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need rec for decent dinner, Sat. night, no res

l
luniz Jun 13, 2008 11:16 AM

sorry for asking a question that's probably already been answered, but everything I'm seeing so far seems like pretty fancy. I'm getting into town with my sister Saturday afternoon and we'll probably check out the festivals and eat there, but we'll likely want to eat dinner at some point that night. I don't want to have to make reservations, we need to have a freer schedule. I'd definitely like something relatively local ie cajun/creole, or at least seafood based. I love crawfish (especially etouffee) but it's probably too late for that.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  1. l
    luniz Jun 23, 2008 10:37 AM

    thought I'd report back on where we ate.

    Got in around noon Saturday and drove out to Duong Phong on Chef Mentaur Highway. A guy I work with had told me about a banh mi place nearby that turns out a really good, unique meatball sandwich but we couldn't find it because they'd moved down a few doors. So instead I got to show my sister some pretty good Vietnamese sandwiches, steamed buns, and turnovers. It was definitely worth driving out there imo. Next we checked in to our hotel just west of the quarter on Baronne and hit Cafe du Monde. Which was better than I expected actually, especially the beignets.

    We hit up all the festivals and got a really good crawfish pie (with actual chunks of crawfish) and a remoulade stuffed tomato. Fortunately I managed to work up an appetite and we got dinner later at Redfish Grille (in the quarter). I had the "signature" hickory redfish (my sister stole the damn crawfish it came with) and my sister got some pretty good head-on gulf shrimp. Before hitting Bourbon street we found Arnaud's 75 which is a great little bar with a really cool bartender. He made me a pretty delicious sazerac and recommended a French 75 for my sister, which she enjoyed (it was pretty tasty). It's awesome that you can get a good drink at a classy bar in shorts and flip flops.

    Sunday we hit Mandina's for lunch, we'd both wanted soft shell crab so we split one and also got the (fried) seafood platter. The oysters and catfish were good, the shrimp were mediocre, the crawfish ball was good but not great and the softshell crab almondine was my favorite. For dinner we hit up Dodie's seafood so I could finally get my crawfish etouffee. Have to say it was a disappointment, the crawfish were not that fresh so they didn't really have the snap that makes them good. The etouffee part was pretty tasty. My sister got a steak that was decent, and the next table over ordered 10 lbs of crawfish, which I'm not convinced they got (lots of Asian tourists in New Orleans).

    Monday we only had time for lunch and my sister was tired of fried food and the like so we went to Mila which was just next door to where we were staying. This place was excellent, a great lunch choice. I got the fixed price lunch ($20). It started with a curried squash soup with a few pieces of really good crawfish (nice mix of local and trendy there, the crawfish was perfect in the soup). Next was phyllo crusted redfish with lobster emulsion that was really good, everything really well cooked, some nice veggies with it. Dessert was a rice porridge with strawberries that was pretty nice, a good finish. My sister got (on the server's rec) the tian of crab and the scallop salad. The crab was a good starter, not too intense. The salad was great, the scallops were pretty outstanding (my sister didn't know they could be that good). Big meaty perfectly seared scallops. We were really happy with Mila, good food but absolutely outstanding service.

    Anyway thanks for all the help and recs, can't wait to come back!

    3 Replies
    1. re: luniz
      a
      Absinthe Minded Jun 23, 2008 10:51 AM

      I'm not familiar with Dodie's Seafood. Was it, by any chance, Deanie's Seafood?

      1. re: Absinthe Minded
        l
        luniz Jun 23, 2008 02:02 PM

        oh yea totally, it was Deanie's. Dodie's is an even worse place here in Dallas :D

        thanks for the catch.

        1. re: luniz
          mrsfury Jun 23, 2008 04:56 PM

          Nice report and glad you were able to try MiLa. I was wondering about Dodie's as well! LOL Yeah I'd stay out of Deanie's. Someone must like the food there but not me.

    2. w
      wadelit Jun 13, 2008 01:46 PM

      Mr B's, Redfish Grill and Bourbon House havegreat food and are pretty casual, especially around festivals.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wadelit
        mrsfury Jun 13, 2008 05:21 PM

        Last time I went Mr. B's was good and we love Redfish Grill. We like Bourbon House but have not been recently and have been hearing not-so-good reviews.

      2. l
        luniz Jun 13, 2008 01:04 PM

        thanks for the recs y'all. it's not really the price that's a concern, but that i don't want to have to race around to make a reservation when we're really just trying to have fun and see the city. plus i imagine we'll be dressed pretty casual with it being june and all.

        1. j
          johnnyforks Jun 13, 2008 12:38 PM

          Hmm. Most everything in the Quarter is either a lunch place or an upscale restaurant. However, if you're not a food snob and are concerned w/ value, there are still some good options.

          If you want cheap food and no reservations on a Saturday night, you might want to try Coop's Place. It's a dive bar, but the Jambalaya Supreme includes crawfish and is excellent. The fried chicken and red beans are very good too. Not sure I'd veer to far from those dishes, but you're very unlikely to miss w/ them.

          Crawfish season is listed as Dec-June, but often extends further. Coop's has fried crawfish on their menu, but I can't vouch for it.

          Palace Cafe is upscale but reasonalby priced. Andouille-crusted fish entree for $18. Crabmeat cheesecake appetizer for $8.

          Deanie's Seafood is not going to blow you away, but has good value. They do have crawfish etouffee for $14, but I've never had it.

          Also you can catch the #2 streetcar from the riverfront and head a few minutes away to Cochon, where you can nab a couple of seats at the bar and eat. A bit pricier, though very reasonable given the quality. A top notch restaurant I'd decribe as upscale Cajun.

          1. s
            Shiloh Jun 13, 2008 12:18 PM

            mandina's sounds like it might fit the bill. it's casual and inexpensive, and you won't need a reservation. it's not in the french quarter, but it's on canal street (near carrollton), so you could hop on the streetcar or take a short cab ride. (i'm assuming you're staying in the french quarter.) i'm not sure if they have etouffee or not, but they have very good seafood. . aside from mandina's, i think june is probably a pretty good time for dining in the french quarter without a reservation. you could probably get a table fairly easily at any time at most places. another place you may like to try is eat, an inexpenive place on dumaine in the quarter.

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