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Cuvee or Stella!

Jerod Jul 10, 2008 02:15 PM

We're in NOLA this weekend and want to hit either Cuvee or Stella! on Saturday night, but can't decide. Looking for an experimental culinary experience with upbeat atmosphere. Who wants to break the tie?

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  1. j
    JazzyB RE: Jerod Jul 10, 2008 02:25 PM

    My preference is Cuvee. Your decision may depend upon availabilty.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JazzyB
      Jerod RE: JazzyB Jul 10, 2008 02:49 PM

      They both can get us in.

      1. re: mikemill
        JazzyB RE: mikemill Jul 10, 2008 03:53 PM

        Unfortunately, the only redeeming portion of our dinner was the Chili prawns. The lacquered duck in the " duck 5 ways" was so overcooked and hard, I couldn't chew it, the confit was exceedingly dry although, the foie wonton was very good. 1 out of 5 isn't good enough. Husband had the flavorless surf and turf. Best part was the tempura vegetable. Dessert? No thanks. As I recall, jfood had a horrendous experince there. Search "Stella". Not everyone has a good dinner at Stella. Perhaps Jerod will.

      2. b
        Blumie RE: Jerod Jul 10, 2008 03:47 PM

        I agree with JazzyB AND mikemill!

        Seriously, roll the dice.

        1. N.O.Food RE: Jerod Jul 10, 2008 04:08 PM

          I prefer Cuvee, too.

          1. j
            Jerod RE: Jerod Jul 10, 2008 08:26 PM

            Well, Cuvee it is. The menu does look incredible (no menu for Stella! online?), I'm excited. Thanks everyone.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jerod
              JazzyB RE: Jerod Jul 11, 2008 06:07 AM

              The shrimp remoulade napoleon is an excellent appetizer. Enjoy!

            2. BayouTeche RE: Jerod Jul 11, 2008 06:55 AM

              I'm down with Cuvee as well. I found their "duck dish" to be one of the best I've found. And you can't go wrong with their tasting menu.

              4 Replies
              1. re: BayouTeche
                paz5559 RE: BayouTeche Jul 11, 2008 09:09 AM

                Just to be a gadfly, I have been to both within the past week and VASTLY prefer Stella! Cuvee has dropped several notches since I last went there pre-k

                1. re: paz5559
                  Jerod RE: paz5559 Jul 11, 2008 04:54 PM

                  Well, that changes things a bit... now I'm on the fence again. The sample menu I found for Stella! doesn't quite tickle me like Cuvee's does. Which has the better ambiance? Does Stellas menu change frequently?

                  1. re: Jerod
                    mrsfury RE: Jerod Jul 11, 2008 05:38 PM

                    I suppose Stella's menu might be changing because I could view it on line about a week ago and now it's not there. In any case I'm going next Saturday. I've been torn between Stella and other places, especially after jfood's review of Stella, but I made my reservations today.

                    1. re: Jerod
                      Blumie RE: Jerod Jul 11, 2008 06:24 PM

                      You're gonna drive yourself nuts. They're both great restaurants. (There is no restaurant on earth that some people don't like, and Stella! and Cuvee are no exception.) As to the particular dishes mentioned in this thread, Stella's duck five ways may be the best duck dish I've ever had. Ever. And Cuvee's shrimp napolean is outrageously good too.

                      Pick one and have a great meal.

                2. Bill Hunt RE: Jerod Jul 12, 2008 07:34 PM

                  Too late to help, but I wanted to be the sole voice in the wilderness. My vote would be on Stella! We did both, about 9 mos. +/- apart, and while Cuvée was good, it did not compare to Stella! just a few mos. later.

                  I did a review of both on this board, so one can see some of the details, of things that I liked, or disliked at both.

                  Still, some have had problems with Stella!, and I trust that they posted their experiences accurately. Maybe I had a super experience, because I hit them on the "right" night.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                    Blumie RE: Bill Hunt Jul 12, 2008 09:22 PM

                    I've been giving some though to this thread and to the Stella! controversy. Stella!, more than any other restaurant in New Orleans, and more than most restaurants anywhere, pushes the culinary envelope. Their menu comprises some very innovative and complex dishes, and inevitably some of these dishes aren't gonna work, either because it didn't work in some objective sense, or because it didn't work for the particular diner.

                    On the opposite end of the spectrum, at least among those restaurants I consider to be New Orleans' best, is Brigsten's, where what's on the menu generally is spectacular, but it doesn't change much and Chef Frank generally doesn't take a lot of risks. He does what he does and he does it incredibly well.

                    I consider Cuvee somewhere in the middle.

                    All of this is my way of saying that while Stella! is a fabulous restaurant, and certainly one of the best in this city of wonderful restaurants, it's more of a risk taker than some others, and while most of its risks pay off handsomely, not all of them do.

                    1. re: Blumie
                      Bill Hunt RE: Blumie Jul 15, 2008 06:51 PM

                      We agree 100% here. We have had great meals at all three, though there were some minor reservations regarding Cuvée, and not the ones you phone in for. Still, all were places, that I would return to. This should be evidenced by my return to Brigtsen's on EVERY visit.

                      As for the innovation factor, I agree, also. I award "degree of difficulty" points, where applicable, just like the judges in diving. There's no way that a perfect jack-knife, or a swan can score as highly as an almost perfect triple-twisting gainer in a pike. When you live on the bleeding-edge, sometimes you get cut.

                      Back to the PHX (SW board), if I might. We've got a wonderful, innovative chef, who has a place here, somewhat like Chef Frank's. The difference is that he's pushing the envelope on most courses. In a 12 course tasting menu, he might hit the bell on 8 tries, but I appreciate his attempt. Now, he's cooked with Thomas Keller, and some other heavy-weights, so he knows his way around a kitchen. Still, not every course in every meal is 100%, by my palate. Still, the degree of difficulty is very high, indeed.

                      Fortunately, our Stella! experience was great. There were no misses, and any dishes that did not hit the bullseye, just barely missed. Others have not been so fortunate. When a chef pushes the envelope, the chance for a miss is greatly intensified.


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