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Dining in New Orleans Post-K

Eating New Orleans

We’ve just returned from a 9-day trip to NOLA. First time back, post-Katrina. We ate at all of the restaurants, that I had mentioned in my previous thread, plus a few additional ones. In an attempt to put these into some order, I’m going to do, as I did for our 16-day trip to Hawai`i, last October, and add each restaurant as a Reply. That way, someone can collapse the threads and hit only what they want. It also helps me put each restaurant into a separate review, so I don’t jump all over the place.

Background: wife is a “native,” as is her mother, who was traveling with us. Wife’s family mostly still lives in NOLA, or its environs. Everyone loves good food, though most are not the “food-geeks,” that we are, and certainly not the winos, either. One nephew has been a line-chef, a pastry-chef and a sous-chef at some higher-end NOLA restaurants and just cooked his way across Prague for six months. A niece has been in food-service in NOLA, mostly at the “neighborhood eatery” level. My wife could well be a chef, were she not so good at being a hospital president. Maybe for retirement, I’ll get her into Le Cordon Bleu and fund a restaurant wherever she wants – if I can be her sommelier...

We flew the Southwest Airlines’ Disney Land/Disney World shuttle, picking it up in Phoenix. This made it easy on us, as mother-in-law is 87 and in a wheelchair - non-stop was definitely the way to go. I left my wine glasses in their travel bag at home, since my hands were full, and regretted that decision several times.

In general terms, the food was great, and the service was even better. We could not have felt any more welcome (except for MSY, but that is another story), and it was heartening to see the City doing so well with the restaurant scene. [Note: if I were just a casual tourist and did not know intimately, of the charms of New Orleans, I would have left immediately and never returned, based on the treatment and attitude of some of the concessionaires at MSY. They are NOT ambassadors for the great, but still struggling city – sour, dour, mean, rude and nasty. What a bunch.]

What follows is the chronological progression, regarding our diners. The other dining will not be covered, with two exceptions: brunch on Sunday and lunch on the Gulf Coast.

Hunt

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  1. Dockside

    We were a bit late getting into MSY and then had a couple of minor problems with our hotel reservations. With much of the family in-tow, it was decided to try Dockside, a small neighborhood place on Dickory Ave, Metairie/Harahan. I had seen this place on previous trips, but had never eaten there. Family members, however, had, and suggested it. We arrived with a party of eight.

    It is a well-lit “neighborhood” restaurant in a small strip-center in the Hickory/Dickory/Dock area, just off of the western end of the Earhart Expressway.

    Now, I must reiterate that we arrived late and with a large group, to be fair to the owners. There were a few patrons there, but most were finishing up their meals. I think that the kitchen might even have shut down, about the time that we arrived. However, we were not impressed by anything served.

    Most of the family had either the seafood platter (ours with soft-shelled crab), or the “extreme” seafood platter (probably not the official name, but it was $40 and had about everything imaginable. We did a few appetizer plates, but other than the onion rings, I do not recall what they were. I understand why my memory is not working, as everything was forgettable. The onion rings looked much better on a few plates, that were still being served to the stragglers in the restaurant. We got a double order for our end of the table, and they were the oddest onion rings, that I have ever encountered. They were large (tall, as the onion is sliced) and very thick. The batter seemed to be baked, and not fried, as I believe the earlier versions were, or at least appeared. The onion, inside, seemed to be reconstructed from jig-saw puzzle-like pieces, if that makes sense and were raw - even cold in places. The batter was warm, but not very. The onion pieces seemed moist, but had no taste or consistency - odd.

    The seafood platters (fried shrimp, oysters, fish and fries) seemed to be heated from the freezer. Nothing had a really good taste, and I think that they might well have been re-heated. Our soft-shell was just plain bad. I know that the season is “over,” but this crustacean had been in a freezer for a year, or two. It was inedible. Bad choice on our part. Even the 20-something nephews and nieces did not finish their “extreme” platters, and I’ve seen them devastate a restaurant like a swarm of locusts. No one came close to finishing their meal. No one wanted to take any home, either.

    The wine list was non-existent, but I did not expect much. I won’t bore you with the wine glasses, but will say now, that I wish that I had traveled with my own. Having a wheelchair-bound family member, precluded that, as we had enough to carry, without a bunch of wine glasses.

    I hate to write the above, as several family members stated that this was NOT the typical fare there, but all chimed in, “we should have gone to Come Back Inn.” I really felt that I needed to try them once more, earlier in the evening, without the whole family, but could not pass up the food, that was to come.

    After this inauspicious start, I really did not know what to expect during the rest of the trip.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      My experiences with Dockside over the past four years have been very different from Bill's. Since my daughter lives just across the street, I have gone there numerous times before and after Katrina. My family has had the platters, salads, po'boys, and soups everything has been well above average. Dockside is not fine dining. It is a great neighborhood casual seafood venue. I heading to Mardi Gras on Friday and looking forward to stopping by Dockside, getting great seafood, and avoiding the crowds in the tourist areas.

    2. Sake Café
      4201 Veterans Memorial Blvd.
      Metairie
      No Web site found

      The next night was “kids’ choice,” and we ended up at Sake Cafe, behind Houston’s on Veterans Boulevard in Metairie. It was an unassuming place outside, with nice decor inside. Now, I enjoy sushi, but am not the sushi-nut, that my wife is. I usually build around a tempura seafood main, with several various rolls, and then nibble on her full-sushi spread. We do this in San Francisco, Honolulu, London, Denver (yes, I know, but one of the best sushi restaurants that we’ve encountered *anywhere* is Kenny Sonoda’s in Aurora, CO), almost anyplace. The sushi was far better than the tempura, which was just OK, with very rubbery calamari. Fortunately, we had two giant platters of almost everything on the menu. All was very good.

      I thought that I had hit the “mother lode,” when I saw Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough Region, NZ) for $40/btl. on the wine list. I am a fan of this wine, and SB is usually great with Sushi. Normally, I’ll go with a bit more of a fruit-driven wine, say from the Central Coast, Sonoma, or even Napa, but could not resist this deal. Well, it was not to be – no Cloudy Bay. Unfortunately, most of the wines, on the meager list were not sushi-friendly, and the only other SB was ‘04 Casa Lapastolle, Rapel Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Now, I have to confess that I am not a fan of Chilean wines, only having encountered one, that I would buy. I have also attended three wine dinners with Mrs Alexandra Marnier-Lapostolle, and was, at one, seated immediately by her side. When asked for a full review of the evening’s wines (several “library” selections brought in just for that event), I had to use decorum to keep from offending my hostess. I believe that I could have successfully run for political office, based on my responses that evening.

      This wine just fell flat and was overpowered by all aspects of the meal, except for a “plastic bite” on the finish, which was not to be overpowered by anything. The glassware did not help the wine, in the least, and it was served about 40°F (a theme that was repeated all too often). OTOH, maybe it was a blessing that this wine was so cold, as you could not taste anything for some time. When you could, it was not really worth drinking. Oh well, it WAS a sushi spot, so what did I expect?

      All of the sushi was very good, though nothing hit me as great. I do not know about BYOB policies, but would try to bring in my own wines next time and pay corkage, if possible. I sure missed my own glassware too.

      Not bad, and at a fair price. Not the best sushi that I’ve had, but really quite good. It seems that I saw at least one other restaurant with this name, so it might be a mini-chain.

      1. Restaurant August
        301 Tchoupitoulas St
        http://restaurantaugust.com/august.htm

        Now the fun begins!

        My wife had done a seminar with Chef John Besh at the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience some years back, and had been very impressed with his cooking and philosophy. I had also seen many good reviews of Restaurant August, so we were primed. We dined as a party of 2 and chose an early sitting.

        The interior is lovely and elegant, with at least three “rooms” to choose from. Though the “wine room” seating was available, we chose a table by the large windows, in the main dining room. The tables are very ample, and well-spaced. Service, from reservations to the final course/wine, were outstanding.

        Our starter wine was a Louis-Jadot Meursault ‘04.

        We both opted for the nine-course “tasting menu,” with wine-pairings:

        1st Course:
        Tomato Tart Inversé, paired with Perrier Jouët NV Champagne. Tomatoes were the recurring theme of the evening. The tart was crisp and the tomatoes were very fresh an tangy. The textures were an excellent counter-point. The Champagne was the best “pairing” for much of the evening.

        2nd Course:
        Crispy Seared Foie Gras with Bing Cherry and Pickled Chanterelle, paired with a Chenz Marchand Sancerre. Luckily, I still had some of my Champagne, as the Sancerre disappeared next to the Foie Gras. I had asked for a TBA Riesling, but none was available. A glass of Late Harvest SB was produced, but I do not have the notes on it. It, and the Champagne were far, far better than the Sancerre. The Foie Gras was just right, and the Cherry and Chanterelles were interesting notes. The textures of the toast point (base) and the Foie Gras was a very nice balance.

        3rd Course:
        Olive Crusted Redfish with Basil Risotto, Crispy Sweet Tomatoes and Aioli. This was served with Treana, Central Sonoma Coast Viognier. While I am a fan of Viognier, the Treana did not do well with the Redfish. The Treana is a Viognier/Marsanne blend (do not have the %, but it seems that it’s ~ 65/35, IIRC). It’s a nice wine, but did not belong with Redfish. Still had some of the Champagne and the Sancerre, each of which did better, but would have loved a Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir with some nice acid. The Redfish was probably the best course, but suffered from a poor wine pairing.

        4th Course:
        House-made Rabbit Sausage with White Bean & Cherokee Purple Tomato Salad, served with the Acacia, Carneros Pinot Noir. The Rabbit was wonderful as was the “salad,” upon which it was served – tender, lovely presentation and great textures. Now, I like the Acacia Carneros. It’s even our “house” PN. I wish that I had had it with the Redfish, but it did not help the Rabbit. It was just too one-dimensional. I think that their Beckstoffer Vineyard bottling, or maybe some of the more hearty and complex Santa Barbara PNs would have been a far better choice. Even a Syrah would have done more for the pairing, than did the Acacia.

        5th Course:
        Pan-fried Veal Sweetbreads with Garlic and Wild Mushrooms, paired with Lea Santa Barbara Petite Sirah. I am not a really big fan of Sweetbreads, in general, but these were the best that I have ever had. Their texture was similar to that of the Foie Gras and the Garlic and the Mushrooms were perfect accompaniments. The Lea, a wine, that I was not familiar with, went very well (not quite as well as the Champagne from Course #1, which was leading at this point), and the Acacia was better, than with the Rabbit. So glad that I held on to most of my wines for the other courses, and wish that they had been served first, so I could have tried some of the later ones, with earlier dishes.

        6th Course:
        Mayhaw Glazed Quail, stuffed with Berkshire Pork on Rice Vermicelli with Lemongrass Broth. This was served with Surh Luchtel, Gary’s Vineyard, Pinot Noir. The Quail was crisp and the Berkshire Pork added the right note of salt and smokiness. While I liked the Lemongrass Broth, I’m not sure that it really complimented the Quail & Pork. I think that I would have enjoyed it elsewhere. This wine was probably the best all around, in the group, and its earthy notes, plus a hint of smoke, brought it to the #1 pairing.

        7th Course:
        Slow-braised Kobe Short-rib with Potato Confit, Asparagus and Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette. My favorite! This was maybe the third-best Short-rib that I have had and atop the Potato, was excellent, tender, moist – all the things that Short-rib should be. It was paired with the Tensley, Colson Canyon, Syrah. It was a nice wine, but I’d have grabbed a Turley Duarte Zinfandel, if this were at my home. The Tensley just did not have the body to stand up to the beef.

        8th Course:
        Grilled Fleur de Tech Sandwich with Cucumber Sorbet, served with Fonseca 10yr Tawny Port. The Cucumber Sorbet didn’t work as well as I thought that it might, but the “Sandwich” was great, as was the Port. Maybe it was the Cucumber, but the match was not hitting on all cylinders.

        9th Course:
        Warm Tarte of Local Blueberries with Brown Butter Pecan Crust and Buttermilk Ice Cream. Yum! This was served with Domaine de Gran Prē Pomme D’Or. These two item, the Tarte and the Pomme D’Or were a wonderful way to end the evening.

        I had recalled comments on CH and a few other boards, that Chef Besh’s portions were too small. As all that we had to go on, was the tasting menu, I felt that they were perfect. I would not have wanted any more of any - except the Foie Gras, but then I’d eat that, until I had to be carried from the table, so it doesn’t count. The wine pours were about 3-4 oz., or what I call a half-glass (except for my starter wine and Foie Gras accompaniment wine), and were ideal. The presentations were excellent and I’m glad that we opted for the main room with the large windows, to better see the delightful detail. I would not have missed that show for anything.

        I thought that the wine pairings were the weakest part of the evening. As noted, I felt that a few might have been “out of order,” and were certainly not the best possible. OTOH, it is impossible to order the “perfect” wines with so large a menu, unless you are dining with a party of 10-12, so one has to go with the sommelier’s choices, unless the restaurant offers hundreds of B-T-G wine selections, and few in the world have a list that would have covered this meal. Except for the Champagne, the whites were too cold and all of the reds far too warm. The glassware needs to be kicked up a notch, or two. I did see more appropriate glassware being used at nearby tables, and feel that to accompany Chef Besh’s work, better glasses should be used for the pairings. Some restaurants look upon pairings as “just wine-by-the-glass,” but they should not be considered such. They should showcase the best that the sommelier can deliver, to work with the food. I think that sommelier, Lee Ingold should step it up a bit, even if it means charging more for the wine pairings and the better glassware. It would certainly be worth the $. We recently dined at Chef Mavro’s, Honolulu, and the sommelier, Todd Ashline, formerly of Tru in Chicago, offered two pairings with the 4 – 7 – 9 and 11 course “tasting menu.” One was a “standard pairing, but for ~$5 – 10 additional per glass, one could get his 1er Cru pairing – outstanding and well worth the extra. I wish that more sommeliers would provide this service. Maybe, in time, Restaurant August can do something similar, as the food really deserves it. Another tip: with a tasting menu and wine pairing, serve the “next” wine, BEFORE the previous dish has been cleared, not after the patron has had three bites of the one, that the wine is to be paired with.

        Later in the week, we happened to have a server, who also works at Restaurant August and he had a theory on why the wines might not have been up to par with the food. His thought was that in the Summer, the diners were more probably local, and not so attuned to fine wines, as during the height of the “tourist season,” plus that the restaurants did not get their better wines in, at that time of the year. I do not know if this is the case, but would urge the sommelier to go for the best, during all seasons, and not short-change any of the diners at any time. I felt that the food and other aspects of the service, were 95-99%, but that the wines, to borrow from Chef Emeril Lagasse, needed to be “kicked up a notch” - glassware, serving temp and wine selections. Remember, the old rule-of-thumb about reds being served at “room temp” comes from Europe, where “room temp” is between 50 & 60° F, not far from the normal cellar temp, and whites should not seem as though they were poured into a chilled glass. This is not Budweiser, that we are drinking folks.

        Though only a general observation, it appeared that while we dined, from a very early seating to a very late departure, the restaurant had turned-over about twice. Maybe I missed someone in another room, but do not think so. At no time, did we feel rushed in any fashion, though we were occupying a prime table. Pacing was perfect and every aspect of service was flawless. We were never wanting, without, or being intruded upon.

        The menu was certainly innovative and Chef Besh might have been taking a few chances, but all dishes were very good to great, without some of the hokey affectations, that too many chefs use today. There was not one instance of what I refer to as “the emperor’s new clothes.” If I were to be in NOLA next month, I’d dine there again. The cost was $434.18, dinner for 2, including tip, but remember, that I had three additional glasses of wine.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          "His thought was that in the Summer, the diners were more probably local, and not so attuned to fine wines, as during the height of the “tourist season,” plus that the restaurants did not get their better wines in, at that time of the year."

          YET another reason to cross RA off my list...a server doesn't come up with this kind of theory on his/her own...if there is even a minute bit of truth to this statement I will make sure my expense account dollars are directed elsewhere ~ especially in the off season until the tourists get to town and bring with them better class of wine drinkers...yeah right

          1. re: chef4hire

            I do not know how intimate the young server's experience was with the actual wine program, but, like you, feel that it is a very poor approach to a food/wine program, if true. I feel that all diners deserve the best in each, that a restaurant can muster - at all times.

            Now, some of the problem could be one of distribution and the re-building of a wine program. I'll withhold final judgement, until I can dine there again. However, I will grade the wine program a bit more harshly then, and not be so quick to overlook pairings that just do not work, and wines that should be on the B-T-G list at Copland's, or similar.

            As mentioned elsewhere, I'd urge RA to look into doing a two-tier "sommelier's pairing" with a regular list and a "reserve" list for a few $ more. Todd Ashline's approach at Chef Mavro's, Honolulu, is perfect, in this respect. Though we do a lot of chef's tastings & wine pairings around the globe, I have yet to encounter so well thoughtout a program, elsewhere.

            Chef Besh's food needs a better accompaniment, in my opinion.

            Hunt

          2. re: Bill Hunt

            Just caught Chef Besh winning the Iron Chef competition agains Chef Mario Bitali. Chef Besh's fare looked and sounded great. Apparently, the judges thought so too. Phoenix had just scored a win with Chef Mark Tarbell, and we've got another one taping now.

            Just thought I'd add this here, in the Chef Besh sub-thread.

            Hunt

            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Lee Ingold has not been at August since April 2005.

              1. re: fruitcake

                Thanks for the info. That was the name that I was given, and was also still on the Web site. I made the assumption that if they were still listing him, and giving references to him, when we dined there, that he was still current. Obviously, my research stopped a bit short.

                [Edit] Out of curiosity, who is the sommelier at Restaurant August, and was that person in charge 9 mos. ago? I cannot imagine why the restaurant would have given me old, incorrect, info, but maybe the head server did not know, so just chose a name from the past.

                Appreciate the correction,

                Hunt

            2. G W Fins
              808 Bienville St
              http://www.gwfins.com/

              Years ago, we were to attend a medical convention in NOLA, but had to change our plans. A foodie/wino friend got a rec. from the hotel concierge for her one free night of dining – a new place in the Quarter, G W Fins. She called from the restaurant to tell us to add them to our list for the next trip down, partly because of their extensive B-T-G wine list, but also the seafood. We did, and the rest is “history.” We’ve dined there on almost every trip to NO, including vintners’ dinners with the NOWFE events. We took mother-in-law, an aunt and a cousin for an early dinner. I won’t try to give a complete review of everyone’s meal, but will, instead, concentrate on my wife’s choices, and on mine.

              Starters:
              Seafood Gumbo (excellent, though not the best of my life, or even this trip), Wood Grilled Gulf Shrimp with Melon Relish and Lobster Butter and Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad with Balsamic Strawberries and Walnuts. The starting wines were: Cakebread Cellars, ‘05 Napa Sauvignon Blanc and Belle Glos, Clark & Telephone Vineyard, Santa Maria ‘05 Pinot Noir.

              Mains:
              Crispy Jumbo Soft Shell Crabs with Mashed Potatoes, Creamy Brown Butter and Chopped Cashews, and Wood Grilled Louisiana Pompano with Lump Crab, 4 Melon Salsa, Grilled Banana and Lobster Butter. The wines were: Cakebread Cellars, ‘05 Napa Chardonnay and Fiddlehead Cellars, Fiddlestix/Lollapalooza Vineyard, ‘03 Santa Rita Hills, Pinot Noir (would have been great with the 3rd & 4th courses at Restaurant August.

              The Gulf Shrimp and the Soft Shell Crab were both excellent. Apparently, there were still a few good soft shells left, though later in the week, Chef Frank Brigsten had not found any, so they were off his menu. The Grilling of the Shrimp were perfect, and that is not that easy to get just right. The Soft Shell was crisp on the outside, but oh so tender and juicy on the inside - one of the best! I really enjoyed the Pompano, but kept reflecting to the last time that I had that fish (different prep., of course) at the Pontchartrain Hotel. It was good, but the bar had been set very high. The salad was very nice, and the Balsamic Strawberries were a nice touch.

              Of the wines, the Cakebread Cellars Chard was the weakest. I would have chosen a Montrachet, or even a Meursault, had they been on the list. I like Dick Cakebread’s wines, even after he sold the operation, but this was just a bit too much of a Cal-Chard. Hey, what did I expect? It WAS a Cal-Chard.

              The restaurant is bright, with well-spaced tables and a very attentive staff, as always. Service is very friendly and attentive, though in a more “casual” way, than Restaurant August. Once again, we arrived early and stayed late (but not as late as Restaurant August) and never felt rushed. Very good pacing and nothing missing. The surfaces are a bit “reflective,” and when the dining room is going full-tilt, it can be a bit loud. Still, the seafood (more grilled than fried, usually) is always top-notch. The wine glassware needs a bit of a re-work, but was still better than what we found at the majority of the restaurants. Still, why not go for perfect? The wine list seems pared down, and there seemed to be fewer B-T-G selections. Maybe restaurants have scaled back the wine selections, post-Katrina. I know that many lost their cellars, so I will not be too critical, as the selections here, and elsewhere were adequate. One suggestion that I would offer to G W Fins is, white Burgundy. Both the steely, flinty Chablis and the richer, more buttery variations, would go so very well with their fare. The Pinot Noirs were very good, however - maybe a Brewer-Clifton for the high-end, but that’s about all.

              After maybe 12 meals there, I do not ever hesitate to recommend them. I feel that they fit nicely into a mix of the more casual and the higher-end establishments, and have never disappointed me. My wife placed them squarely in the #2 position, behind Brigtsen’s – not bad.

              The total bill was $477.24 for five, with some fairly significant Pinot Noirs.

              1. Cochon
                930 Tchoupitoulas St
                http://www.gwfins.com/

                This was another restaurant, that was new to me. I had read many reviews, here and elsewhere, and really wanted to try it. The restaurant is a bit on the small side, but very bright with a nice sized bar to one side in the front of the dining room. It is very causal, with matching blonde wood tables and chairs. The chairs, though wooden, were surprisingly comfortable. For this excursion, we gathered the nephews, a few SO’s and mother-in-law, wheelchair and all. Nearly the entire crew was waiting for us, and the staff had arranged a large table, with a spot for the wheelchair. We crowded around, and I wish that we had had a bit more table real estate, especially when I added several wines to the table, along with a few beers and cocktails. Still, we got by and never felt as though we were jammed in amongst other tables – a good sign for me.

                Again, I will concentrate on wife’s and my choices, plus wines.

                Starters:
                Jalapeno & Roasted Corn Cala with Tomato Salad, Fried Alligator with Chili Garlic Aioli, Black-eyed Pea & Pork Gumbo and Spicy Grilled Pork Ribs with Watermelon Pickle. I know, 4 starters for just 2, but they all sounded so good.

                Mains:
                Oven Roasted Redfish, “Fisherman’s Style,” and Smoked Beef Brisket with Horseradish Potato Salad, plus sides of: Macaroni & Cheese, Eggplant & Shrimp Dressing and Smothered Greens.

                Everything was fantastic, plus all of the various “tastes” that the nephews put onto my plate. Each dish had distinct and distinctive flavors, and everything worked well, except for the Smothered Greens, which might have been a tad over-cooked. There was no discerning one green, i.e mustard, turnip, kale, etc. from the other. Otherwise, it was some of the best “comfort food,” that I have eaten. The portions were large enough to share “bites,” with others, and not so much that you imagined that your mother would spring from the kitchen and admonish you about the “starving children in China.” Nothing was heavy-handed, and the spices seemed about perfect. Now, we love spices, and a fair amount of “heat,” but it HAS been years, since we lived in NOLA. Everything here was just about perfect. Decades ago, I might have tapped a few drops of Tabasco into some of the dishes, but not this time - no need, as they were as I would have wanted them to be.

                Now, the wines were not so much paired, as they were just ordered, as I saw fit. With the variations in starters and mains, it would have been impossible, though the small, but adequate wine list worked well with the food. Someone knew what they were doing there. We started with Bouchard Pere et Fils, ‘04 Meursault, Les Clous and the Stadt Krems ‘05 Weinzierberg, Grüner Veltliner. These were followed up with, and overlapped by: Belle Glos, Clark & Telephone Vineyard ‘05 Santa Barbara Pinot Noir, Qupé Los Olivos ‘05 Syrah and Fritz ‘03 Sonoma Zinfandel. The wine service was very good, though a few times, the server got called away, when other tables’ meals were up. I guess that they figured that we had a ton of wine (and beers and cocktails) and that the food elsewhere might get cold, if they kept doing our wines. Not a big deal, and a bit reflective of the casual atmosphere. The glassware was adequate, but not ideal, however the serving temps were just about perfect - no cupping a glass of white, to warm it, or placing a red into an ice-water bath to cool it. I am more at ease with the casual nature of the wine service, than I am with really off serving temps, but I find that very common in the Deep South, and really much of the US.

                For dessert, I did two wines, that I did not know: “New Orleans Port,” from Covington Winery (still looking for the Web site and varietals) and the Edmeades Late Harvest Zinfandel. I know Edmeades and have had most single-vineyard offerings, but had never had their LH Zin. I expected a version of their Mendocino Ridge, Alden Ranch Zin, but on steroids. This was actually lighter than the Alden Ranch (16.5% ABV in ‘99, but with the ATF +/- 01.5% variance would guess 18%) and very interesting. It could have passed for a normal Edmeades, but I got to see the bottle. The New Orleans Port was surprisingly good. It reminded me a bit of the Sandeman’s Founder’s Reserve (Ruby) Port, but with some varietal character, beyond what one finds in Port (Porto). I could not quite place the exact varietals, but found it interesting.

                Others had more traditional desserts, and raved, but I took mine in a couple of copitas, instead.

                In all, great food in a very relaxed setting with service to match. I was very pleased with the recs. that I had received, and so glad that we had fit Cochon into the mix.

                The bill for 7, tax and tip included, came to $698.06 and I stuck on an additional $20, for some special service regarding the wheelchair. I will return and will include them in my “Must Dine” while in NOLA. Thanks for the tip.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  That is more like the pricing I have found. How this former poster fed 5 people for $150.00 is beyond me. Even lunch would cost more.

                  1. re: Tonto

                    If a group split the first courses and settled for limited mains, w/o wine, it might be possible. In my case, the wine certainly ran up the tab and did a handful of brews for one nephew. I'll look over my copy of the menu and see what might be possible. OTOH, to do a meal, there or anyplace else, I have to have my wine, so that is the load that I bear.

                    In all, it was well worth the $ and I would not hesitate to recommend them, or return. Great food, and a fun place for an up-scale casual NOLA/S. LA-influenced meal. (By LA I, of course, mean Louisiana and not that city in CA)

                    Hunt

                    1. re: Tonto

                      yeah, I think you are refering to me. it was a buisness lunch and we passed roughly 10 small plates and no entrees. We all left very satisfied.

                      1. re: malenky

                        Thanks for the clarification. That is one reason that I try to give a description of what we had, so that folk are not shocked and the price, should they not opt for a half-case of wine with the meal. Some go so far as to list the price of each dish, but that gets a bit tedious, at times.

                        Glad that you hit the thread to add the comments. When one is planning an evening of dining, they should have some idea of what to expect, regarding price. I hate to recommend a restaurant to someone, only to have them recoil when they see the prices, or worse, the tab.

                        Thanks,
                        Hunt

                        1. re: malenky

                          I think one really great thing about Cochon is that you can have a very small or very large meal and it's not awkward if you just order a few small plates, because their menu is designed to be flexible around what the diners want. My favorite thing about their menu is I can order a few small plates even if a male dining companion orders much more (I guess you can do that anywhere, but it's easier when the menu is so adaptable).

                          I am a big Cochon fan so I'm glad you liked it!