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Apr 3, 2002 01:31 PM

Port of Call advice

  • s

I've heard good things about Port of Call. Is it worth the wait? Last year I tried to get in on a Jazz Fest night around 7 p.m. The hostess told us it would be about a 30 minute wait, but after an hour and a half we were still way down the list. I was about to pass out with hunger, so we bolted and happily for us stumbled upon Mona's, got seated right away, and had a wonderful meal (great lamb!) But I want to give Port of Call another try. What time should I try to arrive so I won't have to wait too long?

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  1. So you are in New Orleans and you want to wait to get a Hamburger??? If you want a really good hamburger in the vieux carre without the wait, I'd skip Port of Call and head to the fatted calf if I were you.

    1. i
      Isabella Maja

      If you go to Snug Harbor, the sister of Port of Call, you can hear music & eat your burger at the same time.
      get there early to get a table, otherwise it is standing room only upstairs...
      Let them know you're seeing the show & want to eat first (and you can do it in the dining room)

      I hadn't been to Port of Call in years..... and just went last month. Oh my God! I had forgotten how good that burger tasted. There is something about the quality of the beef that is different from all the rest! I hope you order it at least med rare...!

      Good Luck,

      p.s. during Jazz Fest is not exactly a great time to have a wonderful dining experience, so keep your expectations low. I, personally will make sure I get enough to eat at Jazz Fest itself...... I am a local & I never go out to eat during Jazz Fest...... it's just too congested and sometimes quality of dishes are down because of the herds. Just my 2 cents.

      1. Good hamburgers are rare in New Orleans, which is probably the reason Port of Call is so well known. (This is a po-boy city, not a hamburger city.) I'm guessing that wherever you're from you can get your hamburgers at home, and you'd rather try New Orleans specialties while you're here. Therefore, I would not bother with the wait.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Sarah C

          Come on, really good hamburgers are rare anywhere and those at Port of Call (and Snug Harbor) are about as good as hamburgers get.

          1. re: Creole
            Vital Information

            I was never a huge fan of Port of Call (or Snug Harbor)'s burgers. A little too big for me,in the sense of how they are cooked. Also, I like fries with my burgers, but that's beside the point.

            Oh, but I disagree about the lack of good burgers in New Orleans (speaking, only, however, from memory). I'd stack the burger at Camelia Grill against any burger anywhere. Less good on an absolute around the world, but still pretty darn tasty on a local level, are the things served a Bud's Broiler. Finally, I was always a fan of the burger at Ye Old College Inn.

            By the way, I certainly agree with the sentiment that good burgers anywhere are a rare breed these days. Yet they surely exist in New Orleans.


            1. re: Vital Information


              I agree on Bud's and Ye Olde College Inn. Ye Olde always cared about the quality of ingerdients (Leidenheimer's bakes those rolls especially for them). You will be pleased to know that Mr Emile, the surviving brother, is still on the scene although Ray is doing the day-to-day stuff.

              1. re: Hazelhurst

                Ye Old College Inn has some great burgers indeed, and I surely love their bunsl. I like to eat at the bar when I am there. As for the original request for something other than Port of Call during JF, College Inn may fit the bill. When done with the Jazz Fest, walk over across the bayou towards midcity and take the Carrolton bus to Ye Old College Inn (thigs get confusing over there, try not to get lost).

                Ye Old College Inn most likely won't be as crowded as other joints in midcity or the FQ, and you can get a good meal over there. When done, walk down Carrolton and catch the streetcar to get back to the FQ.

                1. re: Nazerac
                  Vital Information

                  And if you do go to the College, do not forget to get the caramel custard for desert.

                  You know Wm. Grimes dissed New Orlean's desserts in his piece this week, but I never tire of those two New Orleans standards: creme caramel and bread pudding. Who needs pastry chefs!


                  1. re: Vital Information

                    Living and working (not a cook) and eating in New Orleans restaurants for over a decade taught me that Bread pudding is a food group unto itself. How many delicious variations on sugar and bread worked into a "pudding" can there be?

                    1. re: wrayb

                      With chocolate, without chocolate, with rum, or with whiskey, souffle ... that's what comes first to my mind ... what else can y'all think of?

                      1. re: Nazerac
                        Vital Information

                        I think one of the crucial differences is the fruit. Is it raisin or something else. I was always a huge fan of the bread pudding at Frankie and Johnnies, and one of the things I most liked about it was the fruit cocktail (especially if you were lucky enough to get a cherry slice within), the fruit cocktail is what *made* the bread pudding.

                        It seems rather obvious, but the huge difference between bread pudding in New Orleans and bread pudding outside of Louisiana is the sauce.


                        1. re: Vital Information

                          A sometime ingredient is nuts. Some variations in fruit besides raisins or fruit cocktail would be apricot or apple for example.

                          The sauce: alcohol or not, if alcohol then what kind. A "hard" sauce (more like a glaze or crust) or juicy. Which brings up the consistency of the pudding itself. A block like a brownie or soft and runny or soft and fluffy (curious, I never knew about the Com. Palace meringe puffed pudding but that must have come after Prudhomme and I had moved on (in different directions) from there).

                          To continue: Served warm or cold or room temperature. One cook I worked with made a big pan of it. When cooked it was the consistency of very thick oatmeal, before you add milk to it. When ordered it was scooped into the serving dish and put into very hot oven to brown a crust on the top and then liberally dowsed with whisky infused sauce to which chopped dried fruit and nuts are added just before serving.

                          This was a neighborhood soul food place, rice and beans and greens kind of place, not a fancy place, but Willie was proud of his bread pudding. I am not totally sure what all he had in the pudding (beyond bread and raisins) since he would kick me out of the kitchen after he noticed me watching him put the ingredients together. When Willie left he took his recipe with him. The head cook Steve said he knew what Willie did, but it wasn't the same.


              2. re: Vital Information

                I will agree that Camelia Grill's burgers are top drawer for diner style burgers, and I, too, like the burgers at Ye Olde College Inn (even though I am a bigger fan of the thicker meat patties such as those served at Port of Call). However, the quality of the burgers at Bud's Broiler is highly dependent on which location you patronize (and if you like sauces on your burger).

          2. The ambiance, juke box, and hamburger can't be beat in my opinion when you're in that mode of eating. Try to go a bit earlier to avoid a wait, and I never sit anywhere else but in the front dining room.

            1 Reply
            1. re: .
              Josh Gallaway

              I'm sorry this really doesn't pertain to the food, but my friend went to wash his hands at Port of Call, he touched the sink, and it crashed to the floor and broke into a thousand pieces.

              My burger tasted even better after that.

              Anyone visiting who wants a hardcore experience should try Bud's Broiler. I say this because I used to always be disgusted by the time I left (perhaps more than ten cockroaches, etc), but I kept going back for some reason.

              sorry for that,

            2. Instead of placing your name on the waiting list with the door hostess for a table, simply belly up to the bar on the first available stool. You still may have to waite some, but hover around the bar and stools open up in fairly short order.