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Best 'Entertaining high-brow clients' Place in NOLA?

Greetings, fellow foodies/Chowers! I am entertaining between 14-18 University Presidents and Law Library directors in July at a conference. I have been to town several times, but not in a few years, so I am way out of the foodie scene there. Where would be a good place to take a group of 'Educated Tourists' for a really bang-out 'OPP' (Other Peoples Money) dinner in town? I know there are LOTS of places, but I want something really stand-out.

I am looking to, if possible (and it should be, considering the place), stick to a quintessentially Creole/Cajun theme to the cuisine. Anyone can get a good steak anywhere, and these folks I am sure have had many. Atmosphere and ambience are both important, and the abililty to handle a medium-large group is as well. Money is (virtually) no object.

Suggestions? Thoughts? Places to consider? I want and need this night to really shine!

Thanks!
Kris

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  1. Take them to Brigsten's. Frank (the chef) is an amazing talent and a generous guy. He donated time and food and love to my relief kitchen in New Orleans last Spring and had some of us to dinner at his restaurant, as well. Great guy and food, authentic to the area's tradtions and feel.

    1. Bellyworth loved "Murial's" on Jackson Square.
      Here is the website- http://muriels.com/html/home.html
      Service and food was to die for "Murial's" was the culinary highlight of Bellyworth's 9 day NOLA food binge. Emerils in the warehouse district was also good not so much creole style.

      BW

      PS- if you read the rewiews on city search (not as smart as chowhounders) you'll see 15 reviews all good, 14 of them say excellent.

      1. Well, there are the big 3, Galatoire's, Arnaud's and Antoine's. Arnaud's has private rooms upstairs, some including a balcony for pre-dinner cocktails and hors d'oevres. Those would be the classic Creole places. I love Galatoire's and Arnaud's, but I think Arnaud's might work better for your group.

        For more modern Creole, it's hard to beat the food and ambience at Commander's. It's well-known for a good reason. K-Paul's has nouveau Cajun, but the atmosphere might be a little casual for your purposes. Food is outstanding. I'd disagree about Muriel's, the building is really neat, and the food can be quite good, but definitely not a knockout.

        Finally, there's August. I don't know if it's Creole, but he uses many many local ingredients, the atmosphere is nothing but classy, and the food is arguably the best in the city. Have fun planning!

        9 Replies
        1. re: JGrey

          See I haveheard mixed reviews on all of them. Lemme clarify. They are ALL 'good' by any definition. Galat's I have heard is stale, past it's prime, and becomng the creole equivilant of a Mortons steakhouse. With the moder creole idea, most of the menus and wine list suggest that 'modern creole' is little more then classic french, with crawdad's and a little gumbo as the soup. I get leery.

          August isn't from their menu or what I read, creole, but may be. Thoughts gang? My HUGE problem is that Brigsten's is telling me when I call that a party of even 15 ( on the lower end) is likely too many for them to take in on a Saturday, regardless of moeny. ARGH!!!

          1. re: larspeart

            I think that August is perfect for this group. It's not old-line creole, but rather excellent new American cooking with Louisiana inspiration & locally sourced ingredients.

            Alternatively, you could do a lot worse than Commander's; the place is huge and can accomodate groups without batting an eye--they could provide you with a private room should you want one. If you want hard-core Louisiana, then take 'em to K-Paul's; be warned, it's not a diet friendly place.

            Brigtsen's is great, but too small to do justice to a large-ish group, I think. It's a nice, chef-owned, smallish place....cozy, quaint, but not a lot of "wow" factor.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              My husband entertains a great deal on business trips to New Orleans, and August is one of his favorites. I've not been post-Katrina, but I very much enjoyed the food and the room was lovely.

                1. re: cor

                  I'm going to join the votes for August.

                  Brigtsen's, though I love it, is probably not gilded enough for this group.

                  Of the three old-line creoles you mentioned, Antoine's seems to have the most post-storm buzz. Though "stale" is sort of an odd term for Galatoire's. I'd be more inclined to say "staid" or "frozen in time."

                  As alternates, you might consider Broussard's, or a private reception/dinner upstairs at the Napoleon House.

                  If you're looking for a little less stuffy, maybe consider Cochon. Very Louisiana, still pretty hot off its opening.

                  1. re: jamy

                    Upstairs at the Napoleon House is lovely for a small wedding, but the food isn't special. It's good enough for reception food, but ordinary fare, IMHO.

                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                      Great suggestions guys! Some names keep popping up, and there are some good new ones on there as well. Making this harder rather then easier, haha! Trying to get an idea of narrowing this down to 2-3 now. Brigsten's said they can't do a group of that size, which bums me out, because the menu was the fav I looked at so far.

                      1. re: larspeart

                        August is great for what you want. We often enteratain out of town professors at August. For a large group they have a wonderful upstairs room that is just fantastic with completely exposed brick walls and a great view. If money is no object, see if you can rent out the upstairs penthouse for an hour to do cocktails before dinner.

                        1. re: malenky

                          Might Clancy's work or Gautreau's

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. The food at Stella is exceptional, great wine list and wonderful service. The room is hideous. I don;t know if your group will care about that or not, but the decor is borderline ridiculous.

          2. For a similar type group (hospital CEOs/CFO's/COO's - you know the O-zone) from around the US, I got us into Commander's. It was a party of 15 and all, even the vegan, had a wonderful time. Great food, great service and a memorable evening. Only little problem was when one of the guests, from Boulder, CO, asked if they had a "Healthmark" menu, and the waitress replied, " dawling, this is New Orleans. We don't even know what 'Heathmark' is!"

            I still get cards from these folk, telling me what a wonderful occasion that was, and it's been some years now.

            OTOH, I have to admit that we are doing a group of 10 at Brigsten's early next month, when we come over, and SO-O looking forward to it.

            Hunt