Muriel's Is Bad
I'd heard good things about Muriel's, so I thought we should try it. It's a tourist location, I knew, but so many people have recommended here and in other publications, we bit the bullet. We waited at the bar until 1 hour AFTER our reservation time. Bartenders had attitude (i thought WE should be the ones with attitude after waiting an hour.) Nobody checked on us, nobody cared. We were finally seated after having to hang around the front hostess stand to remind them that we were still there. We were seated with no reaction about having had to wait so long. To make a long story short, the wait wasn't worth it -- blah food, nothing memorable. Most disappointing were the shrimp in the shrimp remoulade. I was raised in LA/AL and know gulf coast shrimp like the back of my hand. I am absolutely certain they were Asian imports -- you know, those gelatinous, tasteless shrimp-like creatures. We left with me looking like an idiot to my out of town foodie guests.
i ate at muriels last year based on one of the local radio food critic's rec. i had nearly the exact same experience in terms of service(tho the bartender was better...dishing out local foodie gossip w/two regulars). we too had to station ourselves BACK at the hostess station after waiting nearly an hour for our reservation. i will say, at this point, i don't expect staff to bow & scrape(or even really acknowledge)over reservation screw-ups. when they do, i'm impressed; when they don't, it's par for the course. in terms of food, i had the tasting menu(crab was the featured component)& 3 out of five dishes were mediocre to bad. two were quite good. those aren't good odds. a new chef isn't going to fix the service issues(unless he's a chef/owner)& unless he's gerard maras(the actual opening day chef at ralph's on the park), he isn't going to improve the food there much either. an attitude of utter indifference just radiates from the staff & the food. tourist trap? i'd say so.
We ate here during the French Quarter Festival and our experience was very different. We walked in at 6:30 to see if we could get a reservation for 8:30, even though we thought it was unlikely (the restaurant was already packed). The hostess looked at the screen and started to tell us that they couldn't accomodate us, but the manager told her, 'Go ahead and take them'.
We arrived at 8:30 and were seated immediately. The service was amazingly slow, but we enjoyed the leisurely pace. Everyone was attentive, there just didn't seem to be any hurry to get food out of the kitchen, which was fine with us. Drinks arrived promptly, which was a very good thing!
The food wasn't earth-shatteringly original, but was tasty and well prepared. I had the shrimp remoulade and I enjoyed it (though admittedly, not as good as the one at Upperline). I had the filet as my entree and really liked the crawfish mashed potatoes. DH had the turtle soup for his app and ahi for his main. We shared the chocolate torte for dessert, which was really yummy.
We were more than satisfied with the evening!