Veggie in New Orleans - need help with restaurants :)
DH and I are visiting NO in December. It is our first visit in many years - the last visits were back in the day and it was Mardi Gras - when food was not a priority.
I have been reading menus and reviews for a few weeks and still need some help. I have a res at Lilette so far on a Friday night.
I am the problem - I am mostly a vegetarian- I eat fish (not shell fish) and dairy and eggs, but not meat or poultry. I am looking for 2 more dinner reservations (Sat and Sun night) and a Sunday or Sat brunch reservation.
Sounds crazy, but call Cochon. The place is great and heavy on pork. However, my veggie friend asks for a "Veggie plate" and the chefs come up with something new each time.
For casual but excellent vegetarian food, my two favorites are Bennachin's in the French Quarter and Lebanon Cafe on Carrollton. Nirvana on Magazine is OK for Indian.
I was talking to a waitress the other day and she said she sends vegetarians to Bayona's. I, myself, never have liked the food there but she claims they will do you up some good vegie dishes. Don't know how true it is, but that's what she said.
Considering the preponderance of fish on NOLA menus, I do not think you will have a problem. It might be worth a conversation with the reservations agent (after some on-line menu searching) to find out if shellfish are used in certain dishes. OK, if one considers crab as a "shellfish" (which it isn't but... ) one might have to order the pan-fried whole fish, rather than the version with crabmeat atop.
Now, being an omnivore, I do not pay close attention to the preps, but my wife cannot do bi-valves (mussels, scallops, oysters or clams), so we do look at broths, and extra ingredients. Even when doing a chef’s tasting, this is always mentioned at the time of reservations, and again to our server, and we have never had a problem. OK, some shellfish are ubiquitous in NOLA cuisine, but the chefs find a way around it. Yes, she might have a scallop dish replaced with something else, but they always come through.
Now, if you were a Level 9 Vegan, things might be greatly different. In your case, I do not see the problem, at most restaurants, with a bit of research on-line and some conversation with the host/hostess. Please be very specific with them, as they are usually not kitchen staff. They are trying to help, but only once you explain, can they do so. If you see something on the on-line menu that causes you to wonder, ask about it. They may have to get back to you.
You might want to sit down and define a few terms first. Does “shellfish” include shrimp, crabs, any other non-mollusk critters? A definition can be important. Wife has to tell them that these, plus limpets and abalone are fine. There is something about mollusks with two shells, that cause her problems.
I could easily see most menus working just fine. While a vegetarian spot will certainly work, I do not think that you’ll have to limit yourself. Now, it you were heading to Kansas City, the situation would not be so easy.