makes Chowhound useful. Say your piece, make your point as compellingly as you can, and let readers-along decide.
Please evangelize the oysters (etc) you love positively, on their merits. Better yet, try (if you haven't already), the alternatives suggested by LibationMan. One mark of a chowhound is eagerness to find new spots which blow away one's old faves (however worthy they were). I just LOVE when that happens, don't you?
Now this is just one 'born and raised' opinion, but Uglesich's is completely overrated. It is in that elite group of places (that includes Mother's and Deanie's) which have become overpriced and overhyped. There are hundreds of places in town to get food like you get at Uglesich's. Take the chance while you have it and have lunch at Bayona. Susan Spicer is a talent and her food, even at lunch, should not be missed. As for more casual places...
> R & O's
(Solid food all over the menu)
> New Orleans Food & Spirits
(Best fried seafood out there right now)
> Acme Oyster House
(Oysters! and some other great seafood dishes)
> Frankie & Johnny's
> The Galley
(Chef Austin Leslie previously of Chez Helene)
Can I ask, first, where else are you going?
Perhaps, you can get an oyster fix somewhere else. I lived three gluttonous years in New Orleans. Back then, Uglesich's was as well known for its seedy setting as it was for its seafood creations. The hype had yet to overwhelm. A lot of us in uptown were more than happy to visit Casamento's weekly for oysters, fried or raw.
Casamento's is on Magazine street just past Napolean. You can easily get there via bus or even streetcar (walking towards the river the few blocks from st. charles to magazine--that would be to your left as you are getting off the streetcar from canal.)
Casamento's will not necessarily be less crowded than Uglesisch's. The seating is tight, with a limited amount of large tables. With its sparkling black and white tile, you will almost believe you are eating in your bathroom. Adding to the wait, is the way the oysters are handled. Before each oyster loaf, a collection of bi-valves is gathered with a small rake from an ancient ice-box. They then get shucked, corn-meal dusted and fried, not a quick process. The classic loaf comes between thick "pan bread" not the expected new orleans style french loaf. With pickles and hot sauce, you will be rewarded. The remaining fried seafood like the softshell crabs are also good, the other stuff, i.e., the ultra-soft spagetti, are acquired tastes.
re: Barry G.
re: Dave Feldman
I'll jump in as a non-local but usually annual visitor to NO.
Our last visit to Uglesich's we thought the food was very good but somewhat expensive. The long waits might also be a big negative for some folks, but people waiting to eat at Uggie's are usually pretty cool and fun to talk with, as is Ant'ny. And the fried green tomatoes are sublime. OK, what am I saying? I guess what I am saying is go once and decide for yourself.
As for Bayona, it is a great restaurant for sure but I can't help feeling that unlike many of NO's other top restaurants, you could find Bayona or something close to it in other cities. So my conclusion on Bayona is that it depends how indigenous you want your food when you visit New Orleans.
re: Bob W.
I agree, I guess, with Bob W, in the sense that when you are eating in NOLA, are you looking for unique New Orleans/Louisana style food or are you just looking for good eating. I believe that choice influences greatly where you go.
For instance, when I'm in New Orleans, I'm pretty happy getting a burger (with waffle for desert) at Camilia Grill as I am in eating at say Bayona. That is, of course, because of the sui generis of Camilia Grill. Frankie and Johnny's was also mentioned somewhere in this thread. Again, that place just typlifies New Orleans eating. On the other end of the scale Galatoires and Comander's Palace mean something and rate something.
On the other hand, when I lived in New Orleans, occasional dinners, at say, Maximo's (still there?), a straight ahead "yuppie" northern italian resturant, were the equivilant of ethnic dining in other cities.
But hey, that's just me.
re: Bob W.
I don't disagree with anything you've said. But as V.I. says, some restaurants are sui generis, and I think Bayona falls in that category. It isn't the type of food that is unique to N.O., it's the style and charm of the place. Offhand, I can't think of any equivalent place in, say, New York or Los Angeles. If there were, I'd eat there often!