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Quick trip to NOLA report

Linda Feb 19, 2009 09:43 AM

I had been scouring the NOLA board for quite sometime and finally made my way down over President's Day weekend. It was the first time for this New Yorker. It was also Valentine's Day and the start of a few Mardi Gras parades, so I was expecting a bit of craziness. However, though there were definitely crowds, our taxi driver lamented that the crowds were very thin compared to pre-K days. We didn't have to wait for a cab and there was no traffic. I hope NOLA will be revived to its old glory days.

SAT NIGHT:

Went straight to HERBSAINT for dinner. Promptly ordered the traditional sazerac (very good). We ordered fried frog legs, braised short ribs, kurabuta pork belly, steak, seared scallops, flounder, and finished with the homemade ice cream and olive oil cake.

I found the food to be very good overall, but nothing blew my mind. The fried frog legs had a sweet sauce with it, I think it would've been fine without it. The short ribs were very good, came with a tasty potato pancake underneath. All the entrees were also very good. The olive oil cake that came with sorbet was sort of like a glorified muffin. I wouldn't recommend it.

I may just be an impatient person, but it took forever to get the attention of the waiters and to get another beer. I thought to myself, ok, we should slow it down a bit...

SUN MORNING:

Jazz brunch at MR B'S BISTRO. They had a $25-30 3-course special that came with a gumbo, jumbalaya, and some tomato soup starter, a choice of petit filet with truffled eggs, french toast, or creole eggs, and bread pudding. We ordered all 3. All were very good and rich. The coffee was great as well. The mimosa was nice and strong. The loaf of bread that was given to us was also very good. New Orleans loves their bread, huh? I really liked the bread pudding, but it was too much carbs at this point. My belly was bloated already.

SUN ATTEMPT AT SNACK:

Cafe du Monde. The line was out the door for both the beignets and table. Scratch that.

SUN DINNER:

Finished off at ACME OYSTER HOUSE. The charbroiled oysters and raw oysters were great. Nothing more to say about that.

Had another sazerac at Old Absinthe House, I liked it better at Herbsaint?

Thanks again for all the recommendations. Our flight was canceled for a night so we missed a whole day of chowing down. I hope to head back to try other favorites, like Galatoire's, Arnaud's, Commander's Palace, Cochon, and the likes.

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  1. mrsfury RE: Linda Feb 19, 2009 04:21 PM

    LOL I like your Acme review. I wonder what else you ordered? I agree that oysters are the only thing to order there but I know some like the place.

    1. kittykatkid RE: Linda Feb 21, 2009 03:42 AM

      I am right there with you on Herbsaint> Iwent down the last weekend in January and I felt exactly the same about it. I was looking forward to it and it was a disappointment, especially the frog legs. I do have to say that their gumbo was subline!! I am going down again in October and it will not be on the list.

      11 Replies
      1. re: kittykatkid
        m
        mhdousa RE: kittykatkid Feb 21, 2009 01:48 PM

        I have to give some love to Herbsaint. We went about a month ago and had an absolutely phenomenal meal. Everything was amazing, except for the duck confit which was just above average. We had a couple vegetarians in our group and they went out of their way to make an entire vegetarian menu.
        The gumbo, braised short rib, shrimp and grits, pork belly, and salad with satsumas were particularly good. The olive oil cake dessert was out of this world, and the banana brown butter tart was one of the best desserts I've ever had.
        One other minor criticism is that our waitress wasn't great with the wine list, and didn't send over the sommelier.
        Otherwise, no complaints and we'll definitely be back.
        -M

        -----
        Herbsaint
        701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

        1. re: mhdousa
          Linda RE: mhdousa Mar 3, 2009 06:08 AM

          At Acme, we ordered seafood platters and po boys. I had the Peacemaker po' boy, which was fried oyster and shrimp, with a Tabasco mayo. It was actually pretty good, but the oysters clearly stole the show. Oh, we ordered ice cream and it was like astronaut ice cream. Kind of dry, is this common?? Very odd.

          I don't want to knock Herbsaint, as I did enjoy my meal, but I definitely did not get blown away by anything. I would recommend it to other visitors, but may temper their expectations.

        2. re: kittykatkid
          FoodChic RE: kittykatkid Mar 3, 2009 06:57 AM

          Right there with you on Herbsaint. We had dinner there a couple of years ago and it was just "okay," nothiing to write home about. With all the amazing places to dine in NOLA, Herbsaint just isn't on my places to return to for a great dinner.

          1. re: FoodChic
            h
            hoppy2468 RE: FoodChic Mar 4, 2009 03:50 AM

            Herbsaint is on my list for our April visit. Where would you go instead? Our other choices are La Provence, NOLA and Commanders Palace. Thanks.

            1. re: hoppy2468
              edible complex RE: hoppy2468 Mar 4, 2009 04:06 AM

              La Provence has had some changes in the kitchen and have not heard any reports yet on the new chef. Stay tuned before trekking over the lake.

              1. re: edible complex
                FoodChic RE: edible complex Mar 4, 2009 05:11 AM

                A close friend visited La Provence a couple of weeks ago and said it was his favorite meal of the whole trip. I trust his opinions too.

                If you have your heart set on Herbsaint then try it. Your opinion of it may be different from mine. I've talked with several people that are sold on the place and have had great expereinces. I'm just not one one of them.

                If you were going to elminate any from your critieria, I would very strongly suggest that you avoid NOLA. Look up some of the NOLA stories on the board. It does not have a good reputation and for GOOD reason. I think the Brightsen's reccomendation below is solid, or you could look into Bayona, Luke, Galatoires, Stella, Cuvee, or even Emerils. But NOLA is horrible!!! Absolutely horrible.

                1. re: FoodChic
                  g
                  gremlin608 RE: FoodChic Mar 5, 2009 12:11 PM

                  I second that NOLA is TERRIBLE!!! We are heading down in April and some want to go to one of Emeril's restaurants. I haven't been to Emeril's or Delmonicos but NOLA is pretty bad. Both service and food.

              2. re: hoppy2468
                nikinik RE: hoppy2468 Mar 4, 2009 04:26 AM

                Brightsen's

                1. re: hoppy2468
                  BayouTeche RE: hoppy2468 Mar 4, 2009 05:40 AM

                  FWIW......I had a fabulous meal at Herbsaint a couple of months ago. Of your other 3 choices, Commanders is superior, though much more formal.

                  1. re: hoppy2468
                    m
                    mhdousa RE: hoppy2468 Mar 7, 2009 09:03 PM

                    Don't skip Herbsaint.

                    1. re: hoppy2468
                      z
                      zin1953 RE: hoppy2468 Mar 24, 2009 07:12 PM

                      >>> Herbsaint is on my list for our April visit. Where would you go instead? Our other choices are La Provence, NOLA and Commanders Palace. Thanks. <<<

                      FWIW, last November when I was in New Orleans, my wife and I had wonderful meal at Herbsaint -- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/574370

                      OTOH, I'd definitely skip NOLA . . . Commanders is certainly worth a visit, as is La Provence.

                      Cheers,
                      Jason

                2. dcata25 RE: Linda Mar 18, 2009 10:52 AM

                  Go to Herbsaint. Wonderful. Get the homemade spaghetti with fried poach egg (small plate) and try their mussels with pomme frittes (another small plate). We go to Herbsaint on every visit which is 4 to 5 times a year. Commander's is also a must!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: dcata25
                    l
                    lakshmidas RE: dcata25 Mar 24, 2009 10:44 AM

                    There was a mention early in this thread about the lines at Cafe du Monde. I was under the impression that there is generally no actual "line" -- that people just assume they have to line up because they are used to doing so. Instead, you simply go through the back and find yourself a table. But obviously, I could be wrong. Thoughs on this?

                    1. re: lakshmidas
                      BayouTeche RE: lakshmidas Mar 24, 2009 11:25 AM

                      Yeah, there is no hostess at CDM, you seat yourself. People just stand there waiting for a table to open up. If you just do a little walk-through, you can probably find something the "line-standers" didn't see.

                      1. re: BayouTeche
                        c
                        cajungirl RE: BayouTeche Mar 24, 2009 02:01 PM

                        One time I tried to convince some tourists at CDM (honeymooners, it appeared) that there was no line and and no maitre d' to seat them, that they should scout out an empty table, even a dirty one, and sit. I failed: They were unconvinced. I think they thought I was trying to trick them. My husband and I sat, ate, and left, and they were still standing in a long, unnecessary line!

                        1. re: cajungirl
                          BayouTeche RE: cajungirl Mar 24, 2009 02:35 PM

                          Ha! Yeah, well....what can you do. And you can bet any table you find will be dirty.....even after the waitress wipes it down with her equally dirty rag.

                          1. re: BayouTeche
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                            gremlin608 RE: BayouTeche Mar 24, 2009 06:07 PM

                            I think if you must go to CDM go for the take out option!

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