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Nov 12, 2008 11:48 PM

nola december dining decisions

Okay, I need help. I cannot whittle my "regular" list down and I really, really want to try some new places this time.
These are my regulars:
Lillette (L)
Herbsaint(L or D)
Bayona(L or D)
Willie Mae's(L)
Bistro at Maison..(D)

I want to try MiLa or Iris. Which one is better?
Also, which would you rec. between Dick & Jennys or Clancys?
Any other must dos?

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  1. for dinner: Iris, Clancy's, Patois, Bistro Daisy, Martinique Bistro, Ciro's Cote Sud, Sara's in the Riverbend, One Restaurant, Vizard's, Arabesque, Gautreau's, Rambla. Cafe Sbisa, Maximo's

    some of the above are open on some days for lunch/brunch

    for casual lunch: il Posto, Stein's Deli, J'Anita's, St. James Cheese Company (wine Seller next door to byob)

    3 Replies
    1. re: edible complex

      I saw Sbisa was on your list- have you tried it recently? Curious how it is coming along...

      1. re: nolapark

        I was going to ask the same thing. EC's been recommending it, but I haven't heard him/her review it yet. Hope it's better than it used to be. Old Sbisa wasn't worth going to.

        1. re: N.O.Food

          curiosity got the better of me...I stopped last night for a quick bite at the bar~ had the shrimp remoulade (excellent version) and I just couldn't resist a banana foster tart, which was also very good

          looked slow but it was thursday and I was early~ the decor is great, btw

          bar service seemed a little confused but the dining staff looked very capable- will try a full dinner soon and report back

    2. Thanks so much for the list!! I will definently get some of those in! I haven't been to NOLA since NOWFE in May. Are there any on my regular list that you would skip altogether?

      2 Replies
      1. re: ccmurieta

        I had dinner last week at Patois and it was excellent-our particular server seemed a little bit more interested in assisting the two men at our table instead of the five ladies, but other then that the food was great. I also recommend clancys over Iris. Clancys may be old school, but I have never had a bad meal there.

        If you go to Patois try the Gnocchi app and the pork belly salad AWESOME! Also the scallop entree and the duch were excellent.

        1. re: localfoodie

          I was looking at the menu for Patois and the pork belly jumped right off off the page . I am a pork belly fanatic!
          I've pretty much knocked Iris off my list. The menu just did not grab me.
          Just out of curiousity, is there any chance in hell Uglesich will ever reopen? We come to NOLA about 3-4 times a year (from San Francisco) and I always walk by that corner just in case.

      2. I wish you'd reconsider Iris. I've had three very memorable meals during this past year. One was at Iris, one at Cafe East in Metairie, and the third at Martinique Bistro on Magazine St.

        Additionally I tried MiLa for the first time at lunch the other day. I generally like to try a new place at lunch to get a taste for what they do. I was disappointed. I'd read great reviews in various periodicals around town and the chefs won James Beard awards last year but the meal certainly didn't wow me, in the least. My guest and I tried the three course prix fixe and I'll spare you the run down but I'd certainly skip it on your trip.

        Iris was stellar. I haven't been since they moved to Decatur St. but the gnocchi app, and lamb loin entree were perfectly prepared and so full of flavor. Great wine selection as well.

        Please consider Martinique Bistro. I went with two other guests and absolutely everything we ordered was out of this world terrific. The gnocchi (can you tell I love this stuff?), duck two ways, the most amazing hangar steak I've ever consumed, duck sausage, and even the warm chocolate dessert cake were knock-outs.

        Happy eating!

        7 Replies
        1. re: igloominaboom

          Thank you to all those who helped me comprise my restaurant list. I have been in New Orleans now for 4 days and here are my reviews thus far.

          Brigtsens- what can I say? Frank is consistently good. I always know I will have a great meal there and always do. This trips highlights were the pan roasted quail & pate for appetizers and the cherry vanilla creme brulee for dessert.

          Martinique Bistro - This was a new restaurant for me and I loved it (thanks edible complex and igloominaboom) First off, I loved the bread although I wish the butter was salted. The french style gnocchi w/ prosciiutto and squash was one of my favorite dishes ever!! I had the crab cobb which was presented beautifully. It was delicious but no comparison to the Coq au Vin my husband had. The sauce was spectacular as were the veggies in the dish. The brussel sprouts were outstanding - I would have been happy with just them. The only downsides to the meal were the chicken was dry in the coq a vin and the Basque Cake for dessert was also dry. The chocolate cayenne ice cream was a hit. The wine list was short but sweet. They offered some great wines without a huge markup. I would absolutely go back.
          Itook too long to type and have to sign off to go to Gautreau's. Will cont. reviews later.

          1. re: ccmurieta

            Looking forward to more of your reviews. We'll be heading that way soon.

            1. re: kftw

              OKay.... here's where we ate:
              Night 1 - Brigtsens
              Day 2 - Martinique Bistro (L) & Restaurant August (D)
              Day 3- Thanh Dinh (???)(L) & Upperline (D)
              Day 4 -Cochon (L) & Cafe Adelaide (D)
              Day 5- MiLa (L) & Gautreau's(D)
              Day 6 - Lillette (L) & Grand Isle (Eat Club Dinner)
              Day 7 - Rambla (L) Parasol's(Po Boy snack) & I can't remember dinner :o
              Day 8- Luke(B)

              I've already posted Brigtsens and Martinique above.

              Restaurant August was one of the best meals I've had in some time. We go there everytime we are in NOLA (3-4 times a year) and have become friends with the manager/maitre d(????) who just recently left to open his own place. Anyhow, we loved., loved , loved August initially but the past several times it has not been one of my favorites (I was starting to find it oversalted & kind of dull). It TOTALLY redeemed itself this time around and is back at the top of my list. I started with a yard egg raviolo (DIVINE!!!!!! - the sauce with the egg yolk was sop it up with my bread fabulous), went on to the beet salad (always lovely) and then an entree of Poulet Rouge or "Chicken and Dumplings". This is how chicken should be cooked. This was a HUGE difference from the chicken at Martinique. This chicken was MOIST and succulent - it just soaked up the flavors of the sauce(stew?gravy?) it was cooked in and the dumplings were delicious little pillows - not doughy. Dessert was a spin on tres leches cake and after that a flight of 3 different Grand Marniers . PERFECT DINNER!!

              Our friend (the aforementioned) took us to lunch the next day to a Vietnamese Rest. on the West Bank named (I think) Thanh Dinh. Besh and a lot of restauranteurs frequent the place but I can't remember the spelling.
              It was absolutely great. We had short ribs w/kimchee, quail, spicy shrimp, special fried rice, pho, shrimp & pork egg rolls & some other great stuff. The only thing I wasn't absolutely crazy about was the fried rice. This was really one of my favorite lunches. The coconut water w/chunks of coconut meat was light and refreshing as well.
              Upperline that night was perfect as always. I love this chef (who insists he is "just a cook, not a chef"). Had the Reveillon dinner. Turtle soup followed by a warm brie salad. The salad was a 1st for me here and it was beautiful - served with grilled pears. Then I had the Hot & Hot Shrimp and part of my husbands duck. I ALWAYS have the duck with the peach sauce and the shrimp were superb but I NEEDED that duck!! Dessert was (of course) bread pudding. Another perfect meal here. Wine list here is more than sufficient. We did a couple of great 1/2 bottles ( a Montrachet and a Frogs Leap merlot) BTW no one does greens better than Upperline!
              Cochon for lunch is always good however I wil cross the ribs off of my list for there. I had them and just was not enamored with them - too fatty and greasy for me - I don't remember them being like that before. Rabbit livers are a favorite as well as the boudin balls. Not impressed with their greens. LOVE the dinner rolls. They gave me a nice helping of the cracklins (chicharrones to us in CA) even tho they aren't on the menu and the pork cheeks are exquisite.
              Cafe Adelaide was not somewhere we would go back to. I went last year and was not feeling well so I did not eat much but I loved the strawberry shortcake we had then. We had to take a couple of people (with a small child) out to dinner so thought we would give it a go. Won't go back. Didn't like anything...except the wine.
              MiLa - what a disappointment. I wanted to like it I really did. The chef came out to talk to us and she was so sweet that I really wanted to LOVE it. But I didn't. On the positive - the food was quite good. We did the organic green salad (beautiful greens and the sunflower seeds were a nice touch in it but the lemon vinagrette was too salty), the venison &foie gras pate (wonderful!! great toasted briche w/it), the flat iron steak (perfect) and the pepper dusted filet (too dusty) I had the rice pudding for dessert. I don't like rice pudding and I don't know why I ordered it but this was DIVNE!! Negatives - did NOT like the bread AT ALL especially not the "corn bread". Service was amateurish and unprofessional save for one standout waiter. We poured are own wine throughout the whole meal while we watched (and heard) 3 waitstaff chatting and laughing (loudly) with each other. When we told one of the waiters we wanted to take the other half of my husband steak with us we were handed a HUGE box along with a plastic fork and knife. Am I wrong to expect them to take my plate and box it for me? This is not my local Mexican joint where I expect to box up any leftovers myself. Just too many misses for me to go back.
              Gautreaus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love, love, love this place. Thanks to all who recommended it! Their pork belly is now one of my favorite dishes ...or is their roasted chicken one of my new favorites....or maybe that heavenly pineapple tarte tatin. It was THAT DAMN GOOD. Excellent wine list as well. It is just the sweetest little place - a little gem. The chef came out and talked to us and she is the nicest lady. So much talent in such a tiny little package! This will be a regular spot for me. Can't wait to return.
              Lillette is consistently good and we had another great lunch here. Sizzling shrimp, beet and goat cheese salad, chicken broth w/soft egg, veal cheeks, pommes frittes, pork belly and any dessert that the oh so talented pastry chef thinks up (this time it was hot chocolate w/homemade marsmellows and chocolate cookies). Get any (or all as we do) of the above and you wan't go wrong. Great wine list and interesting wines by the glass
              Grand Isle was for an Eat Club dinner with Tom Fitzmorris. It was actually really good! You can go on to check out his events and the menu. I've been getting his daily "newsletter" for years and have met him at NOWFE but never went to his dinners until this one. The food - especially the rabbit - was really good and the y poured 4 wines - all were good - 1 they poured is one of my favorites - a Tablas Creek Espirit De Beaucastel. Would definently do it again!
              Rambla for lunch. Hits were the pork tenderloin special, the patatas bravas, the steak tartare, and the pork rillettes. I would not order the shrimp or the fig/bleu cheese flatbread again. Will go back!
              Parasol's - when you just HAVE TO have a roast beef po' boy! And I HAD to. Drank too much - don't remember dinner or even if we went - if we did I must not have been that impressed.
              Luke for breakfast before we got on the plane. This was the 1st time here for breakfast. My crab cakes benedict (with country ham) was very good but I would stick to lunch or dinner here from now on. I think their breakfast is way overpriced for what you get on some of the dishes. Mine was $22 but it was huge. My husband had a regular "country" breakfast (eggs, bacon, grits & bisquit) $18 for it and he only had 2 tiny pieces of bacon on his plate.
              Thanks to all for the help in finding new places. I will be going to Bistro Daisy, Iris, Dick & Jennys and Patois when I return to NOLA in March.

              1. re: ccmurieta

                Thank you for the comprehensive report.

                We loved Restaurant August, though the sommelier's wine paring was very weak. We love the food and that is, afterall, what we went for.

                Sorry that some other places did not fulfill your needs. That does happen.

                We've never done Luke, but have always done Ralph's on the Park, prior to our filghts out for brunch.

                Some day, we must get more free time in NOLA and do some of these. I hate to get into a "rut," but with too few days, and so very many great places, it will happen.



          2. re: igloominaboom

            Wish I would have listened to you and skipped MiLa for lunch. I wish Iris did lunch as I would have gone there but will do dinner there in March. There's too many great places in NOLA to eat to get a mediocre meal (see my reviews below)

            1. re: ccmurieta

              Iris does do lunch. It's not listed on their website, but I believe it's open Weds-Fri for lunch.

              1. re: mikemill

                I called on a Wed. afternoon when I was there and received the same answering machine message indicating dinner only.

          3. A must try for pork belly fans : Abita Root Beer Braised “Fresh Bacon” Salad Abita Root Beer Braised Niman Ranch Pork Belly with Citrus Slaw, Marinated Yucca, Heirloom Radish, Shaved Jalapeno, Goat Cheese and Pork Cracklings

            Simply outstanding. Three generous pieces of pork belly. Well composed, complimentary flavors. Emeril's lunch and dinner.

            7 Replies
            1. re: JazzyB

              Will try it the next time I am at Emerils. Will be in Vegas at the end of next month and will see if they have it on the menu at his MGM rest. If so, I am there!

              1. re: JazzyB

                Am heading back to NOLA for 10 days in May for NOWFE. Was there in March for a few days and went to Cuvee, Upperline, & Emerils for dinner. Had not been to Emerils for dinner in a long time. Had been to lunch there in Dec. and love my waiter Louis (he is now at Gautreau's and Lilette). Anyhow, we went mainly to see him as I have never been that impressed with Emerils food (I do like NOLA's better than any of his other places).
                I will never, never, never even have a cocktail there again. The waitstaff is fine although you can tell they feel the pressure to flip the table. The sommeliers (both of them) were arrogant, insipid and rude. In an establishment of that (supposed) caliber one would think the wine "experts" would be knowledgable and helpful (and courteous). They were not. I don't think that sommeliers need be of a certain age, however, I do feel that no books, classes, seminars or tastings are an adequate substitute for experience and you only get that with time. These boys looked barely old enough to drink wine yet they were both pompous and condescending to someone (my husband - I know my limits) who knew more about wine than both of them put together. They instruced our waiter, loud enough for us to hear to "hurry up, bill them and get them out" right after I questioned the size of the pour of my 150 anniv. Grand Marnier. The bill was over $450 for the two of us so it's not like we were eating salads and drinking ice tea. When I did question the size of the pour (I drink the 150 all the time, have had it at both Emerils and NOLA and the pour was RIDICULOUSLY small) the sommelier walks over, snatches my glass, and poured more into it and then (I kid you not) twirled around and STOMPED off without ever uttering a word. Let me know when they lose the kids and I MIGHT consider trying it for lunch again.

                1. re: ccmurieta

                  This was at Emeril's (the eponymous restaurant in Chef Lagasse's stable)? I am horribly disappointed. Though it has been just pre-K, since we were last there, all of our visits have been great on the wine front. Their list has always impressed me as being well-suited for the menu, and even the servers seemed to know it well enough to make good recs., even for a wine snob like me. It seems that things have changed, and not for the better.

                  Bad form on their part. Any sommelier, worth their grape leaves, should be there to assist the patrons (and to contribute to the wine list), and not cope any attitude. That is NOT part of their job description.


                  1. re: ccmurieta

                    Sorry to hear this. We've been dining there several times a month since Nov. and never had an experience such as yours. We did however have very slow service one evening. It took us 10 minutes to get menus and our wine sat equally long before it was opened/poured. We did not complain. The manager noticed the situatioin, apologized, gave me his business card saying if there's anything we need, or he can be of assistance in any way, to give him a call. "We appreciate our locals". A great save on his part. I must also add, we've never felt rushed.

                    1. re: JazzyB

                      In the pre-K past, the service was always spot-on, maybe a bit too cloying, but never lax.

                      Nice touch for the GM to take care of things. It costs almost nothing, but builds good will times 10.


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        I just reread my post of 4/26 to make sure I was accurate in my description of that evenings events as I wrote it when I was in a snit. Unfortunately, that's exactly what transpired. To reiterate, my problem was not with the food or the waitstaff. It was with the sommelier(s). I am curious as to how long the one I had the real problem has been in their emply. Am heading back for 10 days (5/14-24) and plan to inquire as to the situation there at Emeril's as it was a complete anomaly. I have never been treated rudely like that - especially in NOLA.

                        1. re: ccmurieta

                          Sorry to hear of your experience. Much has changed, since last dined there, so my references are too old to matter now. It is such a shame though, as they did provide us with great food and service. That is just unacceptable.


                2. We went to Luke for Christmas dinner.

                  It was very good. I had the grilled ribeye, the fries were delicious, steak was juicy. Friend had the Shrimp Farci. It reminded him of the stuffed claws you get in a Chinese restaurant. We both thought it was very good, and divine with the blood orange hollandaise.

                  I had the fried oyster/bacon salad which was beyond good. The flavors of the dressing, bacon, and oysters were a perfect match.

                  This is my first time in NOLA in a long time and we were not quite prepared for the richness of all the food so tonight we are searching out some clear noodle soup, vietnamese style.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: joeesha

                    Let me know where you ended up for Vietnamese if you liked it!

                    1. re: ccmurieta

                      We went to the Jazmine Cafe. It was just okay.