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Brigtsen's - Good, but....

We got back from NOLA about two weeks ago. LOVED New Orleans.
I took some time to reflect on our meal at Brigtsen's. We planned on doing just one "expensive" meals and decided on Brigtsen's.
We were going to take the streetcar but after a 45 min wait we bailed out and had to take a cab.
Now I don't know if we built it up too much in our minds or what, but we left feeling a bit underwhelmed.
We had some issues with the physical setting. For one, having only one washroom is just not good enough. My wife had to wait at least 10 min in their crowded hallway waiting for her turn, leaving me alone at the table wondering what the heck happened to her.
Otherwise, eating in a renovated old house was pretty much what I expected. I liked it - my wife did not.
The service was excellent (outstanding) - no problems there.
We had Shrimp Remoulade to start. Neat dish - loved the flavor combo of the Guacamole, & Mirliton Corn Relish. I would have to say, the shrimp were not as fresh as I would have liked. We ate a pile of shrimp that week and these didn't stand out.
I had the Seafood Platter. It was decent. Good portions, nice presentation - didn't knock my socks off - but good.
My wife had Blackened Tuna - it was excellent!
As I mentioned, I'm not sure if we had unrealistic expectations. Brigtsen's was nice, but I had more memorable meals in NOLA.

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  1. Sorry to hear that Brigthsens didnt blow you away. It sounds like you enjoyed eating at other venues. Lets hear about those...

    1. teacherfarmer - I'm currently planning a trip to NO for the second week of May and had considered dining one night at Brigtsen's (due mostly in part to the near uniform praise on this and other boards). Although it might be perceived to be somewhat sacrilegious, I was not too impressed in my review of their online menu or photos of several dishes (seafood sampler platter and Shrimp Remoulade). While I appreciate the fact that the genius in Chef Brigtsen may be in the simplicity of each dish and that menus can be deceiving, but it just didn't "sing to me" if you know what I mean. Instead I've chosen to dine at Restaurant August, Stella, and Emeril's (my only wildcard as I'm a little turned off by the touristy/food network thing and the fact that it's technically a franchise - although I enjoyed a meal at NOLA 10 years back). For the many supporters of Brigtsen's, please know that I'm not trying to start a flame war here. Teacher - I'd be interested to know what your memorable meals were.

      9 Replies
      1. re: bgut1

        We went to Brigsten's last year and we too weren't all that impressed with the food. I too had the seafood platter and it was just okay. I am willing to give them another shot but my hubby is adamant about not going back. We prefer Restaurant August.

        1. re: dcata25

          dcata25 - Thank you for the reply. I look forward to dining at August.

        2. re: bgut1

          Sorry for the slow reply everyone...
          I will briefly run down a couple of my fav/most memorable meals. I do not mean to compare Brigsten's to some of these lower priced eateries. These are just the meals and experiences that really shine - for one reason or another.

          Praline Connection - stopped here before heading on for an evening of jazz. Thought the fried pickles were actually pretty good! The BBQ ribs fell off the bone and were delicious - but not mushy. Very busy but pleasant atmosphere and service was a bit slow, but we were enjoying just being there. (The Abita Turbos were tasting good also...)

          Coops - one of my favortive/most memorable and my wife's least fav. Had the fried chicken and the coops platter. Seafood Gumbo was very good and great portions. Service was quick and I really liked the grunge bar, rockin tunes and local feel.

          Acme - Loved the char-broiled oysters - and had several raw also that were just excellent. Right after Acme we went across the street to Felix's. No comparison....Acme hands down. Not a big fan of the Acme atmosphere, but oysters were fantastic. Would have liked to try Drago's....

          Mena's - simple and good. Went for lunch twice and were able to share a lunch special and leave satisfied. Fried chicken and beans and rice - nice generous helping and like I said, simple yet good. I'm not usually a fried chicken kinda guy, but we enjoyed it at Mena's and Coops... Great old diner atmosphere at Mena's too.

          I could keep going just because NOLA food was some of the best and most memorable I have EVER had. We really enjoyed our whole trip.

          One quick aside. I was a bit disappointed with Central Grocery muffalettas. It just seemed a bit thin on meat and the olive salad. Had one at Cafe Maspero's - meat overload - funny to see the two extremes just blocks from each other. I'm thinking somewhere in the middle would suit my tastes best...

          Thanks to all Chowhounders for your input prior to our trip. I give a lot of the credit to you folks for your input and helping us choose great places to eat!!

          1. re: bgut1

            Go to another "local" place instead of Emeril's if you can help it. It's sounds like you are staying in/around the downtown area and don't want to go too far. Try Cochon, Herbsaint, Grand Isle is more on the casual side but good, Cafe Adelaide, Luke, I think Rio Mar is in that general vicinity...
            Or if you want to support some of our up and coming chefs (you will have to venture out a bit) try Patois, Martinique Bistro, Iris...

            1. re: minola

              minola - You are preaching to the choir but the problem is that I need a more "accessible" restaurant for my wife. I've reviewed the menus to all of the recommended places and find that while appealing to you and me, it wont be for my wife. Examples include: frogs legs (Herbsaint), pigs ears (Cochon), warm calves head terrine (Luke), Pig's feet (Luke and Cochon), etc. I know for my DW just seeing these items on the menu will turn her off. Choosing two high end restaurants like Stella and August, I need to pick one where she will feel comfortable. Admittedly, you have to give it to Emeril for offering dishes that appeal to the masses. Point in fact, I throughly enjoyed his Delmonico restaurant in LV a few years back (one of the best rib steaks I've ever had). If you have something along that line I would be happy to listen. Thanks for your advice.

              1. re: bgut1

                I have always had great food, service and wine, at Emeril's (not dined at NOLA), and do recommend them. I'm not sure what problems others might have, but none have surfaced with my visits, and I am hard-to-please. I am not a fan of this "live" TV show, but have had many great meals at his New Orleans restaurants. Have not been, post-K, so things might well have changed, and I might be out of date.

                Hunt

                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Hunt - Thanks for making me feel a bit more comfortable. I respect your advice.

                  1. re: bgut1

                    Though "frog's legs" are a favorite of mine, on both sides of the "Pond," I understand folks' aversion to them. At a recent high-end dinner for the International Wine & Food Society, many board members shuddered at their being on the menu. As a child, I used to prowl the bayous with a carbide lamp on my head and a blowgun at the ready, to get MS bullfrongs for the legs. Still, I understand how they are not a staple of much of the dining public. Your wife MUST try them, even if you need to use subtrafuge to introduce her.

                    Still, it is about what one likes, and, if it's well conceived, and prepared, I usually love it.

                    Enjoy,
                    Hunt

            2. re: bgut1

              Consider Cuvee. August would rank #2. I would also substitute Herbsaint for Emeril's. Brigtsen's is good but not in the same ballpark as the others.

            3. The duck from Bigtsen's is perhaps the most delicious food to ever pass my lips.

              15 Replies
              1. re: mikek

                I wanted to order the duck but my wife wanted to try the tuna - I opted for the seafood platter. Maybe we will have to get back there again for the duck!!

                1. re: mikek

                  Out of curiousity, what was the dish like?? What made it so good??

                  1. re: agruel

                    It is slow cooked and unbelievably moist. They pull the skin off and reconstruct the duck off the bone, crisp it really well and lay it on top to hold the meat's flavor and heat in. The sauce that accompanies it, either the cherry or the pecan based sauce, is lick your plate good and the cornbread dressing/stuffing is similarly delicious.

                    1. re: mikek

                      you and i must have eaten different duck! the skin was crisp to be sure, but the duck was tragically dry. the cherry sauce was sweet and flat. i really didn't like it. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/482119

                      like the OP, i too was disappointed by brightsen's. clancy's on the other hand, was excellent.

                        1. re: mikek

                          I dislike the "off night" argument. Not every restaurant is to everone's tastes. Brigtsen's is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. I can accept that not everyone feels that way. Plus, we all need to keep in mind that so many conscious and subconscious factors go into someone's reactions to a restaurant, not just the taste of the food. Brigtsen's didn't click with the OP. Time to move on!

                          1. re: Blumie

                            I agree it ain't everyone's cup of tea. But artemis's issue was not a matter of differing taste. I would not like dried duck with flat and overly sweet sauce either, regardless of my previous experience at the restaurant. I have had many restaurants that I loved, and they just had an off-night (including Stella for one of my graduation weekend dinners). Dried out duck is a matter of execution, and hence the off night comment.

                            1. re: mikek

                              Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that restaurants don't have off nights; they clearly do. But so many of us, myself included, find the need to jump to the defense of our favorite places when someone posts an unfavorable review. I know from personal experience how hard it is to resist doing so, but sometimes we all have to remember that this business is all about personal taste, and as such we have to allow others the right to be wrong!

                              1. re: Blumie

                                Here, here! Certainly there are some places that the masses rave about that I myself just do not love, August being an example. Good point however.

                                1. re: Blumie

                                  Blumie,
                                  Not sure I get your last comment, "we have to allow others the right to be wrong!"
                                  Are you suggesting that I was incorrect in being underwhelmed with my experience at Brigsten's?

                                    1. re: Blumie

                                      You know Blumie, it's reactions like yours which made us choose to go to Brigtsen's. People seem very attached and emotionally connected to the place and the food. We figured it had to be pretty special, given your passion.
                                      We just didn't find it very special. Good, but not special. I wish I could say differently.

                                      1. re: teacherfarmer

                                        I hope you appreciate that I was being facetious.

                                        1. re: Blumie

                                          For sure Blumie! - the wink gave you away :)

                              2. re: Blumie

                                That is a brilliant point. Thank You

                    2. I've been to Brightsen's twice. The first time, the butter was "off" having sat too long in the fridge and picked up flavors. Also, a couple, regulars apparently, were seated on the other side of the porch wall and he talked, loudly, on his cell phone the entire meal. So, wasn't impressed but decided to give them another try the next visit to NOLA.

                      The next visit, I had the seafood platter. Good, but not anything better than what I've had other places. Have had more spectacular meals elsewhere. So, we won't be going back - too many other places to try.

                      1. Marna just hung up on me! I had tried to call on Monday to cancel our reservation for this weekend, but discovered they're closed on Mondays. So I forgot to try to call again. She just called to confirm our reservation and I apologized that we had to cancel. She responded, "Glad I called...click." Just like that! I felt awful for not cancelling well in advance, but we just had a stroke in the family. She really made the situation a lot worse and I guess Brigsten's will no longer be receiving our business. Such a shame, I really liked the place!