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Returning to New Orleans

mikek Sep 6, 2007 07:24 AM

So I am taking my ladyfriend for her first real visit, though I lived in the city for five years. I am definitely taking her to Jacques Imos and Brigtsens two of the nights. The third night I am having some problems deciding where to go. I heard some mixed things about Bayona recently, and have been there many times at this point. Galatoire's is classic New Orleans, though has never really excited me. K-Pauls is fantastic, though a little more casual. So that leaves me narrowed down to August and Delmonico's. August is always delicious, the room is beautiful, one of the top chefs in the city. Delmonico's is one that I never made it to in my five years of living in the city. Is it as good as August? Has it been putting out a great product since re-opening? Would you go to Stella or Gautreau's over those two for a first time visitor? Where would you go for that last meal to complement Jacques and Brigtsens?

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  1. Sahel578 RE: mikek Sep 6, 2007 07:42 AM

    I adore Stella.. I would certainly go there long before I would go to Delmonico's. I like Stella's small and romantic atmosphere too.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sahel578
      jamielynn RE: Sahel578 Sep 6, 2007 09:46 AM

      my vote is Gautreau's
      perfect environment for you and the lady - romantic - small - soft lighting - and their new chef is GOOD.

      1. re: Sahel578
        mikek RE: Sahel578 Sep 6, 2007 11:28 AM

        the first couple of times I went to Stella it was fantastic. The last two times were two of the most disappointing meals I have ever had in NO. Maybe it is time to give it another chance? Gautreau's was the last meal I ate before leaving the city for Katrina, so certainly has sentimental value. Is the new chef as good as the former chef? Thank you for your responses.

        1. re: mikek
          jamielynn RE: mikek Sep 6, 2007 02:17 PM

          Sue Zemanick
          She was sous chef pre k
          She also worked under Spicer too at Bayona while Gautreau's renovated

          Former Chef Mathias Wolf was pegged as one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs of 2004, Wolf has moved on.

          1. re: jamielynn
            Frolic RE: jamielynn Sep 8, 2007 09:41 AM

            Sue actually took over as the chef before the storm. She was only in charge a month or so before Katrina.

      2. l
        LandscapeDudeCNJ RE: mikek Sep 8, 2007 04:27 AM

        If you are there on a Saturday, I highly recommend the light lunch at Bayona. Three small plates for $20. This is a restaurant I go to on every trip to NOLA and have never been disappointed. No reservations for Sat. lunch however.

        If you want something less "New Orleans" but amazing, I would try Cochon. Check out their web site and menu first to see if the Cajun style food is what you would be interested in. It's informal, so perhaps lunch might be better.

        I love Restaurant August. It's such a beautiful room and the food is usually excellent. The tasting menu this past New Year's was damn near flawless. Lunch last week was uneven with some of the dishes a bit too complicated with foams and such. It's still a romantic experience however.


        1. Bill Hunt RE: mikek Sep 8, 2007 06:23 PM

          I just did a review of Delmonico & Restaurant August, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/433877

          I did not have the opportunity to dine at Stella!, but have it on the list. Of the two, above, I’d go for Restaurant August, for the intimacy factor. Both were good, with only a few little mis-steps each. For just pure dining, they are about equal, albeit fairly different in menus and approach. Both venues are nice, but I felt that RA was a bit more “romantic.”

          Of the restaurants on my list, I’d give the “romantic” nod to Cuvée, though the overall dining experience was less than the other two. I’d rate August & Delmonico as being near One-Star (Michelin) status, and could easily grab that, with just a little work and attention to detail.

          If you do go to Stella!, I want to hear about it, as it is now on the top of my “must do next visit list.”


          5 Replies
          1. re: Bill Hunt
            mikek RE: Bill Hunt Sep 11, 2007 07:31 AM

            Thank you for all of the help. I think we are going for four nights now, and I am planning on Brigtsens the first night, Jacques the second with the Maple Leaf/Frenchy's gallery after, and Delmonico's on Sat night. The Bayona lunch sounds like a great idea. Will certainly be going to Surrey's for breakfast one day, perhaps Commander's for jazz brunch on Sunday before the Saint's game. The Sunday night dinner is the wild card, as we may be full/tired from brunch and the game. If not, I was thinking about GW Fins, Lola's, or Emerils. The restaurants open on Sunday are somewhat limited, though these three were favorites of mine when living in the city. Any others open on Sunday that I should consider? Any restaurants that opened in the past year to consider replacing one of the others (Vizard's, Iris, Alberta, others???)

            1. re: mikek
              kevin RE: mikek Sep 11, 2007 09:58 AM

              Galatoire's is open on Sundays, but not Mondays. Old-line Creole cuisine.


              1. re: mikek
                funkjester RE: mikek Sep 15, 2007 08:53 PM

                I would NOT miss August in favour of Delmonico, GW Fins, Emeril's or Lola's. August is by far the best house in New Orleans right now, and while Delmonico is a nice place, not even in the same league as August. You'll be sorry if you miss August, trust me.

                I had three (count 'em, THREE) meals in less than a week last October at August (thanks, in part, to a very good run at the blackjack tables at Harrah's), and each was more stellar than the next. Not to be missed.

                Was a great week of eating, to be sure. Had the full treatment at Brigsten's and Alberta as well, the latter on personal recommendation from Frank Brigsten himself, plus plenty of lunches at Johnny Po-Boy in the Quarter. We ate well...lol.

                You might want to consider Mandina's for lunch as well. They are open noon to 9 on Sundays.

                1. re: funkjester
                  mikek RE: funkjester Sep 16, 2007 08:02 AM

                  Thank you for the rec, part of the reason for the Delmonico pick was that in my 5 years of living in the city, I had many wonderful meals at those places but somehow always skipped over Delmonico. The Sunday restaurant pick, we are going to the Saints game that afternoon, so something a little less formal would probably be ideal. If we do August, it will be either for the Thrusday night meal (1st in the city) or Saturday. Have to do Jacques on Friday as there is a great band playing at the Maple Leaf and Frenchy's studio usually gets going that night. For lunches, we are going to do Crabby Jacks one day, burgers at Port o Call, Surrey's Juice Bar and probably Bayona on Saturday. May also have to grab a po boy at Domilise's, possibly Camelia Grill. Such a great problem having to choose between so many amazing restaurants for that meal on Saturday night.

                2. re: mikek
                  JazzyB RE: mikek Sep 17, 2007 08:20 AM

                  Cafe Giovanni was closed Sun. for the summer. May now be open . IMHO one of the most overlooked/underrated restaurants. Chef Duke's "feed-mes" are a bargain. Excellent food complemented with terrific sauces. BTW, Lola's same as pre-K except they now serve wine (you can still BYOB).

              2. j
                JazzyB RE: mikek Sep 13, 2007 08:27 AM

                Delmonico IMO overpriced and overrated.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JazzyB
                  Kingrover RE: JazzyB Sep 17, 2007 12:45 AM

                  I kinda agree...I had a so-so steak there with like a teaspoon of overpriced balsamic.

                  K-Pauls is no good IMO. Bad gumbo, bad veal w/ pasta, bad music = tourist trap.

                2. m
                  mikek RE: mikek Sep 21, 2007 08:46 AM

                  Hi, thank you all for the recommendations. I am pretty sure we are doing Brigtsen's, Jacques and Stella. Sunday night is the wildcard. Has anyone been to Upperline recently? Is it still as good as a couple of years ago? I have been there many times but have not gotten the Taste of New Orleans menu. Is that still on point as a go to there? Thanks again for all fo the great help and advice.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mikek
                    Bill Hunt RE: mikek Sep 21, 2007 09:13 PM

                    I'll watch this thread closely, as we only knew the "old" Upperline, and I've seen a bunch of recs. for the current iteration. We loved the old place, but much has changed, since then.


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