New Orleans Trip Report-French Quarter
Just came back from a very (too) short trip to New Orleans. Some comments on my dining experiences:
Can't believe I ended up at a casino, but when your flight arrives late at night and you're looking for actual protein, you don't have much choice near the Quarter. The midnight brunch was recommended by some of the staff at Cafe Du Monde, and ended up being a great deal for $11.99, including beverage. The gumbo was pretty decent; the pesto chicken was incredibly dry and not worth the calories; but overall, it was a good value, as long as you're willing to put up with the casino atmosphere and pay for parking.
Had to stop at this institution. Honestly, the raw oysters were a little to "river flavored" for me, but the chargrilled oysters with parmesan and romano were amazing. Those were the highlight for me, and the "10-napkin" roast beef was a close second. Gumbo, however, was pretty disappointing.
Impeccable service. Awesome cajun martini--spicy, but not over the top. Had some cornmeal encrusted oysters and some braised rabbit as an appetizer--both very good. My entree was a duck schnitzel, which was good, but a little more done than I would like. I was also feeling pretty full at the time, so that could be part of it.
Great atmosphere. Getting a reservation at the last minute was surprisingly easy. The most impressive thing, quite frankly, was the New Orleans Police Department officer that was essentially the security for the restaurant. Really nice officer who was very helpful in identifying parking and giving directions. How cool is that! Sweet potato pecan pie was a highlight for me, the turtle soup was a bit of a disappointment--a little too chili like. The chicken and sausage gumbo, however, made up for my disappointment with the turtle soup. Best gumbo of the trip. The soft shell crab was very well done--crisp and not greasy at all. Got completely overwhelmed by the volume of food.
Cafe du Monde
Of course, had to stop here. Walked through pouring rain for at least 12 blocks to get there, since I, of course, left my umbrella in my car parked at my home airport. Watched my friend get powdered sugar all over his face, which was entertaining, for me anyway.
Michelle the bartender made my trip. She knows what she's doing and makes a mean rum punch, which is not normally my drink. They have a great jukebox with an ecletic mix of music. Went there twice and Michelle took good care of me.
Near the Quarter: Two Sisters
Not to be confused with Court of Two Sisters in the Quarter, this down home, southern restaurant was a fabulous experience. Had fried chicken, greens, rice with gravy, potato salad, cornbread and sweet tea in a decidedly non-tourist place. Cash only, on Dubigny Street north (I think) of the Quarter near Canal.
Just posting this message makes me want to go back!
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Good list. I go to New Orleans on business quite a bit and ate at Emeril's in May. I also had the duck schnitzel but mine was perfectly cooked.
Just up the street is Tommy's Cuisine, which I have now tried twice. The mussels appetizer if really good, but way too big for one or two people. Lots of tomato and garlic. I had a piece of grilled drum with crabmeat sprinkled on top and really good, crisp pommes frites.
I won't go to Acme again. The food has become very uneven and usually not good.
For some excellent grilled oysters, look up Drago's in Metairie near I-10 and Causeway. I find myself getting a dozen with a salad and forget an entree. Sometimes two dozen.
Also last week I tried the Red Fish Grill and was appalled to get a plate of fried oysters at room temperature. They clearly had been sitting for a while and my companions reported that their crawfish rolls were also cool. I complained and they offered to cook a fresh batch, but I declined. Perhaps because I did send the plate back, the kitchen made sure that my entree was done right. I had the cast iron skillet grilled fish with sauteed shrimp and it was excellent. I may go back, but I have to think about it. In May, I ate across the street at the Bourbon House. It was mediocre. Both places are owned by the Brennan family, so it has been a big disappointment to me to dine in a place run by a family with such a reputation for quality food and be served with poor or OK dishes. Tommy's and Emeril's are much, much better.
Rio Mar on S. Peters is very good for Spanish style dining and there is a Cuban place in the Ambassador Hotel which is also quite good. I don't recall the name, but the owners are from Miami Cubans and they know what they are doing. Big servings.
I have to go back next week and I am going to try John Besh's Restaurant August.