the elusive $15 entree
I feel like I eat out all the time in this city and either:
a)go to fine dining and end up dropping more than $100 for 2 people, or
b) go casual, but still end up spending around $25 a person.
I'd like to find the kind of options you get in other big cities, restaurants where you can get delicious food, don't need a reservation, and still get out of there for $20-$30 a person, before drinks. Any suggestions? I'm tired of going to restaurants that are vaguely dirty and have a somewhat fast food air (not naming any names!) and still being charged $13 for a po-boy or some tacos. There are dives that are cheap and good, but I just want a nice mid-level dining experience, somewhere that I can eat food from scratch without breaking the bank.
I can think of a whole slew of places with good, made-in-house food for $15 or less, but they don't necessarily have a "dining" atmosphere (ie, no table linens, sometimes no table service). Of course, this task is far easier at lunch, but I'm restricting my list to places that do serve in the evenings:
--Taqueria Corona fits the bill, if you like the place; things like black bean soup and the small burritos are tasty and a good value. If you like your taquerias more mexican than TC, try Taqueria San Miguel or Taqueria Chilangos; both will deliver the goods at well below $15.
--Pho Tau Bay does too, as do most pho houses.
--Cafe Lebanon or Mona's hold to your price point., with lots of options under $15
--The soup-and-half panini deal at La Divina is less than $8, with the soups changing regularly.
--Likewise, Gelato Pazzo has delicious panini, salads, and specials at great prices (even a steak night! and the steaks are crazy-delicious in that fiorentina way)
Other than ethnic places, there ain't much in town that fits your requirements. Crepe Nanou has decent prices for the food you get. You're still probably looking at 20-30 dollars a person though. I consider that pretty cheap for a sit-down, non-ethnic, non-poboy dinner.
re: Suzy Wong
I should have said that's tough to do Uptown. Sure, there's places in Bucktown, Kenner, Metairie, and the Westbank that are cheap, but there aren't many options in the city proper.
I heartily second Boucherie, but two of us had lunch there and it was 72 bucks. Anywhere you go, it all depends on what you order. There's tons of places where you can get out cheap, but the point is, I rarely do unless it's an ethnic joint or a poboy place.
Take JazzyB's recs for example. (No offense JB, you know I like your recs) I've never gotten out of Riomar (at dinner) for less than 100 bucks or so (no drinks included). But that includes three courses. Sure you can go and have an appetizer and a coke and probably get out for 15 bucks, but who's going to do that? When I think of a 25 dollar meal, I'm thinking of a full meal including tax and tip, and there aren't many options in that category. I feel your pain notanotherpoboy!
After further thought, Franky and Johnny's might fit the bill, but it's little more than a glorified poboy shop. Casamento's might work, too. Again these both depend on what you order.
For less expensive dining options, try Rambla for an assortment of tapas, nice atmoshere. Lola's on Esplanade, Maximos, Vincent's, Riomar, La Boca( large portions easily split), Redfish Grill. Muriels often has specials.Go to restaurants.com and purchase a $25 GC to ONE. Cost of GC is $10.
It's not even that I want a cheap meal, mostly that I miss a certain style of casual GOOD dining that you can get in other cities. True bistro, for example, not New Orleans style foie gras bistro. I'd love to know about any good contemporary American, or cafe style where the food is actually good. I like fine dining, don't get me wrong, and I like dives, but as a city, it seems like we are missing mid-level decent cafes. The only restaurants in town I can think of that come close are Boucherie and Lola's. Actually, it was eating at Boucherie that made me think about how much I miss this type of dining: good food, good service, unpretentious, and (dare I say it?) FUN.
The $15 entree would be a bit tougher than "$20-30 a person, before drinks" but Elizabeth's in Bywater definitely qualifies under the latter price point and has excellent food in a nice atmosphere. Ate there last night and had a great meal!
Also qualifies for good service, unpretentious and fun as well!
10160 Jefferson Hwy
River Ridge, LA 70123
Mid Week Specials $15 including a small House Salad (sample menu)
Pork Chop Parmesan w/ Angel Hair Pasta
Duck Confit w/ Dirty Rice and Blueberry Gastrique
Filet and Shrimp Skewers w/ Chipotle Aioli, Stone Ground Grits
Grilled Redfish w/ Herb Tomato Sauce, Roasted Potatoes, Exotic Mushrooms
Pork Stew w/ Roasted Potatoes