7 nights/xmas week
I've been reading through tons of old posts here and am ready for some help! We are coming for a week in december (me, husband and teen daughter), will be there over xmas eve and day, staying at the Windsor Court. My list includes:
Commanders Palace for lunch
Central Grocery for muffaleta
EAT for lunch
Casamento's for lunch
Given that I have 11 restaurants listed and 7 nights, which ones would you remove. Also I realize our options for xmas day are limited. Would you recommend doing a Revellion Menu on xmas day or going somewhere else that does not offer one? So far, Luke is the only place on my list that seems to be open on xmas day. Perhaps that will change as we get closer? The restaurant in the Windsor is open, but I've read many negatives here about it so think we might want to steer clear.
Any help is appreciated, this is our first trip to NO, thought we'd go somewhere new and your city was the winner!
Thanks for any advice.
Reporting back after our week in New Orleans. It was our first time, we enjoyed it very much. Stayed at the Windsor Court, very nice, if you ever stay there, Anthony the concierge on the club level is your man...he was a big help with everything! Now to the food!
Sunday dinner at MiLa. We were very pleasantly surprised, the food was delicious, the service friendly and knowledgeable. My favorite was the BBQ lobster appetizer...really good. Other apps were the crab and celery root remoulade salad and the white sweet potato veloute with seared scallops...both were very good. The pork shop entree was the "porkiest" pork we've ever tried (in a very good way)! Other entrees were the venison and I had the black grouper. Desserts were a chocolate peanut butter tart and caramelized apples with cinnamon beignets. A very nice meal all around.
Monday lunch at Stanley. We popped in before our "Hurricane Katrina" bus tour. Had a soft shell crab po-boy, a cheeseburger and the reuben. All were tasty, nothing earth shattering but good. Service was pretty slow coming out of the kitchen. Anything that went by with a poached egg on top looked amazing.
Monday dinner at Bayona. A big disappointment. The service was overly friendly and in your face. The waitresses were trying to be helpful but it came off very condescending as they were pushing menu items (unasked) and making recommendations (unasked) and telling us what things were "a shallot is like an onion" (unasked). On top of that, the food just wasn't that good. For apps we had the black bean chorizo soup, crispy quail salad and sauteed shrimp with black bean cake. They were all okay, nothing great. For entrees we had the hangar steak, a rabbit special and the salmon. The salmon was the worst of all, overcooked and dry, a teaspoon of sauce, a bizarre portioning - a small piece of the tail end and then an even smaller chunk sitting next to it. The steak was okay, the rabbit okay. It was just really uninspired food, not cooked particularly well...I was surprised.
Tuesday lunch at Cochon. YUM! Everything was delicious. Fried alligator w/ spicy aioli, sweet potato pie with chorizo and green apple slaw (the best), crab dip w/ cheddar crackers, fried boudin bites, pork cheeks w/ beet rosti, and a special green tomato, ham and cheese baked thing.
Tuesday dinner at August. Again YUM. This was our favorite of the week. Started with an amuse bouche of seafood custard in an egg with caviar. Delicious. Apps were a beet salad with greens, bacon, quail eggs, crabmeat and fried black eyed peas in a horseradishy dressing. Strange combo but very good. Other apps were the oysters 3 ways, all delicious, and the gnocchi with crabmeat, parmesan and truffles -incredibly decadent and really good. For entrees we had a roasted rabbit cassoulet, the filet of beef (unbelievably tender) and I had the monkfish in a rouille with mashed potatoes. Dessert we had the tres leches cake and the banana rum cake with white chocolate, both really good. Service was great as well except the entrees came minutes after our apps were cleared....would have liked a little longer in between.
Wednesday lunch was a muffaleta from Central Grocery. The 3 of us shared a whole one, which was more than enough and really tasty. Later that afternoon we popped into Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets.
Wednesday dinner at Stella. I enjoyed it, my husband not so much, but he had sadly caught a cold so his taste buds were not fully functioning. The service seemed overly formal, but friendly enough. Started with an amuse of gulf shrimp in a mango coulis. Okay, not great. They brought the caviar menu...not sure if this is an every day occurence or just on xmas eve. For apps we had the "lobster egg and truffles". It was basically scrambled eggs with some shaved truffles, didn't really get much lobster. It was a bit disappointing, very very small, expensive and didn't really have any lobster or lobster flavor. The squash soup with bacon and valhrona was delicious, complex and interesting. The crab and avocado salad a little bland, but I'm not a fan of avocado.
Entrees were the venison, duck 5 ways and the "fish and chips", which was skate tempura fried in a really good orangey glaze with bok choy and sweet potato puree. It was perfectly cooked and really good. The duck 5 ways was also really nice, a confit leg, moo shu pancake, lacquered breast, consomme and foie gras wontons. I didn't try the venison. Overall, everything was cooked perfectly, tasted good. I would go back but it wasn't in the top 3.
Thursday (xmas day). We went back to MiLa for lunch...they had a prix fixe, 3 courses. It wasn't as good as the dinner there, but it was still good. Short ribs w/ mashed potatoes, pork chop and redfish with sauteed greens. We went to the movies and grabbed a light sandwich for dinner at the hotel.
Friday lunch at Acme. Fried shrimp po-boys and some red beans and rice with sausage. Tasty all around.
Friday dinner at Herbsaint. All I can say is I hope they keep a portable defibrillator in the kitchen. Boy that food is rich. There wasn't really anything on the menu that wasn't overly rich. Of course we ordered the spaghetti w/ guanciale and fried egg, which was a plate of creamy goodness and the fried egg was covered in bread crumbs and deep fried...so good, so decadent. We also had the frogs legs and shrimp bisque. For mains we had the grilled shrimp w/ cauliflower gratin, the pork belly w/ white beans and the veal stuffed with ham and fontina with capellini. It was all really good but we were stuffed halfway through the entrees. The service was good, but the food came out way too fast. I think we were in and out in an hour.
Saturday dinner at Iris. Again, a bit of a disappointment. Service was pretty absent. The hostess was very busy chatting up her friends at other tables. The waiters were okay in the beginning but once the apps came we didn't see much more of them. They sat a couple next to us who waited and waited and then got up an left. The hostess didn't bat an eye, just got new napkins and sat 2 more people. The food was just okay. Veal cheek ravioli seemed to be missing the veal cheek, the pasta was undercooked and the main ingredient seemed to be sauce. My octopus salad was very low on the octopus. Main dishes were okay but presentations were messy. Striped bass was good, I didn't try the poussin and the lamb was tasty but again with the brown sauce all over the plate. We passed on desserts, definitely wouldn't go back.
So there you have it, hope I didn't bore you all with the details. Thanks so much for all of your advice and suggestions, it made our trip and we loved your city!
Thank you for the reviews. Some struck positive chords with me, while a few rang a discordant bell. Regardless of your experiences, vs some of mine, the time to do the reviews is greatly appreciated.
Also, you have added info on a few places, that we have not gotten to try. I greatly appreciate that - especially with regards to Iris. I'ver head some mixed reviews, though mostly positive. We need to try them.
My biggest problem is that there are just too many great restaurants in NOLA, and we are always on a bit of a short string. I do envy the locals!
Glad that you had a good trip and again, thanks for the reviews.
I would definitely go with Cuvee(loved their fois gras creme brulee) and Stella. I enjoyed Iris(great cocktails) and Martinique Bistro. We were very disappointed with the food and service at August on our return visit. (As were other people I talked to.) We were also disappointed with the food and menu selections at Herbsaint.
Unfortunately, I would go with ones that I have experience with, and eliminate the ones, at which I have not dined. What happens then, is that great restaurants get eliminated, only because I do not know them. That is not fair to you, nor is it fair to those restaurants.
Now, if you can get recs. from people, who have dined at all, you will be ahead of the game. I will state that of the restaurants on your list, that I have dined at, are really good ones, and I would not hesitate to recommend these to you. Still, there are several, that I have just not made it to.
One thing that I would suggest is to make your reservations early - as early as is possible, since some places are still under-staffed, and you're talking Holidays here.
As for some of the negatives on the old Grill Room at the Windsor Court - well, they overwhelmed me at the New Olreans Grill (same general space, but totally redone and for the better). Read my latest review, and judge for yourself. Had my earlier review not been based on my personal experiences, I would be asking "what wine goes with crow?" I have to say that they have completely turned that operation around, in my eyes. Years ago, they got an F-. This time, it was a solid A, with only the slightest marks off of perfect. They are not cheap, but they earned their "value" with me on last dining. It was a lovely "dress-up" occasion for us - elegant and gracious, with wonderful food and worthy service. Times have definitely changed, and for the better. If you do dine there, I hope that you have the same excellent meal, that we did.
Most of all, enjoy!
re: Bill Hunt
Thanks for your response. Based on your latest experience at the Windsor Grill, we've decided to have our xmas day meal there. Figured it would be more festive than Luke, so we'll stop in there for lunch another day.
I've read a few recent not so great reviews of MiLa, and we are now reconsidering going there. Do you think we should cross that one off?
What is everyone's opinion of Cuvee?
At this point we have dinner reservations at August, Stella and Herbsaint. Lunch reservations at Cochon, Luke and Commanders Palace.
Iris, Bayona and Patois are all very high on my list for dinner. Any other thoughts? Thanks!
I'll be arriving Christmas Day.
Here's what I've found is open:
Open Christmas Day
5 Fifty 5
La Cote Brasserie
New Orleans Grill
Bistro @ Maison de Ville
Reveillon Christmas Day
Open Table - available w/in 2 hours of 4PM
La Cote Brasserie
Wolfe's in the Warehouse
Open last year, assume there'll be an updated list this year
7 on Fulton
Chateau Sonesta Hotel Dining Room
Maple Street Cafe
Monteleone Hotel Le Cafe
I haven't decided on a place yet, am leaning towards not spending lots of money on this meal given that restaurant staff can't be too excited about working on Christmas.
I've done reviews within the last year on all, except Herbsain, Luke, Patois and Commander's.
I think that MiLa would have scored more highly over-all, had the one extra-loud group been hidden in the parking garage. The food, the wine and the service were very good. We'd definitely dine there again. They would not be crossed off my list.
Same for Cuvée. My wife's entrée was the one really weak spot, even with an attempt by the chef to make it right. Still, they scored heavily on the other dishes, the wine and the service. The room is very accommodating.
Only problem that I had with Restaurant August was the wine pairings with the tasting menu. Everything else was great to excellent.
Nah, looks like a bunch of good choices to me. The restaurants that I have not recently reviewed, have been getting some great comments, so I have no reason to think they would be less.
Enjoy, and isn't it nice to have more really good restaurants, than days to enjoy them?
Check the Revillion menus. They should be online at nomenu.com when they are released or neworleans.com. MiLa has a 3 course lunch for $20. August, Cuvee, Rambla, Bayona and Herbsaint are also open for lunch (check days for each venue). Some have different and/or limited menus which in some cases doesn't represent the same dining experience you will get at dinner. Cochon's menu is the same lunch and dinner as is Rambla's.. Don't forget to go to Christmas in the Oaks in City Park. See if the Rib Room is serving on Christmas. It's in the Omni Royal Orleans. Thanks for coming and enjoy!
re: edible complex
I did see the Reveillon menus that you posted before, thanks, My question about the Reveillon was specifically about xmas day...it is something that is recommended, or would we be better off somewhere that does not do the Reveillon menu, but just a regular menu. It didn't seem as though any of the places on my list (other than Luke) were open on xmas day, or at least they were not on the Reveillon list.
Thanks for the Celebration in the Oaks link...looks like fun!
re: edible complex
It used to be called Christmas in the Oaks. Political correctness ended that title, and Celebration in the Oaks was born.
Excellent list Sib. If I were to recommend you remove certain restaurants, it would be on the grouns that they don't serve local "new orleans" fare or some variation thereof. Therefore, I'd take off Rambla and Iris. Both are really good, but you can get the food they serve elsewhere.
I've been to Rambla twice now, the second time just last night, and I like the food just fine. The service has also been acceptable. The problem for you is that it's a tapas joint. You can get that elsewhere. Unfortunately, I haven't been to Gautreau's since before Katrina, so I can't say firsthand whether or not it's good. I can say, however, that everyone I know who has been has raved about it. I also know their chef is receiving all sorts of critical acclaim. As a result, I would say that it's a safe bet that you'll have an excellent meal at Gautreau's. But it's all hearsay coming from me.
I will be to NO for my second time starting Christmas day for 4 nights. the places I have found to be open on actual X-Mas Day are Dominiques, Luke, the Rib Room and Bombay Club. Dominiques is right in Maison Dupuy which is where we are staying and I have heard very little about it, so any opinions would be be appreciated btw, I heard negative-mixed things about Bombay, Luke looked to casual for my X-Mas day dinner taste. I think for food mixed with ambiance, from the few things Ive heard, the front runner is Rib Room for now. So, Im with Sib as to any other restaurants open on the day would be appreciated.
There are a ton of places that are open on xmas day with the Reveillon menus...there is a list at http://neworleansonline.com/christmas/
There are definitely some good choices there as well, but none from my original list of places we'd like to go. The menu at Martinique looked especially appealing to me, but I haven't made any reservations yet...still looking!
I've wondered. Mainly, it was the lack of comments, that caught my attention. Decades ago, when we lived in NOLA, we had many really good meals there, but that was then - this is now. I was even tempted to post a question on whether they were still viable or not. You have confirmed my suspicions.
To me, Luke sounds like a fun place for Christmas dinner. Maybe give them a call and see what they have planned for the meal, I'm confident it would be better than Windsor Court. Definitely make a reservation pretty soon.
Of your 11 listed restaurants, you could probably throw 7 darts and be perfectly happy with the results. In my opinion, the three most interesting are MiLa, Iris, and Patois. You might be interested in checking out Gautreau's.
If you have a free lunch spot on Fri, Sat, or Sun, look into Martinique. Definitely stick with Casamento's, but all ahead and check their holiday hours.
ditto on Martinique Bistro with its beautiful courtyard and even better food.
for Revellion dinners, Gumbo Shop has theirs priced at $28, a steal. I've had the one at Rib Room before and it is outstanding. I've also heard the Hunt Room at the Monteleone does a nice one as well. you can click on the menus here: