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Thoughts On Pelican Club?

Hi again. A group of friends and I travel to New Orleans pretty much every year, and a highlight last year was a Thursday dinner at Cochon. This was a Chowhound recommendation, and the restaurant hit the ball out of the park. We're a rather boisterous group of 40-50 year old men, and it's never clear exactly how many people will go to the dinner until the afternoon of. Typically we're talking 12 to 15 people, and relatively early, 6 PM or so.

One of the organizers this year proposed The Pelican Club, and I've never been. From the rough reading of what I can find online, it seems that this should be a reasonable choice, but I'm nervous about taking a bunch of people to a place when I haven't even walked by it and looked at the room and the menu.

Should I be nervous, or is this a good choice?

Again, to put things in perspective, Cochon was a big hit with our group, and earlier in the day I had walked by Herbsaint (too upscale and room too small, we'd annoy other diners), Restaurant August (way too upscale, same issue with our loud party), Bayona (actually, looked pretty reasonable, but I can get great fusion food here in Seattle) and Stella (they were closed, but it looked interesting.)

We had a nice meal at NOLA in 2006 or 2005.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

-- Bob

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Restaurant August
301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

Cochon
930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Stella Restaurant
1032 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

Bayona
430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Herbsaint
701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

Nola Restaurant
534 Rue St. Louis, New Orleans, LA 70130

Pelican Club Restaurant & Bar
312 Exchange Alley, New Orleans, LA 70130

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  1. Not the biggest fan of Pelican Club myself, though it does have a big dining room that could accomodate a large party.

    Maybe consider GW Fins, NOLA or Bourbon House?

    1 Reply
    1. re: BayouTeche

      If you want to travel out of New Orleans and have some of the best fried seafood to be found travel over to Middendorfs in Bayou Manchac. Just a thought. They just reopened - They took a hit from Gustav and they would gladly accommodate you. The beer is great, the atmosphere is old southern and the owners are gracious.

    2. Not a fan of pelican club either. I'd say Commander's would be a good option. Or maybe Clancy's. Ralph's on the Park would be another good choice. Some good, casual options are Cafe Bon Ton and Mandina's.

      If you want to stick to the quarter, Irene's might be okay (pretty small). Also, I wouldn't steer you away from Bayona. I don't consider it fusion. I find Spicer's cooking to be pretty representative of New Orleans. Bayona is small, however. 12-15 could be a little large for that place. Stella is fusion, and you can find better in Seattle. Galatoire's might be a good option. Coats are required, but loudness is tolerated and even encouraged at times. GW Fins might also work. There's also Palace Cafe - okay food (better than Pelican Club) with a large space.

      2 Replies
      1. re: N.O.Food

        I agree on all counts, but I had a thought:

        >>> Bayona is small, however. 12-15 could be a little large for that place. <<<

        Perhaps they could "reserve" the outside patio?

        1. re: zin1953

          Bayona does have a "party" room upstairs, as well.

        1. For those non-fans of Pelican Club, can you give some specifics? What did you not like.. food? service?price? quality? atmosphere? all of the above?

          1 Reply
          1. re: amykragan

            I'd say it's been about a year since I've been. Don't remember many specifics, just that I was underwhelmed. What I do remember specifically was the duck entree I had (3 ways, I think). One preparation was bbq. I tasted no smoke, no duck.....it was just slathered in what tasted like supermarket bbq sauce. The confit was dry. This dish also came with a jambalaya or dirty rice that tasted exactly like it came out of a box of Zatarain's.

            The dining room is very nice, but felt cavernous with only a few occupied tables. Just didn't feel comfortable. My impression may very well have been different if it was bustling and festive.

            Service was adequate. Price would have been reasonable if the food were up to par. I think we enjoyed the wine.

          2. I'll be the contrarian here. Having eaten there in recent weeks, I think the Pelican Club is wonderful. Although its dining rooms are on the elegant side, dress is casual and the food is fabulous. Their seafood martini is one of my favorite appetizers in town, and the redfish dish with jalapeno hollandaise was out of this world. And for a night in the FQ, you can't beat the location.

            I would also be interested in the responses to the last post. For those who don't recommend it, have you eaten there recently? Most who have that I know, but don't post here, speak glowingly of the place.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pilaf

              Pilaf,

              Interesting to read you post. The PC was high on my list, two trips back, but with the reviews on this board, I pulled it for Cuvée instead. It turned out to be OK, but with potential. Last trip, PC was still off the list, but now maybe I need to rethink that a bit.

              Still, going back a bit, the CH reviews (not just the "me too's") have not been kind. One does have to read between the lines a bit, and maybe even look at individual profiles, to get a handle on who the poster is, and what they gravitate towards.

              I ate at an Applebee's about 15 years ago, because my MIL wanted to go. I would have panned it badly, because it was. I gave it no slack, based on price-points. OTOH, I've had wonderful and memorable dinners at the French Laundry, while many on CH have real problems with it. Still, if one wanted to weigh my reviews on my profile and previous posts, they'd get a sense of where I was coming from.

              I'm not sure that all of the PC detractors have even eaten there. One is hard-pressed to tell.

              Maybe it's time to put them back on my list.

              Thanks,

              Hunt

            2. Ive kind of heard that Pelican Club isnt as great as claimed. You could try ...NOLA? k Pauls? Bourbon House? those are all in the Quarter

              3 Replies
              1. re: cereed007

                I haven't been to the Pelican Club recently. We were underwhelmed with the food which left us wishing we had dined elsewhere. No desire to return. Sorry to be so negative this post, but not a fan of NOLA or Bourbon House either. K-Paul's has seen better times.

                1. re: JazzyB

                  I have eaten at The Pelican Club for many years...one of my favorites in NO, and have never had a bad meal there. Year after year the restaurant rates high as others come and go. The paneed Gulf fish with Lump Crabmeat and Jalapeno Hollandaise is awesome as are the baked oyster app. On the other hand, one of the worst meals I have had ANYWHERE was at Bourbon House, just dreadful !!! Same with the Palace Cafe... both have the same owner.

                  1. re: JazzyB

                    Unsuccessfully tried to edit/add to my previous post. Herbsaint has terrific food, is more casual than formal and has a private dining room. BTW, it 's detractors are few and far between.

                2. I think that you have gotten a rec. for G W Fins already, but the more I think about your request, the more I think it would work. The room is large, and they can re-arrange the seating for a party of your size. The food has always been great for us, and I love their b-t-g wine list. The room has high ceilings, and is adequate in size, so a bit of noise will not be noticed. Now, I may not choose to dine there, that night, as I do love quiet dining, but that's just me. Do not discount this venue.

                  Hunt

                  1. Call Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse and ask if the private room over looking Iberville St is available. Have had many group business dinners in the Board Room. You can get as boisterous as you want there.
                    http://www.dickiebrennanssteakhouse.c...
                    there are other rooms there too.

                    1. im a fan of PC. their summer-time "Coolinary" menu is one of the best & most generous available. the gulf fish w/ lump crab, the tuna w/ scallops, the scallop-stuffed scallops, the seafood martini (seeing a pattern here!?). good seafood dishes.

                      very large space. three rooms, actually - the bar, a wood-paneled dark dining room, and a brighter big dining room. i like Door Number Two.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: kibbles

                        Kibbles,

                        "I like Door Number Two."

                        Somehow, I conjured up an image of the young ladies on the Howie Mandell TV show with the cases, standing in front of you with two covered entrées, and asking you to choose.

                        Keep the reviews coming and maybe they'll get back on the short list.

                        Thanks,

                        Hunt

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          If you guys are boisterous I recommend the Rib Room, I had many a very boisterous lunch there and it's a very festive place, ditto Mr. B's and Dickie Brennan's
                          .

                          1. re: bronwen

                            For me, I am any thing BUT boisterous. I enjoy quiet fine-dining, and shun places typified as "happening," or "cool" orexhibiting a vibe."

                            Maybe the OP wants that sort of "scene," but not me.

                            I prefer gentlemen speaking in hushed tones to just the gentlemen and ladies, at their table. I don't even want to hear their conversations, as they are not my business.

                            I think that my totally "tongue-n-cheek" comment might have painted an inaccurate picture. Sorry for that.

                            Hunt

                      2. I think I'd go to Galatoire's on this one - all men wear coats, just fyi.
                        It' would be a very different experience & likely a memorable one.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Isabella

                          I find a bit too little of this, but that is universal. With the exception of starred restaurants in Europe, jackets seem endangered. OTOH, I guess that if I had a restaurant, I'd want warm bodies in my place and would possibly change my earlier dictates - things are changing. Next thing that I know, La Mer will allow diners in tank tops and wet jams.

                          Hunt