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NY Hound in New Orleans Dining Report

m
Manhattan Diner Feb 3, 2008 01:17 PM

After being away for almost ten years, I was so happy to be back in this wonderful city. I printed out loads of Chowhound posts, and on the plane ride to New Orleans I devoured all the detailed reports from so many Chowhound members (I especially enjoyed the posts from Hungry Celeste). New Orleans is probably my favorite food city in the U.S., and I was so happy to see it on the mend. I'm also very glad to report that we didn't have a single bad meal. Here's where we went:

CASAMENTO'S
Magazine Street, Uptown. We went there at 12:30 on a Friday and were disappointed to see a very long line waiting to get into the small dining room. We estimated that it was going to be at least 45 minutes, so we ordered two fully dressed oyster po-boys (or "oyster loaves" as the waitress gently corrected me) to go. We gobbled them down sitting on a grassy area on the other side of the street. The oysters were perfect, lighter than I remember the ones at Acme Oyster House in the Quarter. The bread was a lightly toasted giant white bread, not a roll.

IGNATIUS
Magazine Street, Uptown. We were still stuffed from our lunch and hadn't planned on stopping here, but as we were walking past, it looked cute, and I remembered reading some good reports. So we stepped in and had coffees and excellent bread pudding. Next trip I'd like to get a meal here. The gumbo looked very tasty.

GUMBO SHOP
St. Peter Street in the Quarter. I suppose it's a tourist place (maybe most places in the Quarter are), but my big bowl of red beans and rice was superb, nice and buttery. Our waitress could not have been sweeter. My partner had a combination plate with shrimp creole, jambalaya and red beans. I think I made the right choice.

CAFE DU MONDE
Decatur in the Quarter. Of course, we had to hit this spot to see if it lived up to our memories. It didn't, but it was still fun to be there. Two orders is probably too much for two people. It took an hour or so for the sugar shock to subside.

BAYONA
Dauphine Street in the Quarter. This was probably our favorite meal on this trip. We went there for Saturday brunch, and they offer a $25 meal with three small (well, small-ish) dishes. All of the choices were excellent, but our favorites were the duck in puff pastry and the quail with cornbread stuffing. The chef Susan Spicer knew one of the people we were dining with, and she came out to say hi. It's a beautiful restaurant.

COCHON
Warehouse District. This was another Chowhound favorite that we had to try. It's a short walk from the Quarter, and we felt completely safe walking around the area at night. The fried alligator strips and wood-fired oysters were excellent appetizers. My partner had the catfish, which was wonderful. I ordered the restaurant's signature dish (so the waitress told me) of slow-roasted pork. As i was waiting for it to arrive, I suddenly remembered that one Chowhound poster had warned that is was kind of bland. Sure enough, it was. But when I sprinkled some hot pepper vinegar on top of the pork, it came alive and was great. This was our most expensive meal (two appetizers, two main dishes and soft drinks) at $89. I don't know if it was quite worth that, but overall we were very pleased.

PETUNIA'S
St. Louis in the Quarter. I also had very fond memories of this spot, and it didn't disappoint. We both had the Cajun sausage breakfast (boudin and andouille, eggs, grits and toast). The service was great, and our waiter even gossiped a bit that one of the young (and very cute) servers had been a stripper.

MARIGNY BRASSERIES
Frenchmen Street in the Marigny. We wanted to see the Pfister Sisters, a 3-piece girl group who model themselves on the 1930s sister act the Boswell Sisters. So even though we were still pretty full from our Petuna's breakfast, we came here for a brunch of Lost Bread and fried green tomatoes and crab. Both were excellent, but I was disappointed that most patrons weren't paying attention to the singers. When we took our coffees over to the couches near the bar, we were able to better hear the singers. They're great, by the way.

PRALINE CONNECTION
Frenchmen Street in the Marigny. I was pushing for Dick & Jenny's for dinner, but our New Orleans relatives were convinced that it would be too long a wait. So we ended up at the Praline Connection, which wasn't bad but also wasn't anything special. The red beans were kind of bland, and the fried chicken was just okay. I did bring home a box of their pralines, which were just about perfect and a big hit at the office.

COFFEE POT
St. Peter in the Quarter. This was always my other favorite breakfast spot in the Quarter, and it lived up to my memories. The warm waitress called us each "Baby" and kept us filled up with coffee and excellent breakfast grub. We had perfect Lost Bread and excellent eggs, grits and sausage.

PARKWAY BAKERY
Hagan Ave. in Mid-City. I was determined to make it to this spot after all the Chowhound reports. We waited forever for the Canal streetcar to show up in the early afternoon on Sunday, and finally gave up and took a cab. The gravy-laden roast beef po-boy was just as wonderful as everyone reports, and Bill's oyster po-boy was also excellent. We left completely stuffed and satisfied.

ACME OYSTER HOUSE
New Orleans Airport. I'm delighted to report that even the airport food in New Orleans is good. We both got red beans and rice from this airport outpost of the Quarter restaurant. It probably won't win any dining awards, but it hit the spot and was a great way to end our trip.

We can't wait to come back and sample Domilse's, Dick & Jenny's, Dantes, Crabby Jack's, Willie Mae's Scotch House, drinks at the Columns Hotel and probably a hundred other great spots!

We LOVE New Orleans!

  1. m
    Manhattan Diner Oct 27, 2008 06:24 AM

    We're coming back to New Orleans this Wednesday for five days. Would any locals care to add any restaurants to the list that we simply must experience? We've never tried Emeril's or K-Pauls, and I definitely want to try the roast beef po boy at Domilse's. I've read mixed reports on Willie Mae's, so I'm not sure if that's worth the trip.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Manhattan Diner
      mrsfury Oct 27, 2008 07:22 AM

      Bon Ton, Arnaud's, Stella - for poboys Parasol or NoLa Grocery (get one of the cajun meat poboys) - at Napoleon House have an appetizer and a pimm's cup. Have fun!

      1. re: Manhattan Diner
        j
        JerseyNOLA Oct 27, 2008 08:24 AM

        I like K-Pauls, Napoleon House should not be missed....AND the Pfisters play te Spotted Cat 6:30 Wednesdays.

        1. re: Manhattan Diner
          edible complex Oct 27, 2008 08:31 AM

          Iris, Maximo's, Sbisa's, Martinique Bistro, Clancy's, Rambla, MiLa, La Cote Brasserie, Riomar, LaBoca, Bistro Daisy, Lilette, Patois...any of these should fill you up at dinner.
          J'Anita's, Stein's Deli, il Posto, Cafe Atchafalaya, St. James Cheese Company (Wine Sellar next door), Cafe Degas (down the road from NOMA) are great lunch spots.
          also for raw oysters, Desire Oyster Bar in the Sonesta or Grand Isle near Harrah's Hotel.
          be sure to take a spin on the Carousel Bar at the Monteleone or go to the Ritz for Jeremy Davenport.
          come hungry!

          1. re: Manhattan Diner
            N.O.Food Oct 27, 2008 05:30 PM

            Definitely skip the roast beef at Domilise's. It's the worst in town, in my opinion. Store-bought, sliced meat and out-of-a-box gravy. If you want rb, go to Parkway or Parasol's. Ignatius does a respectable one as well. On the other hand, pretty much everything else at Domilise's is good.

            1. re: N.O.Food
              h
              Hungry Celeste Oct 28, 2008 07:57 AM

              I concur, re: RB at Domilise. Get a shrimp poboy instead.

            2. re: Manhattan Diner
              Bill Hunt Oct 27, 2008 08:25 PM

              I have not dined at K-Paul's recently enough to be of any good. I'd do it, because it's a fixture.

              I also have enjoyed every meal and every instance of Emeril's restaurants, though have not dined at NOLA.

              Many folk have done some fairly recent reviews of fine-dining in NOLA. You might want to do a Search for these. Lot of great recs. I have not seen anything that was "way off-base." While some might list places, that I have had less than stellar experiences, you must realize that I'm now a tourist, and no longer a "local."

              Me, I'd look towards Stella!, Restaurant August, Brigtsen's and Bayona, to name but a few.

              In New Orleans, one must have either very bad luck, or just choose by the magazines in the hotel room.

              CH has most of the spots covered.

              Enjoy,

              Hunt

            3. s
              Sarah McColl Feb 6, 2008 10:22 AM

              Taking my fiance to NO this weekend and will definitely be hitting up some of these places. Thanks for the great write-up!

              1. CEfromLA Feb 6, 2008 07:04 AM

                I didn't know Bayona did brunch! There is nothing about that on their website!!
                Can you share a few details about the options? Thanks!

                1 Reply
                1. re: CEfromLA
                  m
                  Manhattan Diner Feb 6, 2008 04:44 PM

                  I wish I could remember more of the options. It's on Saturday only (the restaurant is closed on Sundays), and I think it opens at noon. It's three dishes for $25 (and extra dishes are $8 each). You order all 3 at the start of the meal, and they bring them out one by one. Aside from the two dishes I mentioned above, I remember that others at our table had a yummy garlic soup, and there were a couple of tasty salads. You can choose a dessert dish for your third plate (or fourth or whatever you want). Bill and I both had the mango empanadas with dulce de leche. Everything that we had was excellent.

                2. r
                  rocuronium Feb 6, 2008 05:25 AM

                  That was sweet, you so get it. I still feel self-conscious taking out-of-towners to the Gumbo Shop because in its FQ setting the name comes off sounding so touristy.
                  I still go there by myself for an affordable, easy quality lunch when I find myself doing a bunch of errands in the middle of a weekday in the FQ.
                  For a while my goto place was the pie-man's little place in exchange alley.

                  1. Bill Hunt Feb 5, 2008 07:50 PM

                    Thank you for taking the time to do this report. Right now, most of the NOLA board members are still in the FQ, celebrating, Mardi-Gras, but I passed out my beads and am relaxing in Phoenix, so I can post. They'll thank you in the AM, or maybe the PM, depending...

                    Still, thanks for the report. Many I know, and some are new to me, but they are always appreciated.

                    Hunt

                    1. mrsfury Feb 3, 2008 04:55 PM

                      Thanks for that wonderfully detailed and very nice report. Also thank you for visiting and helping out the economy. We need all the help we can get.

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