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Jul 26, 2007 08:48 PM

Tasting/Degustation Menus

I'm going to be in NOLA from August 10th-14th. I'm flying in Friday very early and leaving mid-day Tuesday. I basically need to plan lunch/dinner for Friday - Monday which is 8 meals in total and am looking for recommendations. I love tasting/degustation menus, especially paired with wine. Cost isn't really a factor either.

This is the list of the restaurants that I have been to in past trips. While I know that most of these restaurants have rotating/daily changing menus, I would like to try new places if possible.
Restaurant August - good food, okay service
Besh Steakhouse - okay food, good service
Bayona - good food, good service
Commander's Palace - okay/good food, good service
Antoines - bad service/bad food
Court of Two Sisters - was overrated
Emeril's - good food/slow service
Delmonico - good food/good service

The list as of right now is:
Friday - Galatoire's
Saturday - Bayona "light lunch" - I'm only going to go here again if someone can't recommend another restaurant
Sunday - Bacco Tasting Lunch
Monday - Herbsaint

Friday - Cafe Giovanni - let Chef Duke feed you
Saturday - Brigsten's (do they do a tasting or degustation menu?)
Sunday - Riche by Todd English ??? (would it be better to do this for sunday breakfast/bruch and do bacco tasting dinner instead?)
Monday - Cuvee Degustation

Anything that I'm missing or anything that people would recommend I change in the line-up?


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  1. Stella! for dinner on Sunday night instead of riche; I haven't had their tasting menu, but I thought the food there was excellent, and have heard great things about the lobster tasting menu.

    Lunch on Saturday, you could try someplace like Cafe Degas, Lilette, or Luke if you don't want to go back to Bayona.

    1. Brigtsen's doesn't have a tasting menu per se, but the ongoing seafood platter is like a seafood tasting--and as I mentioned, you can order items from it separately.

      1. I was told at Brigsten's that they would do a tasting menu if I requested it, but that they really weren't that type of restaurant. The reservation person recommended that I order 4 or 5 appetizers if what I wanted to do something closer to a tasting menu.

        I've made reservations at Bacco, Herbsaint, Brigstens and I'm going to go to Stella on Sunday night instead of Riche. I left a message for Cuvee and will call Cafe Giovanni later tonight (their message machine says to call back instead of leaving a message and them calling you back - which is unusual for a fine dining establishment). Saturday lunch still has me stumpted. I'm thinking either NOLA or possibly Luke?

        19 Replies
        1. re: stockboy85

          If you like all types of seafood, the platter would probably be the closest to a tasting ...

          I love that they told you they weren't that kind of restaurant :)

          I tried to go a bit lighter at lunch because I thought otherwise I wouldn't be able to enjoy a multi-course dinner. On Sunday, I never made it past brunch ...

          My favorite lunch was Eat New Orleans. Does Cochon do lunch?

          1. re: foiegras

            According to their website ( Cochon is open for lunch @ 1100 M-F.
            eat New Orleans is a favorite of our's as well. Good food, quiet neighborhood location. Is it still BYOB?

            1. re: philmaur

              It is still BYOB. I loved the view.

            2. re: foiegras

              I'm a 275 lb guy - I can eat a big lunch and it not be a problem for dinner ;)

              I love that they told me they weren't that type of restaurant too. He said that they were upscale/fine dining, but traditional New Orleans. That everything is fresh and that the best way to enjoy Brigstens is to let the chef do whatever it is that he does and order off of the menu. I'm going to take him at face value and reserve judgement until after my meal :)

              I was thinking that all of my lunch choices were pretty light? Bacco is the only tasting menu and that is a 3 course - soup/salad, entree, and dessert.

              Would Eat New Orleans be a better choice than NOLA or Luke for Saturday lunch?

              I hesitate to go to Cochon because I'm going to eat at Herbsaint and they are like sister restaurants.

              1. re: stockboy85

                Well, I am jealous--I think ;)

                I have not been to either, but I can tell you what I gathered here. The consensus on Emeril's restaurants seemed to be that none of them were really top-tier. Luke seemed to be not quite up to speed yet.

                They're totally different, though, right? Of course this is coming from the person who tried to get cute and go to Stanley for lunch, Stella for dinner ... not realizing that Stanley had been closed for many months.

                1. re: foiegras


                  Yea, I've been to Emeril's and Delmonico. Emeril's the food was great but it was so packed that the service wasn't up to par. We were a group of 7 and the service was just really slow. The food and service at Delmonico in NOLA were both very good when I ate there last year, but the one in Las Vegas was better IMHO. The LV version was just a tad nicer and very much less crowded even on a Saturday evening.

                  I like the look of Luke's menu, but I'm a really big stickler for service eventhough I'm eating alone. I just don't think there should be a difference for a party of 1 or a party of 4. I might put it off for my next visit next year.

                  That's true - Couchon is a totally different concept than Herbsaint. However, I don't like the menu at Couchon as much as I like it at Herbsaint. Couchon's menus is just a little too off the beaten path for me.

                  1. re: stockboy85

                    I have not been there in a while, but the best degustation menu I have ever experienced was at Windsor Court. It was indeed very pricey, but the matching of wine with food was superior to any fabled restaurant I have ever been to either here or in Europe! I heard about a month ago that Greg Sonnier has been appointed to be their new executive chef, but don't know if he has yet assumed the position. If he has, I would hie thee hence as fast as possible. His talents are the best in the city, in my humble opinion; and combined with the unmatched ambience of Windsor Court, this may well be the next James Beard award winner.

                    1. re: hjacmc

                      The only problem with going to the Widsor Grill is that they require jackets. I'm a die-hard foodie, but hate wearing a jacket for any occasion. Plus, I don't even think that I have one in my closet that fits, which would mean that I would have to go and purchase one which is not going to happen unless I win a lot of money at the casino while i'm there :)

                      Here is the new schedule
                      Friday - Galatorie's
                      Saturday - Luke
                      Sunday - Bacco - Lunch Tasting
                      Monday - Herbsaint

                      Friday - Cafe Giovanni - Let Chef Duke Feed You
                      Saturday - Brigsten's
                      Sunday - Stella Tasting
                      Monday - Cuvee Degu

                      1. re: stockboy85

                        Galatoire's, even for lunch, is anything but "light". To wuote AJ Liebling, they use enough butter to "thrombose a regiment of Paul Dudley Whites." [Heart doctor of the era]. Froday is a heavy local day and there will be many coats and ties and ladies in hats.

                        1. re: hazelhurst

                          I've heard mixed reviews for Friday Lunch at Galatorie's. I know that traditionally you wear a jacket, but as I said eariler, that isn't going to be happening...especially in hot, humid August weather.

                          1. re: stockboy85

                            I had lunch at Galatoire's on a hot August friday last year, didn't wear a jacket, and didn't feel a bit out of place. We weren't there at the crack of 11:30, so we wound up sitting upstairs, but we still ate & drank ourselves into oblivion and had a ball. Our waiter was very knowledgable and helped us create our own 'tasting' menu. I am in total agreement with you on the topic of jackets in August and on good service for a table of one (since I often dine alone). Can't wait to hear your reports.

                            1. re: ClevelandRandy

                              I don't really care where I sit as long as I get to drink the afternoon away.

                              I often dine alone when I'm out of town on business. A lot of restaurants are accomodationg for a lone diner, but in my experience, lone diners are often ignored. I'm not one to sit back and just let that happen though. If I feel that the service wasn't up to par, I definitely say something.

                              I frequently return to the same cities for business and have to take out large groups of clients to dinner (tables of 10 - 12 are normal). I like to pick restaurants that I think will fit the tastes of my clients which means that I will only take clients to restaurants where I have previously eaten. And since usually that first dining exprience is alone, if I didn't get good service that trip, then I won't bring a group of clients back to that restaurant the next time. I certainly don't want to take clients to a restaurant where the only topic of conversations is how horrible our service was - I want to conversation to be concentrated on furthering our business dealings.

                              1. re: stockboy85

                                I think you'll find the food supports an afternoon of drinking. My friend and I were onto 3 or 4 martinis before we rolled out of there (and it is rare indeed that I drink before sunset). The appetizers were wonderful -- I particularly remember the fried eggplant and some type of puffed potato that were great. Enjoy!! (We're going back this year for Saturday lunch.)

                                1. re: ClevelandRandy

                                  Sounds great! I love to people watch, so I'm hoping to get a table downstairs, but if I can't, getting tipsy upstairs will do :)

                2. re: stockboy85

                  cochon & herbsaint are like night & day...definately try cochon but you have to stay on top of the servers if you go for lunch...

                  chef duke will take a reservation online last time I checked

                  1. re: chef4hire

                    Cafe Giovanni no longer takes reservations online.

                    It took three more calls (the first one I got a busy signal, the second one I got put on hold for 15 minutes and the person never came back on the line, the third one I was able to actually make my reservation) but I finally got a table for the evening.

                    The phone thing doesn't put the restaurant in the best light for me, but the reviews of the restaurant are wonderful, so I'm not going to let that stop me from going.

                    I think Cochon is going to be on the list for next trip. I've already made reservations for all of the days that I'm going to be there. So unless I skip Galatorie's on Friday, there isn't enough room in the schedule for Cochon.

                    1. re: stockboy85

                      IMHO you can do better than Cafe Giovanni, not a bad place by any means but if you are at a crossroads select something else. Not everybody has the love and affection for the food there, but there is no doubt that Chef Duke is a beloved member of our community who gives tirelessly back to the city he loves food wise and other wise.

                      1. re: Tonto

                        I will probably be back in NOLA before the end of the year for another 3 or 4 day business trip. Cafe Giovanni was actually one of the top three places on my list for this trip. One of my co-workers recommended it and the reviews seem to be favorable, so I wanted to try it. I kind of like the adventure of a non-set tasting menu which is something that you don't find at many restaurants anymore.

                  2. re: stockboy85

                    >>> I hesitate to go to Cochon because I'm going to eat at Herbsaint and they are like sister restaurants. <<<

                    Don't hesitate. GO!