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Is Emeril's Worth It?

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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. 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

      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. 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

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

        1. 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. 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. 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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                      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

                        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

                        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. 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. 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.

                          Hunt

                          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

                            Don't waste a dinner on NOLA.

                            1. re: JazzyB

                              Second that - forget NOLA. It is bad!

                          2. 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

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

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

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: redblaze83

                                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

                                  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. 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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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.

                                      http://jfoodonfood.blogspot.com

                                      1. re: jfood

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

                                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                          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.

                                          http://jfoodonfood.blogspot.com

                                        2. re: jfood

                                          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.
                                          Bob

                                    2. Z

                                      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:
                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/435106

                                      Others have offered up K-Paul's and we ate there this past Saturday night. Review contained here:
                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/446856

                                      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

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

                                        1. re: JazzyB

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

                                          http://jfoodonfood.blogspot.com

                                          1. re: jfood

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

                                            1. re: jamtart

                                              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. 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

                                          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

                                            I think your niece was pulling your chicken leg.

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