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Brigtsen's tonight, then???

a
asm_ny Jan 6, 2007 01:49 AM

Brigtsten's gets a top rating in the Zagat guide, and I've seen nothing but good things on this board, but I found our experience tonight disappointing.

On the plus side, it's a charming location, an old house that still looks like a home, a little worn around the edges, with a lovely friendly waitstaff. The shrimp bisque we had was tasty, and the seafood platter featured an intriguing cornbread thing I enjoyed very much, but overall, the food food struck us as FAR too rich and salty, lacking much in the way of subtlety. (Also, the rolls were dry and uninteresting.) We barely made it halfway through our entrees, and dessert was out of the question.

So, the question is, if we were sort of underwhelmed by Brigtsen's, does that mean we're just not fans of the rich salty genre in general, and if that's the case, where should we go and what should we avoid for the rest of our trip?

We currently have reservations at Bayona for one night, one night is out of our hands, and the third is up in the air. Obviously, we're happy to splurge, but that isn't required. We just want good food, hopefully with some local flavor, that isn't going to keep us up all night digesting!

Also have thoughts of a breakfast or lunch at Petunia's, a beignet somewhere (oops ... maybe too rich?), and some ACME oysters. But all is subject to revision.

Input welcome, thanks!

Thanks...

  1. d
    Debbie Jan 6, 2007 03:10 AM

    I visit New Orleans several times a year but am not a local. I, too was somewhat underwhelmd by Brigstens and found some of the the food much too rich. However, I liked Bayona. I don't recall exact dishes eaten but I remember having a better feeling afterward. It is more upscale in decor and the service was friendly. We also really enjoy NOLA and GW FIns when we're in town. I would take a look at those menus....

    1. t
      Tonto Jan 6, 2007 03:34 AM

      Our food is an acquired taste. Rich and salty is the style. Susan Spicer at Bayonna does not do traditional New Orleans food so you will have a different experience. Try Restaurant August, chef John Besch does a non conventional but elegant fare and Cuvee is another choice and lest I forget Stella in the French Quarter.

      I do not know where you are from, but you went to the best restaurant for the food that is traditional to New Orleans. We have many great chefs who are just as inventive while still using local fresh ingredients but not so much in the old style cuisine.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Tonto
        a
        asm_ny Jan 6, 2007 11:29 AM

        Thanks for the clarification. I felt bad giving that feedback on our experience, but we seriously could hardly digest it -- my Mom was up all night! So recommendations for yummy food that don't carry quite the heavy fat/salt load much appreciated! (And we're not health nuts by a long shot ... just accustomed to lighter fare.)

        1. re: asm_ny
          Bill Hunt Jan 7, 2007 03:37 AM

          As a one-time resident of NO, and local to the geography, I will state that "rich," is part of the NO food experience. However, "salty," really isn't something that I would associate with the cuisine. I've dined at Brigsten's, since Frank B. opened the doors. Though my trips down are fewer, and farther between, than I would like, I still rate Brigsten's as #1. I wonder what went wrong in the kitchen that night. I do understand an issue with the "richness," as my system (and that of my wife, who is a NO native) cannot seem to handle seven, or eight nights straight, while we both once could, and with ease. Age may play a part in OUR sensitivity. That said, if I want rich, traditional NO food, with a flair, Brigsten's is where I'd head.

          Can't help you with where else to try, as I've not lived in NO for 25 years, and post-Katrina, do not even know what is open any longer.

          Sorry that Brigsten's did not satisfy you and your party. I am saddened to hear this report, but all great chefs, and I consider Frank Brigsten one, must take the good, with the bad.

          Hunt

      2. d
        Debbie Jan 6, 2007 03:48 AM

        I lived in New Orleans many years ago but still come back to visit often as I have a son at Tulane now. I presently reside in Florida.... I second Cuvee and have eaten there several times, liking it very much. I have not tried Stella or August but hear good reviews---maybe next time!

        1. Adrienne Jan 6, 2007 03:49 PM

          As a transplant who likes New Orleans flavor but also finds the food too rich sometimes, I would recommend Herbsaint or Cochon, which both do non-traditional-New-Orleans and are delicious...Dick & Jenny's might also be a good choice for you, it definitely has local personality and great food but has less intense options... also, whereever you go, you might consider asking for help ordering -- if you tell your waiter that you want something not too heavy, he or she can probably help navigate you away from things that us outsiders can't digest :)

          4 Replies
          1. re: Adrienne
            h
            Hungry Celeste Jan 6, 2007 09:25 PM

            I can't say that I find anything on the meny at Cochon light or subtle...it is an updated riff on traditional cajun charcuterie, and salt & fat are crucial elements in almost every dish offered. Ham hocks? Pork debris & blackeyed pea gumbo? Headcheese? Fried boudin balls? All very tasty, none very light.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste
              l
              Lives to Eat Jan 6, 2007 09:49 PM

              I loved Bayona the first time I ate there (in 2001) and went back on my next three trips. Unfortunately, each time I was less impressed and didn't go at all on my last two trips. It could as easily be in San Francisco as New Orleans, so you may like it better than Brigtsen's. I went to August in December and was somewhat disappointed. If you don't like salty food, I don't think that's a very good choice, either. My amuse bouche and appetizer were extremely salty. And for $122.00 for one person (the less of the expensive tasting menus, 1 drink and 1 glass of wine), I think you could do better elsewhere. I wanted to try Cuvee...it was also highly recommended, but didn't have time. I really liked the lunch I had at Herbsaint, so that may be a good choice too.

              1. re: Lives to Eat
                a
                asm_ny Jan 7, 2007 02:07 AM

                Just had a terrific meal at Bayona, but agree it wasn't particularly representative of the area. But it was delicious!

              2. re: Hungry Celeste
                Adrienne Jan 6, 2007 10:37 PM

                I guess when I go there I tend to order light, but I think having small plates in general helps people order just the amount they want... also the gulf fish is definitely not too heavy, we really enjoyed that.

            2. dcata25 Jan 16, 2007 03:32 PM

              We were at Brigsten's last October and did not really like the food either. The best item on the seafood platter was the corn bread. We would not go back.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dcata25
                a
                asm_ny Feb 6, 2007 04:45 AM

                Funny. The corn bread was the one thing I liked too. Absolutely DRENCHED in butter, but that was part of its charm ... in small bites!

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