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For Those of you Travelling to New Orleans

k
kdbroussa Oct 4, 2006 06:08 AM

New Orleans has many restaurants. After all, it is one of the culinary destinations of the world. However, if you want traditional French Creole cuisine that dates back 100 years or more, then there are two restaurants that are still operated by the descendants of the French founders: Antoine's (1840) and Galatoire's (1905). Brennan's is also still run by the descendants of the original proprietor, but it is slightly younger-1915-and the founder and his descendants (who still operate the restaurant) are Irish. No ethnic slur intended; Brennan opened the restaurant on a dare from the French culinary experts of New Orleans at the time that an Irishman could never be as successful in New Orleans as the French restaurateurs. BOY, DID HE PROVE THEM WRONG!!!! Additional restaurants that continue the old-school French Creole cuisine are Tujague's and Arnaud's, although they are no longer operated by the founding family. The cuisine is, however, still authentic French Creole. Broussard's and Sbisa may also by considered among the traditional restaurants of the Big Easy, but they have ventured somewhat from traditional French Creole cuisine. There are many newer restaurants, including Emeril's establishments, but the ones mentioned above are the old-line, or "Grandes Dames" French Creole restaurants in the Vieux Carre (French Quarter for those of you who are not from Louisiana). Commander's Palace is also a dining icon in New Orleans; however, it is in the Garden District and not in the Quarter. The food is great; but, again, it has tended to venture somewhat away from the 100+ year-old French Creole style.

  1. g
    Griller Oct 21, 2006 11:58 AM

    "Two very casual and inexpensive places--Coop's Place is great for a late night bite and has great jambalaya and among the oyster bars in the area, Acme gets a big nod from me over Felix's."

    I agree with NOLAFrank's rec.

    1. m
      MakingSense Oct 21, 2006 12:16 AM

      You probably wouldn't find much disagreement about the fabulous crawfish etouffee at the Bon Ton or about the quality of the food at the other great places many of you have named, but I think the point that kdbroussa makes is an excellent one.
      The distinction between Creole and Cajun - oversimplified - is between City and Country. The Creole cuisine of old New Orleans was what developed from the application of French haute cuisine technique to local ingredients. Local chefs put pompano "en papillote" or fixed local trout "a la meuniere." As the Creoles of New Orleans brought local cooks from the countryside into their city homes they brought different cooking methods with them and the city and country begin to blend. Succeeding waves of immigrants, some of them slaves, added more nuance. The cuisine was richer for it but we shouldn't forget the separate roots.
      The foundation of the great culinary tradition of New Orleans came from the amazing flexibility of our ancestors as they adapted to a stange and often hostile New World. There probably isn't a finer example of the Great American Melting Pot.
      Every New Orleans food lover should savor an occasional trip to one of the iconic haute Creole restaurants between po'boys and gumbos and red beans and rice every Monday.

      1. n
        NOLAFrank Oct 19, 2006 05:03 AM

        Bon Ton is certain a great recommendation for casual, though authentic/delicious traditional Creole. Mother's on Poydras has a lot of fans on this board and they definitely are famous for their Poor boy sandwiches and casual Creole dining (I can't admit to being a big fan, though). A couple of other of my favorites in the area--NOLA is Emeril's more casual restaurant in the quarter and I find it innovative and delicious. I also enjoy Palace Cafe' on Canal, owned by one of the Brennan family.

        Two very casual and inexpensive places--Coop's Place is great for a late night bite and has great jambalaya and among the oyster bars in the area, Acme gets a big nod from me over Felix's.

        If you want to get out of the area, take a cab to Brigtsen's or Dick Jenny's to get a taste of where the locals eat or stop in Metairie on your way to the airport and eat at Drago's (you'll find a lot of discussion about all of those on this board).

        1 Reply
        1. re: NOLAFrank
          f
          Frolic Oct 21, 2006 01:49 PM

          Bon Ton is more of a Cajun restaurant. Many give it credit for introducing Cajun food to New Orleans in the 1950s, although that's no doubt an oversimplification.

        2. t
          Tchoupitoulas Oct 19, 2006 03:04 AM

          When you mentioned "traditional Creole", I can't believe you did not mention Bon Ton (Magazine 1/2 block on the downtown side of Poydras). Not to take away from any of the institutions you mentioned but not only is it near the Convention Center, it's got to be in my top ten in the city. The crabmeat au gratin is NOT to be missed and even the house salad makes you crave for more. The waitresses have been working there probably longer than you have been alive and the drinks are great. Only open during the week however...and if you want lunch on Friday, get there early....like 10:50AM.

          1. j
            Jesdamala Oct 10, 2006 02:24 PM

            Below link to restaurant openings, updated daily...
            by Tom Fitzmorris

            http://www.nomenu.com/RestaurantsOpen.html

            Also check out...

            http://www.neworleansrestaurants.com/...

            3 Replies
            1. re: Jesdamala
              k
              kdbroussa Oct 11, 2006 06:11 AM

              Sorry about the error. Remoulade is definitely an offshoot of Arnaud's, not Brennan's. Also, Deanie's in Bucktown is open. The French Quarter location is still working on reopening. Was supposed to reopen this summer.

              1. re: kdbroussa
                f
                Frolic Oct 11, 2006 12:26 PM

                No need to apologize. We all hear to share information.

                Have you eaten good food at Remoulade? I ducked in once before a concert at House of Blues and wasn't too impressed. It might have been an off night.

                1. re: Frolic
                  h
                  Hungry Celeste Oct 11, 2006 01:52 PM

                  Been in a couple of times...food is okay, but prices are a little too touristy for my tastes. I recall a ridiculously overpriced plate of red beans & rice; good enough food, but a helluva markup for a dead-simple dish available all over town WAY cheaper.

            2. d
              drb Oct 5, 2006 05:26 PM

              Thanks for the great summary. For those of us who will be visiting, can you suggest additional places that are convenient to the convention center and the French Quarter that might be casual, not expensive, not necessarily require reservations, and able to handle small groups (6-10)?

              4 Replies
              1. re: drb
                k
                kdbroussa Oct 10, 2006 09:00 AM

                Businesses that are open and their operating hours are still somewhat different than pre-Katrina. Check out Deanie's on Iberville in the Quarter, around the corner from Galatoire's, if it is open. Great casual South Louisiana-style seafood. Website: secure.deanies.com. The Gumbo Shop on St. Peters a couple of doors down from Pat O'Briens is open and has great authentic Louisiana dining. Website: www.gumboshop.com. Brennan's Remoulade on Bourbon St. is also open. A casual version of the world-famous Brennan's on Royal St. Most importantly, check with the concierge at your hotel or call before going because many restaurants are not yet operating at their normal hours pre-Katrina.

                1. re: kdbroussa
                  h
                  Hungry Celeste Oct 10, 2006 01:45 PM

                  Deanie's in the Quarter certainly isn't open (search this board for previous posts re: Deanies).

                  1. re: kdbroussa
                    f
                    Frolic Oct 10, 2006 02:14 PM

                    Remoulade is not connected to any branch of the Brennan family. It's a casual offshoot of Arnaud's.

                    1. re: Frolic
                      k
                      kdbroussa Oct 11, 2006 06:02 AM

                      Sorry about the error. Remoulade is definitely an offshoot of Arnaud's, not Brennan's.

                2. t
                  Tonto Oct 5, 2006 04:10 AM

                  Last time I walked by Sbisa was closed with no sign of opening. What will happen to that great mural? We should preserve that in some sort of way. Does anyone have knowledge about the future of this space.

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