HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >

Traditional for Birthday Dinner?

pasta Jun 2, 2008 05:05 PM

Will be experiencing many of the "newer" places for lunch & dinnner but looking for
a traditional NOLA expereince for my birthday dinner. What is your recommendation from the "old school" places that still have good food. Commanders Palace has come up in other circles but I would like to get the Hounds opinion ! Thanks for your help.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. mrsfury RE: pasta Jun 2, 2008 07:15 PM

    We love Commander's. I had a wonderful dinner at Arnaud's at Christmas last year. Never been to Galatoire's or Antoine's.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mrsfury
      Bill Hunt RE: mrsfury Jun 2, 2008 07:22 PM

      Arnaud's has also been good to us, especially for a few larger parties. All in attendance, have loved the experience.


    2. Bill Hunt RE: pasta Jun 2, 2008 07:21 PM

      For many years, we did my wife's b'day at table #8, in the turret at Commander's. Seems that we were in NOLA late in May for a lot of years. Wonderful table, and Commander's always did well by us. There were a few occasions, when we had others, and dined downstairs, but they took great care of wife. She's got three Commander's cookbooks, with three different exec. chef's autographs.

      That said, Galetoire's is the quintessential "old school" restaurant. Only drawback, for a "special occasion," is that downstairs is from the line out front (best seating, etc.), and reservations are for upstairs - really good, but not quite the "scene," as downstairs.

      Happy birthday,


      3 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt
        pasta RE: Bill Hunt Jun 3, 2008 04:13 PM

        Thanks. Any favorite menu items? And I assume jackets are the norm?

        1. re: pasta
          Bill Hunt RE: pasta Jun 3, 2008 05:04 PM

          We almost always started off with the Turtle Soup (still my #1 in the world) and then did different entrées, depending on what sounded good. We often got a speckled trout dish, because these were in season. [Note: I recall when there was no "season" on specs., but that was long ago.] Wife often went with some soft-shelled crab dish, if they were coming in, by late May (usually).

          Thinking about it, I do not recall having any dish, that wasn't just great.

          I cannot say that "jackets are required," but I always wore one. Dress codes, even at some of the more formal spots, have relaxed over the years. Better check this one out for the current requirements.

          Last two trips to Commander's were for events, so those do not really count, other than to say that the food and service were very good. These were pre-K, however. Have not made it back, post-K.


          1. re: Bill Hunt
            JGrey RE: Bill Hunt Jun 4, 2008 06:29 AM

            The only time I've been disappointed with my dish at Galatoire's is when the waiter mistakenly assumed that I would want to "eat light". (Not sure why, young-ish female with a northern accent?) He suggested grilled pompano with crabmeat. I don't know if it's on the menu or not. I should have insisted on the trout amandine like the local next to me, but I was a few glasses of champagne in, and was not thinking clearly. :) The fish was overcooked and rubbery, and I didn't finish it. Luckily I'd had plenty of appetizers (oysters en brochette, souffle potatoes, the whole goute plate) and cafe brulot for dessert, so I wasn't disappointed.

      2. edible complex RE: pasta Jun 2, 2008 07:22 PM

        Brigtsen's, Clancy's, Gautreau's, Galatoire's

        2 Replies
        1. re: edible complex
          pasta RE: edible complex Jun 3, 2008 05:22 PM

          so you are not a fan of Commanders?!
          have been to Brightsens and had a great meal, but wouldn't consider that to be one of the "traditionals"
          Bill Hunt had me sold on Commanders but if experience was pre-K, things could be very different now.

          1. re: pasta
            edible complex RE: pasta Jun 3, 2008 05:44 PM


            Brigtsen's is, and always has been, outstanding. Clancy's, Gautreau's and Galatoire's will not disappoint either. Have not been to Commander's post-K; but before, it did disappoint.

        2. N.O.Food RE: pasta Jun 3, 2008 06:03 PM

          Commander's is the best they've been in a long time. Much better than before Katrina. Outstanding in every way every time I've been post-k. Gal's would get my second vote.

          1. N.O.Food RE: pasta Jun 3, 2008 06:06 PM

            Commander's is the best they've been in a long time. It's been excellent on all fronts every trip post-k. I can't say that about any other big-name restaurant in the city. Outstanding. Gal's gets my second vote. Hit Brigtsen's another time.

            2 Replies
            1. re: N.O.Food
              JazzyB RE: N.O.Food Jun 4, 2008 05:26 AM

              I also concur with Commander's. Exceptional service, good food and a celebratory, fun atmosphere. We prefer a window table in the garden room. It's like sitting in the treetops.

              1. re: JazzyB
                anteeks RE: JazzyB Jun 4, 2008 07:28 PM

                I would concur that the food at Commander's is decent. What makes it worth while is that the Brennan's know how to make everyone feel special, and special occasions are there specialty !

            2. f
              fryguy RE: pasta Jun 5, 2008 01:15 PM

              Commander's for Sunday brunch is about as traditional as it gets. I've celebrated a couple of birthdays over the years in this very manner.

              1. AreBe RE: pasta Jun 22, 2008 11:12 AM

                We celebrated my Dad's 75th birthday with lunch at Commander's in November 2007. The food is wonderful, the service is perfect, the 25 cent martinis are strong and delicious, and the rooms look like they spent the $4 million or so fixing things up after the storm. It is the perfect "old school" restaurant.

                Unless you want to stay in the Quarter and do the locals Friday lunch at Galatoires.

                Show Hidden Posts