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Confused...but must pick one!

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I will be traveling to the area for both my birthday and new years celebrations; they happen to be two days apart. It will be just my boyfriend and I; late 20's (myself) and early 30's (my boyfriend). While I prefer a long, lingering fine-dining experience, he's more of a casual good eats type guy. However, since it is my birthday, we are planning on one evening for a special treat.

I have gathered great reviews on both August and Stella's on this site; and am SO confused between the two choices. Both seem equally interesting and appealing.

If you absolutely had to choose between the two...which would you choose?

I have secured a reservation for friday night at August, and GW Fins on Saturday, since its a moderate choice.

But after reading the reviews on here and the menu online for Stella's, I just can't decide.

HELP! Thanks!

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  1. Personally, I would take Stella over August...and nix fins altogether...perhaps cochon instead?

    7 Replies
    1. re: chef4hire

      I think I would agree on both points. Stella is more consistent on a dish-to-dish basis than August, although August has more of a regional flavor. I do like August's posh dining room a lot more than Stella's.

      I think GW Fins is one of the most overrated spots in Nola. The food was terribly underwhelming the couple of times I've been there. Pricewise, if I recall, its in the mid $20 to 30's, and for that money, I'd rather go to Brigtsens or Cochon (for less $). If I was going to be spending that much on GW Fins, I would just go to August one night and Stella the next.

      1. re: chef4hire

        I've read good reviews for Fins; however, everyone who's replied has said the total opposite.

        Is it the food? the room? the service?

        I'm also looking into Brigtsens now, however, I looked and compared the menu to Fins, and prefer the latter. What is your take?

        1. re: Socialbunnies

          IMO there is no comparison between Brigstens and Fins--Brigstens by far is the better experience. Check other threads on this board reviewing Brigstens.

          1. re: Philly

            I agree. You can't beat Brigtsen's.

            Great food/ambience/waitstaff. Very intimate. And delicious.

          2. re: Socialbunnies

            Find is more fish oriented and does not have much as far as local flair goes. The shrimp/butternut bisque and brigtsens and the duck there...WOAH! You order those two and share a dessert (if you even have room) and you could die a happy person. Knock your socks off good. Nothing at Fins will do that, though it has some good dishes.

            1. re: Socialbunnies

              Socialbunnies,

              Even though my wife (really good taste, except in husbands) chose Fins as #1, I would not place it above Brigtsen's - last trip, or probably ever. My comment was to give Fins the accolades, that I think it is due. Maybe I always hit them on an up night, but they have never disappointed. Still, if I had only one night in NOLA, it'd be at Brigtsen's - no contest, though, I still have not tried Stella!

              Hunt

              1. re: Socialbunnies

                Personally, I put Frank Brigtsen in class all by himself. IMO he sets the standard for what New Orleans food should be...and he does it with a humility that is rarely seen at his level of success. Not to sound like a schoolgirl but he is really a prince among chefs in my book...he just really cares about the food - not the hype, schtick or gimmicks

                fins to me is generic (although the ingredients are top notch fresh) there is just no oomph to the dishes or room...was great once maybe...but I never go unless someone drags me along

                between august and stella it would definately be stella but Brigtsen's beats them both for me

                have fun and please write a review so we can see how you made out!

            2. Since I have yet to dine at Stella!, I cannot help you with your choice. Howerer I, in opposition to others on this board, think that Fins is a good choice. This is in no way meant as a slight to them, or to the other restaurants in NOLA. On a recent trip, my wife's favorite was Fins, and this included Brigtsen's, Cochon, August, Delmonico and Cuvée. She's a New Orleans native, before I moved her to the West/Southwest, and a great cook. Do not get me wrong. All are solid restaurants, and all had far, far more ups, than downs. We love Brigtsen's and dine there on every trip - no question. Still, her #1 was Fins. We've yet to have even a mediorcre meal there.

              Wish that we'd stayed a day, and dined at Stella!, but all the more reason to go back.

              OK, you have a minority of one,
              Hunt

              PS Happy Birthday!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bill Hunt

                I have to agree with you abot GW Fins. The atmosphere is nothing special, but the fish is always good. I love the lobster dumpling and the smoked salmon entree

              2. GW Fins is seriously a disappointment. I brought a girlfriend from out of town there to make sure she had a great New Orleans experience and I was shocked at how mediocre and subpar my meal was. I would tell you to cancel your GW Fins reservation and book Stella instead so that you can experience both Stella and August, and forget about GW Fins.

                1. You can't go wrong with either Stella or August, but I agree that August's menu has more local flavor to it. I absolutely would nix GW Fins. It's fine, but not for one of only two meals in New Orleans. For meal number 2, I would consider either Brigtsen's -- one of NOLA's best restaurants, but casual nonetheless -- or Dick & Jenny's, a great and casual locals place. The latter does not accept reservations, but has a lovely patio for hanging out and having a cocktail while waiting for a table. Also, both of these places are a little distance from the French Quarter, which IMHO is another good reason to go: visitors need to see that New Orleans is far more than just the Quarter.

                  1. In response to Stella vs August, the three times I have been to August, some dishes were WOW and some were "eh". The portions are that of typical fine french dining and the atmosphere is beautiful, but I have never felt totally comfortable there, it is a bit stuffy. Stella, to me, is what I look for in a "fine dining" restaurant. Comfortable, unqiue combinations of flavors that I am unlikely to encounter anyplace else. It is nice and quiet, but comfortable at the same time. I am sure Mr. Hunt could comment more on the wine lists at August vs the one on Stella's website, but I found Stella to have a great selection and the sommelier there was extremely helpful and informative. I would highly recommend Stella. Every dish brought to our table from the amuse bouche to the merengues after dessert had a serious "wow" factor from everyone at the table.

                    1. Here is another vote for Stella and Fins. Stella, I believe, is unusual and rarely fails to impress. I also prefer its more casual environment, and the service is less cloying. As to Fins, I eat there twice a month. The lobster ravioli is one of the best appetizers in town, their rissottos are sublime, and the sea bass is the best I have ever had.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pilaf

                        Stella! Absolutely. Haven't been to Fins.

                      2. DONT go to GW Fins.

                        The food is decent, but the atmosphere is so lacking. The entire experience is something you could find in any good food city. You def won't find August or Stella anywhere else, and Fins reminds me of a high-level chain.

                        1. I'll put my 2 cents in. I don't think you can go wrong with either Stella or August, but if I had to choose one it would be Stella. I also like Fins the seafood is always fresh and there is usually a good selection. Its certainly not on the same level as Stella or August, but its not supposed to be.

                          1. August and Stella are two of my Favs. Very tough call but for your b-day in New Orleans I would give the nod to August. No brainer for my wife, she would vote for August.