Emeril or Galatoir or Brigsten or .....
Okay, I am going to ask for a rec that will probably get the "it depends on what you want," or a "c'mon, dude."
As you guys know I have picking your brains about places in NO and I am here for only a few days and though I am going to eat as much as I can in non-upper-tier restaurants, I do want to go to 2 upper tier, one is Alberta on Friday and the other....?
So, I know they are different but how would rate the food experience, irrespective of it's classic or noveau or whatever? What if someone wanted a food experience in NO that is similar to/better than top tier in NYC, where I live, and had only one NO restaurant to choose?
If it is the food that is your focus, rather than the overall experience, I would rank Stella at or above the best I have had recently in New York and Napa. As much as I love Galatoire's, it is more of an overall experience -- very good (but not great) food, clubby atmosphere, superb service, etc. But foodwise, it can't hold a candle to Stella (or August). And Stella is in a beautiful French Quarter cottage, and the service has been great.
Well . . . what can I say? I thought the food at Stella was weak at best. Not bad, but nothing much above average ("weak" from the standpoint of expections). Now I can excuse one off night in the kitchen. But the service truly sucked, with an inattentive waitstaff, empty water glasses, getting more butter only after the 3rd request, etc. AND people were smoking cigars in the non-smoking restaurant, and some guy walked in, joined a table of six (who were seated at a table for 4) and began opening his own beers (which he did brought in a brown paper bag) and the staff did nothing. A letter written to the restaurant was met with two month's worth of silence, after which they basically said "sorry it took so long to reply; what do you want us to do about it?"
No -- never again . . . .
(August, on the othe hand, is fantastic!)
I vote for Brigtsen's or Clancy's or, a little less fancy, Dick & Jenny's.
I would not try to compare the best restaurants in NOLA with the top tier NYC restaurants. It's not that they don't stack up -- they definitely do -- but it's such a completely different experience that I don't find the comparison constructive.
re: Hungry Celeste
Yes, I didn't put August on my list, only out of running out of time. Turns out we have to leave earlier than I thought, so we only have D&J's tonight and leaving tomorrow.
Would you recommend Longbranch for brunch tomorrow? If so, what are its specialities? If not, what might we hit in NO before we leave midday?
PS-Thanks for all the help you have provided me. It has greatly improved my visit here.
Sticking to the original question of ONLY chosing between the 3 choices proffered:
If I was on expense account or money didn't matter and could only pick one, I'd probably pick Emeril's, just because they have such a great cellar (BBQ shrimp appetizer and rack of lamb entree, but lots of great things to choose from)... But if you visit Vegas or Orlando, where you can get a similar experience, then I'd pass for a more "New Orleans" experience.
That being said, Brigtsen's is my favorite nice (you don't have to wait for a special occasion) restaurant. Everything's great, but the seasonal seafood platter is always a sure bet for those who can't make up their mind.
Galatoire's is uniquely New Orleans, but I've never been overly impressed with the food.
(agree w/ Pilaf's comments about Stella/August)