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Luke

I'm making my second trip to New Orleans in a couple of weeks. Although I ate some tasty food, I don't think I planned my meals very well during my first trip last year. If you had three days in New Orleans, where would you eat? What are some places that I definitely cannot miss? Also, can someone tell me more about Luke? Prices, is it better for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, etc. Thanks everyone! I can't seem to stop reading all of the New Orleans posts. I'm dying to be back in New Orleans!

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  1. First, Luke was great...I went there for dinner on a thursday and they had a 3 course special for 21 bucks...the entree was very good veal cheeks.

    Are you looking for downtown/warehouse district? If so, Cochon, Herbasaint, Tommy's, Rio Mar, Drago's (downtown location in Hilton), and Mother's (for a cheaper price point.

    If you can get away to other areas of the city...let me know. Mandina's, Brocato's, Dick and Jenny's and Clancy's would be at the top of that list.

    What is your price point? Where did you eat the last time you were here?
    There are some great bars you should hit up too...Carousel Bar, Lafitte's Blacksmith, and all of Frenchman St.
    Its great to hear someone missing New Orleans...I knew the feeling well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bbares81

      We'll probably do at least one nice dinner, maybe $40 pp not including wine. For lunch, I'd like to stick to $15-$20 pp.

      I'm a little embarrassed of how little I recall of the restaurants from last year. We ate at Acme, but I've read some good things about Casamento's. I absolutely adore oysters so advice on that would be much appreciated. We also did the Cafe Du Monde thing, which I wasn't terribly impressed with. Because we hadn't planned well, we ended up making last minute decisions...some of which weren't that great. Last year I was so excited to finally visit New Orleans that I hardly paid attention to the names of restaurants.

      We'll have a car and are always happy to take cabs so we are not restricted to one particular area.

      I'm fairly certain we're going to try Luke. The menu on Rio Mar's website looks delicious. There are so many choices. It's a bit overwhelming...

      We're staying at Le Richelieu in the FQ. Could we walk to Frenchman Street? Any specific bars or restaurants to check out there?

      Thanks for all the help!

      1. re: megany09

        Casamento's is great, definitely go.

        Your hotel is very close to Frenchman St, if you walk over via Decatur, you'll go by Molly's on the Market and Coop's Place (great food), both good little bars. Frenchman St has a very good italian place (Adolfo's), and good cheap Lebanese at Mona's. d.b.a. is a great bar, and the spotted cat has free live music.

    2. Top three, based on my last visit would be:
      1.) Brigtsen's
      2.) Restaurant August (still need work on their sommelier's wine pairing, but great food)
      3.) G W Fins

      Now, trying to also calculate in my previous, pre-K, grand tour, I might put Galetorie's as my #3, but did not have time to go last time down.

      Wife tells me that she'd do:
      1) Brigtsen's
      2) G W Fins
      3) Restaurant August with Cuchon a very close followup)

      Since she's the NOLA native in the family and the chef, I cannot discount her suggestions.

      As for Luke, we did not make it - sorry.

      Hunt

      1. Luke serves breakfast, lunch and dinner - all are quite nice, my preference is for lunch. Price-wise, it's mid-range - not Restaurant August prices nor Mother's.

        Stella
        The Grill Room at the Windsor Court for Chef Greg Sonnier's slow roasted duck, etc.
        Cochon
        Lilette
        Cuvee
        La Petite Grocery
        Rio Mar
        La Boca

        Mandina's is over-rated, I'd do Casamento's, skip Drago's in the Hilton and toss in The Bon Ton. I'd also think about checking out the newest place Uptown, Patois. Any interest in ethnic?

        15 Replies
        1. re: eat2thebeat

          I love ethnic food, especially Vietnamese. What do you suggest?

          1. re: megany09

            The best Vietnamese is on the West bank (i.e. Tanh Dinh) or in New Orleans East, both fairly far and confusing drives with nothing else in the neighborhood. Very good is Doson's Noodle House, near the corner of Carrollton and Canal, with the added bonus of being across the street from Angelo Brocato's for dessert.

            1. re: JGrey

              I would second the Frenchman St. rec's above and push Adolphos and Coops...the Hookah bar is okay too and the apple barrel is interesting (located below adolphos (which is also BYO for $5)...I always get the Veal Ocean....Irenes is slightly better/cleaner and is right by your hotel....

              I also have a huge affinity toward ethnic foods...especially Vietnamese...the Westbank is a fairly short drive...I would hit Nine Roses or Tan Dinh...then drive to the Hong Kong Market (also on the wbank) It is an extremely large Asian market...clean and cheap...if it were in Chinatown, NY it would be a tourist location....there is also some cool Vietnamese run shops in the same strip mall purveying assecories, etc. and a bubble tea place that is very good... If you want to justify a trip to the Westbank even more...check out Algiers Point...lots of historic houses and some great bars...Old Point Bar and Crown and Anchor Pub....Mardi Gras world (where floats are made) is right there as well. You can take the ferry across the river for $1 and catch some impressive views of the city...then the ferry lets you off at the foot of canal st.

              Warning: know where you are driving...print out a map....the Westbank has some very bad pockets of high crime areas....

              1. re: bbares81

                I am from here and it is not confusing, but this girl is not from here and there are some areas of Algiers that should be avoided.

                1. re: bbares81

                  Take a deep breath, y'all: none of the places I rec'd below are in (gasp) Algiers; all are in well-traveled, brightly lit locations. And Algiers Point is easily accessible by ferry without risking life & limb. Sheez, it's the West bank of NOLA, not the West bank of the Jordan. There is a line between obvious big-city caution and reactionary "bad neighborhood"-ism.

                2. re: bbares81

                  In keeping with confusing directions and dialects it is Algiers Pernt.

                3. re: JGrey

                  Oh, c'mon, I don't think those drives are confusing, and you can do some windshield tourism of the greater area on the way. Note: I wouldn't rent a car just for this purpose, but if you already have a car and really like viet food: Pho Tau Bay is on Westbank Expressway, just off of Stumph; Tan Dinh is on Belle Chasse Highway, just south of the Expressway. If you really like viet food, head out to NO East and visit Dong Phuong, a nice little viet bakery w/restaurant attached.

                  -----
                  Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery
                  14207 Chef Menteur Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70129

                  Pho Tau Bay Restaurant
                  113 Westbank Expy, Gretna, LA 70053

                  Tan Dinh
                  1705 Lafayette St, Gretna, LA 70053

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                    Not confusing if you're from here, but for someone like me, from the great land of grid-like, straight roads, it took a few years to get the hang of it. :) Especially since there are a fair number of street signs still missing and directions are given in lake/river upriver/downriver format instead of NS/EW.

                    1. re: JGrey

                      "...and directions are given in lake/river upriver/downriver format instead of NS/EW."

                      Whoa, hold up, directions ARE given NS/EW, baby...lol.

                      As long as you understand that Canal St. is the dividing line between Uptown (bounded by the river) and downtown (bounded by Lake Ponchartrain) and streets labeled south are Uptown, and north are downtown (confusing for a minute, I know, but bear with New Orleanians), it's a simple matter to get directions to a place on the downtown lake corner of Napolean & Tchoupitoulas...lol.

                      just don't confuse folks by expecting them to know to put their dirty dishes in the zinc, bruh...

                      1. re: funkjester

                        Thanks for all the suggestions and the safety advice. I'm from Memphis so I am quite accustomed to exercising caution when driving through different sections of town. If we venture out that way, I'll definitely make sure I get good directions.

                        Does anyone have a favorite place for bubble tea?

                        1. re: megany09

                          Mr. Bubbles, inside the Hong Kong Supermarket on Behrman Highway. Multiple choices for tapioca pearls/jellies, as well as a long list of fruit flavors.

                4. re: megany09

                  HungryCeleste's list is a good one. I also like Ba Mien in New Orleans East and on the West Bank, there's Pho Danh4, Pho Bang, and 9 Roses (for butter beef on a tabletop grill, the #2 - shrimp paste on sugar cane skewers and the #9 - sliced rare beef on red onions, and chopped herbs, lightly dressed and garnishes with lemon peel, etc.)

                5. re: eat2thebeat

                  Can you give me some specifics on La Petite Grocery? The menu on their website looks quite tasty plus I couldn't help but notice the $.50 martinis during happy hour...

                  1. re: megany09

                    I found La Petite Grocery quite the disappointment. My ex and I went there for dinner one night, I believe it was to celebrate my new job, and it left a great deal to be desired.

                    I'd do Cochon, Irene's, Adolfo's, Herbsait, and Iris instead.

                    1. re: Vivi Doom

                      I agree about La Petite Grocery. When I went, I was greatly disappointed with the service and the food. I would not go back.

                  1. re: JazzyB

                    Definately Herbsaint (forgot about it in my earlier post).

                  2. Speaking of Luke, I went there Friday night and had AMAZING food but HORRENDOUS service. Has anyone else had this issue?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: cor

                      Yes, the service is really lacking, but I love the food.

                      1. re: cor

                        Similar situation here. All the food was stellar, but the the first dozen raw oysters took 30 minutes to come out. I asked the waiter why, who replied that the bartender told him to give our order to the attractive woman sitting at his bar. I don't know which blew me away more, the honesty or the act.

                        1. re: Hungry4Good

                          Having experienced the same, I'll keep this going. The guys in the kitchen clearly know what they are doing (pork rillette was nearly perfect--topped only by Cochon) but the service is an issue. We had raw bar issues, and both my soup and cochon with (amazing!) french fries came out at the wrong temperatures.

                      2. Re: your other post about Vizard's, it's not directly comparable with Luke.

                        Luke is a fairly casual place, and it's in a hotel. I think it would be fantastic for lunch, and I'd recommend the rabbit pate. Presentation, flavor, and everything were dynamite.

                        1. Hi everyone! Thanks for all your recommendations. I appreciate them very much and know they helped make our weekend very special. My boyfriend and I returned home to Memphis yesterday. Get ready for a long post...

                          My boyfriend and I began Friday morning with beignets at Cafe Du Monde. I enjoyed the atmosphere and people watching immensely. I could take or leave the beignets, which isn't to say anything bad about them.

                          For lunch, we went to Cochon, which was definitely the highlight of the trip. I would happily eat there every day if I could; although, I'd weigh about 400 pounds. We split four of the small plates. The bf and I had the pickled mirliton & beet salad with deviled eggs, the fried alligator with chili garlic aioli, the boucherie plate, and the pickled pork tongue & crispy pig ear salad. I wasn't sure what to expect with the mirliton and beet salad. I was oh so happily surprised. The flavors were wonderful, and I don't believe I've ever had such a delicious deviled egg. The fried alligator was tender and flavorful. The aioli that accompanied it had just the right amount of heat. Our boucherie plate consisted of country bologna, tasso, headcheese, and a pate. Delicious is going to start sounding redundant... Anyways, the bf went crazy over the headcheese. My favorite was the pate. We polished our respective favorites off quite quickly. Last, we had the pickled pork tongue & crispy pig ear salad. At first, I didn't even realize I was eating tongue. It was incredibly tender and flavorful. It was a great contrast with the perfectly fried and crispy pig ears. Overall, the food and the service were beyond outstanding. Our waiter was one of the best I've ever had. Anyone who hasn't gone to Cochon should immediately stop what they are doing and go.

                          Dinner was at Acme. I know that many of the posters feel that Acme is a tourist trap, but the bf loves it. There's just something great about sitting at the oyster bar and sharing a few dozen oysters. The oysters were briny and delicious. We also had the boo fries. You can't really go wrong with fries, gravy, and cheese.

                          After dinner, we stopped by The Carousel Lounge for a drink. The atmosphere and the bartenders were great! I can't recall the name of the drink I had, but the bf had the Pimm's Cup. Our next stop was the Napoleon House where I had a Pimm's Cup and he had a Sazerac. I think we both liked the Pimm's Cup at the Carousel Lounge better.

                          We decided to try Luke for lunch on Saturday. I now realize how absolutely I can trust the opinions of Chowhounders. The service was probably the worst I have ever had. We started with the rabbit and duck livers pate. My bf liked it quite a bit. I wasn't crazy about it, but I think that was more of a personal preference. The country bread croutons that accompanied it were a bit burned. Actually, several of them were quite black. When the appetizer came out, no plates were brought with it. The server dropped the app off and subsequently took off herself before we could ask for plates. That seemed to be a theme. I think she avoided her tables as much as possible.

                          The bf ordered the pressed sandwich of whole roast “cochon de lait”
                          with cherry mustard and housemade fries for his main, and I ordered the burger. He liked his, but the bread was again a bit charred. Both of our orders of fries were also a little burned. On a good note, the ones that weren't burned were very good. I ordered my burger medium, and it came out closer to well. I had no desire to send it back. It was all I could do to get a clean knife. One other thing that bothered me was the slice of tomato on my burger. It looked like the slice off the top with the core in it. I can't imagine going back to Luke. I have no idea if Chef Besh has too much on his plate right now, but I sure hope he becomes aware of the level of service customers are receiving.

                          For dinner, we planned to try Mona's on Frenchmen, but it didn't appear to be open. We ended up wandering into the Hookah Bar next door. The bf and I shared a couple of tapas while trying to decide what else we wanted to eat later. The lamb ravioli was quite good and just a tad spicy. After wandering around Frenchmen, we headed back towards our hotel and decided to stop at Verti Marte. With the way our feet felt after two days of walking, a meal to take back to our room with a bottle of wine was ideal. We ordered half a muffaletta, a french fry poboy, and some brussel sprouts. Everything was fabulous. The french fry poboy was different from anything I've ever had. I shuttered to think of how many carbs I was eating, but I quickly decided it was worth it.

                          On Sunday, it was finally time to head back home to Memphis. On our way out of town, we stopped at Parkway Tavern. I read several posts before leaving and was quite excited to try the roast beef poboy. It did not disappoint!!! My boyfriend ordered the oyster poboy and devoured it quickly. I'm getting hungry just thinking about the roast beef poboy again.

                          Thanks again for all of your rec's! I can't imagine our trip would have been as good without them. :-)

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: megany09

                            Glad that you had some good dining. Sorry about Luke. Sounds like Chef Besh needs to drop in and straighten things out - or maybe Chef Gordon Ramsey of "Kitchen Nightmares... "

                            Hunt

                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              On a more positive note, it makes you appreciate how much good service really does contribute to an excellent dining experience. I can't say enough positive things about the outstanding service at Cochon.

                              1. re: megany09

                                I second Mr. Hunt on Chef Ramsay making a "drop in". And I second megany09 on Cochon. Fantastic!

                                1. re: megany09

                                  You are so right. I've had great food ruined by bad service and probably mediocre food that got more points, because the service was stellar.

                                  The folk at Cochon could not have accommodated us any better, and the reservations grew, as the date grew closer. They had tables pulled together and were able to make sure that a wheelchair fit perfectly. As we did a ton of wines, and ordered all over their menus, they hardly missed a beat. Great food, interesting wines, in adequate stemware and friendly, efficient servers - doesn't get much better, than this.

                                  Hunt