Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >
Aug 25, 2007 11:50 AM

I've picked the places, but what to eat?

Would love to hear some suggestions on things not to be missed at the following:

Lunches: August, Galatoire's
Brunch: Ralph's
Dinners: Brigtsen's, Cuvee, Stella!

There is very little that I don't eat (beets, bananas, sweet potatos, "organs," reptiles, cute furry animals like rabbit). I love all types of fish and seafood, pork, beef, chicken, etc. Totallly love soups, since they are my specialty in my own kitchen. Not that I won't be able to figure something out on my own, but I definitely like the thought of trying something that a place is known for, or a New Orleans dish to which particular justice is done by the establishment. Or even if it's not known for a dish, but you had something at one of these places that just knocked your socks off, I'd love to hear about it. THANKS!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Since you have responded in a thread of some of the mentioned restaurants, I will not bore you with material, that you've already read. One thing that I will urge you to do is relax your ban on beets. I used to feel the same way, but that was before I had the offerings of several really good chefs, Thomas Keller of the French Laundry, was one. There are several, like Chef John Besh, who take beets to a new level. I was blown totally away, by some of the various flavors and textures, that I encountered. These ain't your mama's beets outa' the jar - I guarantee. Also, Pinot Noir usually goes nicely with the earthiness of most beet preps.

    With regards to Brigtsen's, their menu changes daily, or nearly so, depending on what Chef Frank has been able to find. The tasting menu at Restaurant August is the same. It depends on what is available that day.

    Thanks to HungryCeleste, in another thread, I have been corrected as to the nature of the fare at Cochon. It is definitely South Louisiana. I had attributed Creole to their menu, incorrectly.

    I'm certain that you will get dozens of great recs. I find that the folk on this board, know their food.


    PS, if you do not know its name, cute furry critters are fair game! [Big grin goes here]

    8 Replies
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      I was thinking exactly the same thing re beets, because that is what to get at August--the beet salad. I wasn't blown away by the duck at Brigtsen's, though it was good, but the shrimp cornbread from the seafood platter was one of the best things I've ever eaten.

      1. re: foiegras

        In all of my trips to Brigtsen's, I have yet to try the duck. In PHX, we have a James Beard chef, Vincent Guerithault, who does a duck tamale, that is to die for. I would almost hate to put Chef Frank to the test, but I cannot imagine that his take on duck is anything but stellar. Chef Vincent always asks why I do not try his other first courses, and my answer is that if I die this evening, I want to have had the duck tamale, as my last meal. Nuf said.

        I will try Chef Franl's next trip, and try to be objective.


        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Bill, just make sure you ask for extra sauce for the mashed potatoes.

          1. re: jfood

            I will do this. Tell me a bit about Chef Frank's sauce for the duck.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              A beatiful deep flavored cherry sauce, with a depth of flavor but not too sweet. jfood took two bites of the duck (as mentioned there was absolutely no fat between the skin and the meat), called the servfer over and said "can you do me a favor..." and before jfood could get the rest of the request on the table she said "you want more sauce." A souffle dish filled with more cherry sauce arrived a few seconds later.

              Given your wine pairings and your other post about Brigtsen's cellar you may want to call and discuss to assure the right wine is available for you. Jfood is sure chef frank will do whatever to make it perfect.

              1. re: jfood

                Thanks for the info. With the cherry element, I'd first think of a Syrah/Shiraz. This is often my "duck" pairing, and add the cherry, it's almost a no-brainer. Maybe domestic, or from OZ, rather than a Northern Rhône Syrah. I'll have to look over their wine list, knowing that the volumn of wines are a bit low, and they do sell out. Seems that we bought them out of two on the night that we dined with them.

                Your comments are greatly appreciated,

                1. re: jfood

                  damnit, damnit, damnit.

                  i should've have done that. he also makes a duck with cornbread stuffing.

                  but i've only tried the roast duck with tart dried cherry sauce. a thing of beauty if you ask me.

            2. re: Bill Hunt

              How great is it to find a dish you love that much :)

              I could've used more sauce too, but the shrimp cornbread had me in a daze and I never thought to ask. I wonder why they don't just serve it saucier ...

        2. Quit the ban on cute furry creatures...if chef Frank has rabbit on the menu at Brigtsen's, eat it.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            Thanks, Celeste. I always find your posts helpful (and fun to read), but I just can't get my head around the concept of eating rabbit. I know it's irrational to eat pork and beef but not rabbit, but I just can't go there. I'm more likely to take Bill Hunt's suggestion to give beets another try. What about the seafood platter at Brigtsen's?

            1. re: ClevelandRandy

              Definitely a good choice, as it's non-traditional (nothing is fried). Are you eating alone at Galatoire's? If you're going with others, get the grand goutee, which is an appetizer selection of good things. Ask the waiter what's best, and follow his/her recs.

            2. re: Hungry Celeste

              Hungry Celeste and Bill Hunt guided jfood through NOLA and would agree with them on lifting the ban on rabbit at Brigtsens. The File gumbo with Andouille and Rabbit (get a cup just to enjoy and then another app if it strikes your fancy) could be the best soup jfood has ever eaten. The slow cooked duck with cherry sauce was also outstanding and if you are fortunate to have tripletail fish offered go for that as well.

              Wrt dessert the chocolate cake or the strawberries with tres leche are both outstanding.

              As you can see jfood is a huuuge fan of chef frank and the staff is about as perfect as you can ask for. Jfood will eat here every time he visits little jfood for the next four years.

              1. re: jfood

                Quick question about Brigtsen's: would nice jeans and a nice button down shirt be sufficient dress? My impression is that it would be less dressy than Stella, Cuvee and August, but I would dread to show up and feel under-dressed.

                Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. I will reconsider my "ban" on wabbit and beets (but organs -- or glands -- still make my stomach queasy).

                1. re: ClevelandRandy

                  I do not think that it would be inappropriate. Brother-in-law had a polo shirt with regular trousers. I had the blazer, but that is just me. At my age, I usually only don jeans, when I am on a trail ride, but that is just me. The dress-code is "relaxed nice casual." I doubt that you will have a problem.


                  1. re: ClevelandRandy

                    That should work out fine but call ahead to double check.

                    1. re: jfood

                      i went with jeans and a collared shirt, that's as dressy as i get. but a think trousers would be better.

                    2. re: ClevelandRandy

                      I would say no to the jeans, but khakis are definitely okay. I will second the vote on the gumbo, and the roast pork tenderloin over dirty rice is amazing. Sooo delicious. Last time I went (March 2007) I had the duck and it was out of this world. I also had the pecan pie; eating it was certainly worth breaking my Lenten no-sweets vow for one meal.

                      As for Ralph's, we went once a few years ago and had an exceptional brunch. Not sure if they're still serving these, but the croque monsieur was so good we almost ordered another one, and the Waldorf chicken salad was refreshing and light.

                      1. re: kmnola

                        Just did Sundy Brunch two weeks ago, and it was great fun and very good food. Though a much smaller venue, I'd believe that it might be giving Commander's a run for that meal. Now, all I have to do is plan another trip with TWO Sundays, to do both. I also wish that I had not had to fly out that afternoon, as I might likely have ordered more - but we all know about the delicious, nutritious meals that SW Airlines serves. I had to "save myself!" Actually, I was worried about fitting into my trousers for the flight, after a week+ of dining in NOLA.


                      2. re: ClevelandRandy

                        No need to call. Jeans and a nice shirt will be fine at Brigtsen's.

                    3. re: Hungry Celeste

                      Thumper. Yummmmmmmm . . . .

                      For a second I though you were talking about nutria, but then I saw the word "cute."

                    4. If it were me:

                      August - never been but gnocchi is supposed to be awesome

                      Galatoire's - order the souffle potatoes and fried eggplant before seeing the menu - that will impress the server too! I would get the crabmeat cheesy thing - I forget what it's called, I can't really eat crab (sob!) and/or a steak. Avoid the chicken dishes.

                      Ralph's - ALL the brunch items are good - order extra biscuits too. I really like the redfish entree, but the egg dishes are outstanding also.

                      Brigtsen's - I always, always, always, order the rabbit appetizer and the duck for an entree. The duck is AMAZING. Just went there last saturday and it was soooo good. Also I have tasted the veal and it was outstanding. Avoid the tuna - not bad, just everything else is better. Also the butternut shrimp bisque to start (share it if possible). Heavenly!

                      Cuvee - It has been so long, I don't remember what I had - I recall they are known for a foie gras appetizer and also their boulliabase (sp?). We had a lot of everything and it was good.

                      Stella - I had the duck 5 ways there a few months ago and it was pretty good. I may order a steak next time I go, though - compared to the duck at Brigtsen's, it just isn't as good - although very tasty and like nothing I've ever had before in my life! We had appetizers that were great, but of course I don't remember them - the desserts are a little odd, just to warn you - the chef tries to combine sweet and savory together that sometimes doesn't work (at least for me). I had a "grilled cheese" with cheese and chocolate together that I thought I would like, but didn't. Stick to the all-sweet desserts and you should be fine.

                      Great picks for restaurants, by the way!! Wish I could tag along!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pizzajunkie

                        I also love the duck at Brigtsen's, although it's tough to pass up the seafood platter. (NB, when you can't get in to Brigtsen's, Dante's, across the street, does an awesome duck as well.)

                        At Stella, I think the duck five ways is so completely different than Frank Brigtsen's duck that I would order it there too without any temptation to compare the two. They're just not the same animal (so to speak!).

                        1. re: Blumie

                          next time at brigsten's i'll just order both the duck and the seafood platter, and just forgo appetizers, which really were as interesting as the other dishes.

                      2. If you're coming pretty soon, I recommend Galatoire's softshell crab dishes. I had softshell crab meunier at Galatoire's on Saturday and it was awesome. Also had crabmeat Maison for appetizer and sweetbreads (glands, not organs! You're in!) for dessert, but the softshell crab was the highlight. I tasted the softshell crab amandine and it too was very good.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: uptownlibrarian

                          do you know until when is the season for soft shell crabs at galatoire's can't wait to try it nor can't wait to try the Pommes souffles w/ bernaise, the crabmeat maison, the shrimmp remoulade, and of course those soft shells, and some cafe brulot. of course.

                          1. re: kevin

                            You are at the very end now. When we dined at Brigtsen's, Chef Frank tried to find some good ones (Aug 17) for my wife, and could not. That doesn't mean that a different chef and fishmonger might not have better luck, but much beyond "now," they are likely to have been frozen and I have not had many good frozen soft-shells.


                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              I agree that soft-shell crabs are problematic BUT I've seen providers do their magic(by which I mean moving molting crabs from one pen to the "soft-shell" pen next door) for years. And, I am shocked to state, a knowleadgeable friend recently copngratulated a restauranteur on his excellent soft-shells: the owner sheepishly admitted that the crabs were from Malaysia, frozen, and were better that anything he could obtain locally. I don't know, I'm jist sayin'
                              All that said, at galatoire's this time of year , I'd go with any jumbo lump crab dish...Crabmeat Yvonne is a thrombosic delight....Canape Lorenzo(do NOT omit the anchovy) is spectacular--add a drop of Tabasco to height the crab's sweetness).

                              I am intrigued by the frozen soft shells...many people tell me that they are fabulous. Heavfen knows most of the Maryland crqabs ar3e trucked up from LA and TX...a restauraunter in Annapolis confessed as much to me once. Sic Transit Gloria....Cheasapeake?

                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                what's canape lorenzo? thanks. and what's crabmeat yvonne?

                                1. re: kevin

                                  canape Lorenzo is a baked mound of crabmeat mixed with spices and a bechamel, tooped with crossed anchovies, served on toast points, Crabmeat Yvonne is crab sauteed with mushrooms and artichoke heart(real, not canned) and as much garlic as you want them to add to the half-ton of butter used to sautee it in.

                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                    thanks sounds good.

                                    what about the crabmeat maison?

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      Crabmeat Maison is lump crab mixed with mayonnaise, green onions, capers I think...and other stuff? They serve it over lettuce at Galatoire's. I guess it could be vulgarly described as crab salad.

                        2. I'm not sure August is open at lunch. I would confirm that in the event that you must make another selection.

                          I also heard that the soft shell crab at Galatoire's is perfection right now. Agree with the other recommendations for it, with the exception that I would ask if the crabmeat is pasteurized. Last summer, they were not serving fresh. I don't like the pasteurized, myself.
                          Cuvee has great apps of shrimp/mirliton and one which is foie gras creme brulee. Get both. You won't be sorry.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: calliope

                            august is open for lunch on fridays