We have dined at all of Emeril's venues, some several times and have never been impressed...until Friday night. We had a last minute dinner at the flagship prior to a HOB show. We had the daily oyster prep: crispy fried oysters with a preserved meyer lemon sauce. The oysters were extremely light, almost fluffy. I could detect no cornmeal. Some of the best fried oysters we've had.
Abita Root Beer Braised “Fresh Bacon” Salad
Abita Root Beer Braised Niman Ranch Pork Belly with Citrus Slaw, Marinated Yucca, Heirloom Radish, Shaved Jalepeno, Goat Cheese and Pork Cracklings This was outstanding. Citrus cut the richness of the pork. Flavors worked well together. Three generous pieces of pork.
Andouille Crusted Texas Redfish
with Grilled Vegetables, Shoestring Potatoes, Glazed Pecans and Creole Meunière Sauce A very well composed plate. Lots of flavor.
Grilled Niman Ranch Double Cut Pork Chop
with Caramelized Sweet Potatoes, Tamarind Glaze and Green Chile Molé Sauce This was my husband's entree since they 86ed the sauteed softshells. He had the sauce on the side (mole is not a fav. and the waiter didn't know if this version had chocolate in it...it didn't). Anyway, the sauce was quite good but could have used more heat for his taste. I loved the sweet potatoes.
Both entrees were generous portions that neither of us could finish. We will definitely go back.
I'm glad to hear of your good experience at Emeril's. I had heard similar good things about Emeril's flagship for quite a while, which prompted my s/o and me to go back on a Friday night last September. I had eaten there many times back in the day -- a shy, pre-FoodTV Emeril would be either expediting or at the food bar napping diners' plates with more sauce. The double cut pork chop, Steen's lacquered duck and barbecue shrimp with tiny biscuits were some of his exciting, "new" dishes back then. There was real magic and excitement in the air. With this being my frame of reference, my experience in September was markedly different. It had a relatively severe corporate feel (expectedly, since it's part of a huge deal now) from start to finish. We felt rushed, our dishes came out too quickly and some presentations were, well, just plain sloppy, as if hastily, unlovingly plated. Some on this board had mentioned that Emeril is there often, but when asked about it, our waiter laughed. (He was, unfortunately, clueless about wine and there was either no sommelier or he was busy.) I think that Emeril should be admired and respected for what he's contributed to New Orleans but presently there are so many stellar chefs around town doing incredible, artisinal, carefully crafted, exciting dishes in environments where they are hands-on and are personally accountable, kind of like the "old" Emeril's. This makes all the difference for me, personally. But then, that's just my opinion.
Emeril's is what it is... he's not trying to re-invent anything there. My take is... you could always count on a nice, festive atmosphere (although sometimes too loud), good to excellent service.... good to excellent, for the most part straight forward but kicked-up food with a cajun flair, and an excellent wine list (once they bumped it up from the early years... in the first few years they had a very limited list... which then grew to a great Wine Spectator Grand Award winning list and a pretty decent Sommelier). I've dined there perhaps 25 times since he first opened. He opened strong and got stronger... slipped a bit during the early TV fame and massive hoards of people (busy turned into a rediculous "crush" of people... I avoided the place for the most part then). and then settled back in the groove in the few years prior to Katrina... But even then, was never quite up to the level it once was when Emeril was around more... still vg though... sometimes excellent. After Katrina, like everywhere, things took a long time to rebound. Labor is a big problem for all the restaurants (and to some extent it still is). Emeril had more of his staff return than most, but it still slowed them down. My last visit to Emerils was about 6 mos ago and I had a solid meal. Again, not as good as the old days but I was happy. I've always loved that Pork Chop and ALWAYS have the bbq shrimp with the rosemary bisquits... for me, the shrimp alone is worth going to his places for. The wine list is getting back to form (they lost a lot of bottles when Katrina hit). I still enjoy Emerils... it's like an old glove. It will never be what it once was, perhaps like New Orleans itself, but will always deliver a solid restaurant experience.
I'm split on this one. I've eaten at the flagship only twice: once before and once after Katrina. The first meal was outstanding. Service was excellent and the food was transcendant. Second go round...not so much. Service issues and the food was just ok. However, I take every bad meal post-k with a grain of salt and give places multiple chances before I write them off. Glad to hear you had a good meal. We need to get by there.
Gosh, I guess that I am no longer the lone voice in the wilderness.
Best thing is that you had a wonderful meal. I loved the descriptions and they make me wish that we'd gotten over on our last trip.
Unfortunately, it was pre-K (not by much), that we last dined there. On a half-dozen visits before, they always came through nicely and also brought a nice touch of "fun" to the meal. On each visit, our server knew more about the wines and the pairings from the kitchen, than many sommeliers, that I have dealt with. Though the list is not THAT deep, or broad, these gentlemen knew the wines, and had tasted a bit of most dishes that day. A combo for success in pairings.
Thank you for the update, and the "validation." I'll have to include them into the mix on the next visit. Still trying to get to NOLA, regardless from some of the negativity here. I need to experience it for myself, and will then pass judgement. Heck, I'm doing the same for Mama's Fish House, Maui, just BECAUSE the discussions are the most polarized on the Elsewhere in America board. Gotta' see for myself.
Always appreciate your reviews,
I have to agree with you. I had the pleasure of having lunch at Emeril's about a month ago. The food was amazing. Oyster encrusted salmon. Tomato Panchetta bisque and something so chocolatey for dessert I couldn't even finish it. I was at an event with Emeril later in the week and let him know how wonderful the food in NO was.