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Is Emeril's Worth It?

ZestyZ Sep 9, 2007 01:16 PM

I got last minute cheap tickets to NO and I'm coming for 3 days and nights this coming weekend. I'm a chowhounder from the outerboroughs of NYC and I"m loving the heated debates I'm finding on the NO's board. My first question, "Is Emerils' worth it?". And which one? On open table I made reservations for what I think is just "Emeril's" because it seemed cheaper than his restaraunts in other cities and I was curious. But I've also been reading the strands about NOLA (seems to have gotten mixed reviews). I'm a teacher on a budget but I want to treat myself and significant others to 2-3 memorable lunches and dinners.

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  1. ddavis Sep 9, 2007 01:39 PM

    I have eaten at all three of Emeril's places in New Orleans and never thought any of them was in the top four or five there, but it has been years since I ate at any of them, so I will not comment on how they are currently. I can, however, strongly recommend you go to Cochon for dinner. It's fairly new, the tastes are really excellent and it is moderately priced. For lunch I would recommend you go to Central Grocery, get a muffaletta and a couple of Dixie beers and go out to rock riprap on the Mississippi for a New Orleans picnic. These are budget-conscious choices. If you want to splurge, try Brigtsen's, Stella!, Galatoire's or Commander's Palace.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ddavis
      JazzyB Sep 9, 2007 06:07 PM

      I agree. I've been to all of Emeril's restaurants and think they're overrated . Brigtsen's is less expensive and far better. If you plan on going, make reservations asap. Been going to K-Paul's since he first opened and have never had anything less than a wonderful meal. Central Grocery's muffalettas also travel well and taste grreat the next day.

    2. j
      jessepilot Sep 9, 2007 04:13 PM

      I think his restaurants are all top notch, Delmonico being a step above the rest right now. I had a wonderful meal last week at Delmonico and everything was great. Their dry-aged prime strip is easily the best steak in the city right now, and the crab cake is one of the best around. NOLA is cheaper, but still quite good. The food at Emeril's is more progressive and innovative food wise, while Delmonico is a more classic menu. I think if you go you will enjoy either of them immensely.

      For lunch, I would reccomend Rio Mar, its my favorite place to eat lunch right now and they have great tapas as well as their normal menu. Also a great lunch place is Mandina's.

      I also second ddavis' suggestions of alternate places, all of which are very good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jessepilot
        Vegasbuff Oct 1, 2007 12:48 PM

        I also had a very good steak at Delmonico's. I wouldn't say it was the best steak I've ever had, but it was quite good.

      2. w
        waynefoodie Sep 9, 2007 04:19 PM

        I agree with DD. For one inexpensive lunch go to Central and ask for their muffaletta. Also recommend Galatoire's.

        1. Troika Sep 10, 2007 03:18 PM

          I've been to two of Emeril's restaurants and found them overrated as well. G.W. Fins has never failed to impress me and Palace Cafe is still a good place to eat. K.Paul's is also a great choice.

          1. i
            iknowwhatitmeans Sep 10, 2007 03:40 PM

            If you are on a budget Do Not go to Delmonico. It is Emerils most overpriced restaurant - and i've never heard anyone call it a favorite of the Emeril trilogy till this post. G.W. fins serves all but a handful of entrees with the same butter sauce with different additives... not very interesting. dig a little deeper and you'll find all the places we love and hide from the masses.

            1. m
              mikey Sep 12, 2007 02:18 PM

              Okay, I know I am far within the minority on this one and I would wager that I am one of a few locals, born and reared in New Orleans, who puts Emeril's on his top ten list of favorite restaurants in New Orleans. I cannot help it. I love Emeril's and always find it a big treat, especially Friday lunch. When it first opened, I thought it was an overpriced tourist trap but I have since changed my tune. The last two times I ate there ( within the last 3 months), my food was extraordinarily good and the service excellent. In fact, the service is almost too good; i.e. servers appearing too much to see that everything is okay. The portions are enormous, so split everything and save the money. The jalapeno corn bread is pure heaven. The soups are excellent, the fish fresh, and the flavors of the dishes are sensational. Also, it is one of the few places serving a chocolate souffle in New Orleans. I wonder if the fact that I am a repeat local helps since my name is on their computer and they always seem overwhelmingly glad to see me. Certainly I am the minority but if you do keep your reservations at Emeril's this weekend, I don't think you will be disappointed.

              7 Replies
              1. re: mikey
                calliope Sep 12, 2007 04:27 PM

                I'm with you, Mikey. I've had nothing but memorable meals at Emeril's. I love the atmosphere as well. NOLA is off my list, but Emeril's is way up there in my favorites. I have a hard time deciding on what to order when I'm there because I like so many dishes on the menu.

                I've not been to Delmonico yet, so I can't comment on that one.

                1. re: mikey
                  chickstein Oct 4, 2007 06:10 AM

                  I have to agree with you. It is true that in other cities, ie Atlanta or Orlando, Emeril's is overrated. But in New Orleans it is totally different. Occasionally you can even catch Emeril in the kitchen!

                  1. re: chickstein
                    sivyaleah Oct 4, 2007 06:41 AM

                    Sidenote: Had dinner in the Emeril's in Miami Beach a few months ago and it was stellar. I've been to just about all of his restaurants, so I am able to make a comparison. I think it may have been my second favorite, right after my meal at Emeril's in New Orleans (where he was in the kitchen that night, but that was several years ago).

                    1. re: sivyaleah
                      Blumie Oct 4, 2007 09:51 AM

                      I've eaten at the Miami location twice in the last year and didn't think it was great. But then again my recent experiences at the flagship have not been stellar either. (My best recent experiences have been at the Las Vegas location.)

                      My view is that every visitor to New Orleans ought to at least consider trying Emeril's. It can be a lot of fun, and they have the ability to turn out some really creative and really good food. But if I'm compiling a list of the best restaurants in New Orleans, Emeril's would not be on it.

                    2. re: chickstein
                      JazzyB Oct 5, 2007 08:54 AM

                      Caught him in the kitchen while dining at the food bar. He talked on his cell the entire time. Never cooked a thing.

                      1. re: chickstein
                        Docsknotinn Jun 23, 2008 04:26 PM

                        I dissagree but hey we are all hounds of a different breed. I've been to several of Emeril's establishments and I've never thought any were overrated or over priced for that matter. I will say Las Vegas was my least favorite but Emerils Orlando was very good and Tchoup Chop was creative, fun and inexpensive. In fact we preferred Tchoup Chop to NOLA.
                        If the OP have never been to an Emeril's establishment I highly suggest at least one even if it is not the best in the city.

                      2. re: mikey
                        WayneIrwin Jun 16, 2008 05:01 AM

                        We were there 4 years ago and loved it. We're going to NO this week and plan on another great meal there on this trip. Of course there are so many good places to eat in New Orleans that it is hard not to find good food there.

                      3. sivyaleah Sep 12, 2007 02:26 PM

                        While it's been some time since I've been there, Emeril's was one of my favorite meals ever. Yes, there is better in NOLA for sure, but it really was an enjoyable evening, made more so by sitting at the chef's table. Great food, great service.

                        I also ate at NOLA - hated it. In contract to Emeril's, my friend and I found it to be over seasoned, too noisy, and worst of all the service was dismal. They lost our reservation, which was on Halloween night - not an easy evening to find another place to eat at the last moment. They did wind up squeezing us in but really, it was not a good meal.

                        1. Bill Hunt Sep 13, 2007 08:44 PM

                          We’ve been fortunate to have dinner at Emeril’s many times (the eponymous restaurant in the Warehouse District), albeit all were pre-K. Each meal was excellent, and the wines and service were top-notch. Have not been post-K.

                          Just did Delmonico and it was good. Of our trip, I’d rate it #3, or 4, behind heavy-hitters, like Brigtsen’s, new comers, like Cochon and Restaurant August. Food was very good, to excellent, and the wine list is excellent, though a bit more highly-priced, than Emeril’s. I found very few faults with this restaurant, and I had many fond memories of the original Delmonico.

                          We have never done NOLA, but plan to on our next trip, just to have a comparison. We’ve done Emeril’s in LV, and it was good, though not as good (in all aspects), as New Orleans’ version. Also, we have yet to do his restaurant on the Gulf Coast. I hope to rectify that soon.

                          I’m also am a big fan of G W Fins, and wife rates it equal to Brigtsen’s, per our last visit. I do not place it that high, but still try to include it on each visit. They have never let me down.

                          I do not have a spreadsheet to compare the prices, but I’d tend to think that Emeril’s is in the middle of the price-point range, between his three spots in New Orleans: NOLA, Emeril’s and Delmonico.


                          PS, on all of our pre-K visits to Emeril’s, the service was superb, with just the right amount of familiarity, guidance and comportment - this extended to the wine service, as well. Humor and knowledge were well blended on each occasion.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                            JazzyB Sep 14, 2007 07:08 AM

                            Don't waste a dinner on NOLA.

                            1. re: JazzyB
                              dcata25 Sep 28, 2007 05:06 AM

                              Second that - forget NOLA. It is bad!

                          2. z
                            zestysunflower Sep 27, 2007 03:20 PM

                            Based on mixed comments, I ended up not going to Emeril's. I was so obsessed with Coop's place and Acme Oyster that we ate at both of those twice! Whoever invented charbroiled oysters should be a saint (had them at Draco's too and enjoyed them). I was disappointed with Bon-Ton and thought Brennan's for brunch had a few misses (I've had better Hollandaise and the turtle soup was the same as many other places) But wonderful service that made up for it. Central Grocery's muffaleta did not disappoint! Had a great poboy and decent poboy at Mena's Palace. My only regret is that I do not live in NOLA so that I could eat as well as I did for those three days (this is coming from a NYC girl who thinks the five boroughs is pretty much the center of the universe). I am telling everyone i know to go to NO and just eat, eat, eat!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: zestysunflower
                              graz Oct 3, 2007 01:11 PM

                              I am pretty sure that charbroiled oysters were a Drago's original.

                            2. redblaze83 Oct 1, 2007 12:41 PM

                              For a memorable brunch, Court of Two Sisters. The food is outstanding.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: redblaze83
                                Hungry Celeste Oct 1, 2007 02:10 PM

                                No, it isn't. It's good enough, if you like middle-of-the-road fare. It is also not value priced; you're paying for the lovely courtyard, not for the quality of the food.

                                1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                  redblaze83 Oct 4, 2007 07:53 AM

                                  I think it is very good with or without the courtyard. If you arrive between breakfast and lunch and are in no hurry, you can have the best of both.

                              2. redblaze83 Oct 1, 2007 12:42 PM

                                My fiancee is a State Trooper there. As long as you stay in the Quarter, you will not have any problems. Lots of places to eat and shop. Decatur has some interesting places. Dont forget Beignets.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: redblaze83
                                  Blumie Oct 2, 2007 10:26 AM

                                  As long as you stay in the Quarter, you'll miss the vast majority -- in every respect: food-wise, culturally, etc. -- of what this wonderful city has to offer.

                                  1. re: Blumie
                                    JazzyB Oct 3, 2007 08:41 AM

                                    I agree with Blumie. We've gotten a bad rep due to turf/drug wars in areas a tourist has no reason to venture.

                                    1. re: Blumie
                                      jfood Oct 3, 2007 10:53 AM

                                      And as a tourist from CT that has been to NOLA three times this year, be smart where you go. As a head's up in the Quater. Bourbon street is basically an XXX-Rated street. With all the great food on Royal, Chartes and the perpendicular streets try to stay south of Bourbonunless you are look for fast and loose.


                                      1. re: jfood
                                        Hungry Celeste Oct 3, 2007 11:07 AM

                                        I can't recommend avoiding the entirety of Bourbon, as Galatoire's is located on this historic thoroughfare.

                                        1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                          jfood Oct 3, 2007 12:03 PM

                                          fair point as always HC. maybe i can place a mask on our heads to avoid the unslightlies on the way to Galatoire's, although i would bet a lot of money that mrs jfood would tell me nothing is worth going to bourbon street and we should head uptown to Brigtsens.


                                        2. re: jfood
                                          SonyBob Jun 16, 2008 08:30 AM

                                          Don't forget that Bayona is also "up" from Bourbon. It's a must in my opinion, especially if Susan Spicer is in the house. She'll visit your table and is an absolute delight to meet.

                                    2. jfood Oct 2, 2007 10:37 AM


                                      lone daughter just started college in NOLA and DW and I just returned from third trip there this weekend.

                                      Can only comment on NOLA and wrote a review:

                                      Others have offered up K-Paul's and we ate there this past Saturday night. Review contained here:

                                      I would avoid both.

                                      Best meal so far is Brigtsens, like others have mentioned. Chef Frank is not only one of the best chef's, but the entire experience is divine.

                                      Sunday nights are tough for resos in NOLA, Commanders is open but not as great this past Sunday as previous trips.

                                      For a great and fun lunch. Go to Central Market on Decatur and buy a Muffuletta (lots of napkins) wonder over to Cafe du Monde and get some beignets and coffe (also take lots of napkins) contnue wandering down Decatur until you see the steps near Cafe du Monde (maybe 500 feet) and take a seat. More than likely there will be some form of entertainment in this little bowl. A great Muff, beignets and coffee watching ome great street entertainment is fantastic.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: jfood
                                        JazzyB Oct 3, 2007 08:45 AM

                                        So you're not confused, look for the Central GROCERY sign for your muff.

                                        1. re: JazzyB
                                          jfood Oct 3, 2007 10:54 AM

                                          Sorry for the slip up and be careful on the sign because the lights were out on a couple of letters this weekend.


                                          1. re: jfood
                                            jamtart Oct 3, 2007 03:09 PM

                                            If you go to Emeril's and get the banana cream pie, it is definitely worth it.

                                            1. re: jamtart
                                              Eddie Nickell Oct 4, 2007 10:04 AM

                                              We are big fans of Emeril .... I love the bloody mary's at Tchop Chop in Orlando..made with Sake, Wasabi, tomato juice and it is simply heaven.

                                      2. b
                                        babstrains Jun 23, 2008 03:13 PM

                                        My niece says "NO way in h*** would they ever go back again. They went for they honeymoon and said it was small portions and it wasn't that great. They went out to eat afterwards. If you want good fried chicken, go to Praline Connection on Frenchmen Street. It's the best, I'm trying to find the recipe now. Enjoy.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: babstrains
                                          N.O.Food Jun 23, 2008 04:14 PM

                                          If you're expecting food like Emeril cooks on his shows, you'll definitely be in for a rude awakening. Emeril's is much more high brow than the down-home stuff he cooks on t.v.

                                          1. re: babstrains
                                            Docsknotinn Jun 23, 2008 04:29 PM

                                            I think your niece was pulling your chicken leg.

                                          2. j
                                            jmorri26 Jun 25, 2008 07:37 PM

                                            My short answer- no. Don't go to Emeril's. Any of them. You're going to our city known for fantastic food and dozens of better restaurants from local chefs who's food just seems to taste better. Every local I know who goes to any of them is unimpressed.

                                            1. shabbystorm Mar 14, 2009 03:42 PM

                                              Emeril's NOLA New Orleans
                                              Go for the Amazing Fried Apple Pie with cinnamon ice cream and caramel! Oh My!

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