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A few specific questions

Background: We’ll be in town again for 5 days the beginning of Apr (5 dinners, 4 lunches, although when we have a big lunch, dinner may just be a nibble or two). Previous visits have included many of usual suspects (Brigtsens, Bayona, Commander’s, Acme, Central Grocery, Café du Monde, Mothers). We love all types of food, but gravitate towards seafood when we have access to it.

Oysters are still in season so we plan to hit Casamentos this time; is lunchtime better than dinner? And do they sell any alcohol besides beer? That’s the only adult beverage I could find on their website, which appears to be out-of-date, by the way.

We really want to experience Galatoires but the etiquette discussion has us leaning toward lunch or maybe dinner on a day other than Friday. I think we want to eat downstairs--any advantages to a Weds over a Sat or vice versa? Will we still need to get in line? Why do I read more about lunch here than dinner?

We plan to visit both Cochon and Bayona for lunch. We’d like to hit Jacque-Imos for dinner one night. We also adore rabbit; can we get our rabbit fix at Jacque-Imos? Where else do you recommend for rabbit besides Brigtsens? It was wonderful but we want different experiences this time.

We’re staying near Canal and the river with no car; where’s the best fried shrimp/fried oyster/softshell poboy within easy commuting distance? Where’s the best place for duck (another passion)? How about crawfish? Last but not least, where’s the best bread pudding?

Thanks in advance. I’ve been reading the NOLA board for a month or so now, and I compliment y’all on your courtesy, patience, passion, and knowledge.

Cheers,
Niki

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  1. "We’re staying near Canal and the river with no car; where’s the best fried shrimp/fried oyster/softshell poboy within easy commuting distance? Where’s the best place for duck (another passion)? How about crawfish? Last but not least, where’s the best bread pudding?"

    IMO, the best shrimp/oyster poboys are at Parkway, which isn't exactly within easy commuting distance -- would be a cab ride. But if you're going to Casamento's anyway, just get the oyster loaf there. Another option is Mandina's on Canal (accessible by streetcar) which has great fried seafood and poboys.

    Lots of places have duck on the menu, but lately I've really enjoyed the duck at Clancy's uptown. (I generally adore this place anyway. It's a classic.) You might want to call ahead to make sure they have it, but I've seen it on their menu the last few times I've gone. Stella in the French Quarter has "Duck Three Ways" which is a delicious dish, if a little bit overkill. It's very rich.

    Crawfish: It's rare that I get crawfish at a restaurant. Usually we buy them at a roadside stand on Airline. But (when they're in season) Frankie and Johnny's always had perfectly adequate mudbugs, freshly boiled and steaming. Sorry I can't recommend a place that's closer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: HalfShell

      Thanks; the (half) oyster loaf is on our short list, and Mandinas sounds interesting. Clancy's also sounds interesting. I appreciate the input.

    2. Martinique Bistro has good rabbit. The rabbit at Jacques is fried and pretty heavy. It's good, but it's a lot of breading so you don't get a lot of rabbit flavor out of it. I'd say it's more like chicken fried steak.

      Duck is good at Stella. Also good at Boucherie, especially the confit appetizer.

      Second Parkway for poboys, although, most joints do good fried poboys. It's the roast beefs you have to watch out for. Some of those are down right bad, e.g., Domilise's.

      Saturday at Gal's might be more crowded than Wednesday, so if you want to eat downstairs, maybe lean toward wednesday. I think Gal's for lunch is talked about mainly because of the Friday Lunch deal. Dinner there is fine. I'm pretty sure it's the same menu.

      Apart from Commander's bread pudding souffle, I don't know who has the best. Bon Ton has a good one, and Boucherie had Krispy Kreme bread pudding on the menu the other day. I didn't try it, but sure sounds good.

      3 Replies
      1. re: N.O.Food

        Tell me a bit more about Martinique Bistro, please....it's escaped my radar thus far. I especially appreciate the insight on roast beef poboys versus fried; I read Hunt's thread on the perfect rb poboy, but frankly, beef isn't usually on my mind in New Orleans. And Krispy Kreme bread pudding, ummm, guess your teeth are sweeter than mine ;-)

        1. re: Niki in Dayton

          Martinique is billed as carribbean/french, but I've noticed little carribbean influence. It's more like french/louisiana fare. When I think of Martinique I think of thick, rich foods. We don't eat there much during the dead of summer, if that tells you anything. However, it's a very good restaurant, and it has a patio so you can sit outside if the weather's nice. Not real formal and not real expensive.

          Yeah, most places serve good poboys that feature fried stuff. On the other hand, some roast beefs are good while others are not. For the best all-around poboy place I'd recommend Parkway.

          Also recommend casamento's for anything fried. They fry in lard so everything comes out extra tasty. Had some killer softshell crabs there the other night.

          1. re: Niki in Dayton

            I love Martinique Bistro. be sure to sit in their courtyard weather permitting. the crab salad is my go to dish there. they usually have special menus highlighting a different Caribbean island's cuisine with a 4 course about $45. their duck breat w/duck leg confit is also a winner, as are the scallops and mussels. and don't forget their ice creams, especially the mint fresh from the garden.

        2. Niki,

          I am a fan of the fried shrimp po-boys at Felix's. They are an L-shaped property, and one door faces ACME. Some share my feelings, though others like ACME over Felix's, though mainly for oysters.

          We had a lovely bread pudding (not the bread pudding souflet at Commander's) at Brennan's. Again, some have negative feelings on the restaurant. I once did, as well. The last two meals have been very good to excellent.

          As to Galatoire's, you *might* have to stand in line, even for lunch. It would be a tossup, as to whether Wed. is better than Sat. Many of the diners there, work nearby. Wed. is a work day, while Sat. is not. Could work in your advantage.

          As to why lunch is mentioned more often there, I'd guess that it's because most CH subscribers have time to do that, in lieu of standing in line for diner. When we have dined there most recently, we opted for the reservations upstairs, as we had time constraints, and also guests with similar. It's not the same, albeit great. it depends on the time that you can allocate to it. BTW, I do not mean to imply that upstairs is rushed, in any way. It is not. It's only about the time in line, and nothing more.

          Enjoy,

          Hunt

          6 Replies
          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Casamento's - beer only
            Duck - Clancy's and Cuvee
            Rabbit - Patois and Bayona

            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Thanks, Hunt, I've enjoyed your posts...we'll check out Felix's. I know you're into wine; any wine bar reccos? We've been to Grapevine on Orleans several times and plan to stop in again; how's the food there? Any reccos for a romantic spot to sip Champagne and have a good nibble or two?

              1. re: Niki in Dayton

                I'd go to Vieux Carre Wine & Spirits and pick up a split or two, three, or four and go to the river at sunset. you could go to the French Market and Central Grocery and pick up something to nosh on beforehand. when I travel, I love to go to markets and pick up wines for picnics.
                if you're here on a Saturday, you could hit the local farmer's markets for a good selection of edibles:
                http://www.crescentcityfarmersmarket....
                and, you don't have to wait for sunset...you could do this all day.

                1. re: edible complex

                  What a lovely idea! I adore picnics, and in New Orleans, I won't have to forgo (or hide) a great bottle of wine to enhance it. Thanks, ec, and by the way, love the name-pun ;-)

                2. re: Niki in Dayton

                  I have not made it to the Grapevine yet, so cannot comment.

                  I see that EC has mentioned Vieux Carre Wine & Spirits and would second them. We've picke up some lovely Ports there, that are not commonly available in the PHX area.

                  While wine in NOLA restaurants is coming into its own, NOLA is more a cocktail city, with good reason. Over the years, there have been some thick wine lists, with some really special bottles. However, what I had come to know was a gapping hole in the middle of most of these lists. All of the "usual suspects" were there in the US$50/btl. range (pretty stiff markup), and then the list jumped to the "rare" wines in the US$1200/btl. range. Little, to nothing, in the middle US$100-300 range. This seems to be changing for the better. Also, more restaurants seem to be considering their food, and adding wines that compliment that, rather than fill someone's wine score book, or pad that expense account.

                  The wine lists that seemed to work with the food the best have been:
                  Emeril's (the eponymous one)
                  Stella!
                  New Orleans Grill (Windsor Court Hotel)

                  The above offered me a good range, and a lot of wines that went with the kitchens' food. That is what wine and dining is about for us.

                  Cochon had a nice little list (OK markups), and most did a good job with the fare.

                  Brigtsen's, which I love dearly, needs to rework their wine list and gear it more towards Chef Frank's kitchen, and not towards what they think of as what the average diner will likely order. I'm one of those folk, who want wines that pair perfectly with every course of my meal. I do not care if I have never heard of the producer, or even the appelation. It's about the pairings. If I can try something that is new to me, I give bonus points. Unless I am charged with ordering wine for an event, I will seldom go with "old favorites," unless they are the very best pairing.

                  Think we're over in June, and will try for Grapevine. I'll post my comments after that trip.

                  Hunt

              2. I'll second duck at Clancy's...it isone of the only places I ever think about having duck in town.

                The Galatoire's menue is the same throughout the day, from 11:30 AM until 9:00 PM. It is open all day and lunch porbably gets mentioned more just because it can run from 1:00 until whenever....avoid the line by going at 2:30 or later and just linger. You won't need dinner if you do it right. Wednesday will be quieter than Sat at 3:00 but you never know for sure. That's about all that can be said if you've never been there...it would take far more words than you care to read to try to describe the place. As I have often noted, it is a good idea to avoid Friday.

                2 Replies
                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Thanks, hazelhurst, this is the 3rd recco for Clancy's so we'll have to try it. I've truly enjoyed reading your posts about Galatoires, and appreciate the advice.

                  1. re: Niki in Dayton

                    I am hopeful that you will get there and enjoy the place. It is what you make of it...and the people therein (and they are the key because they ARE the place) will be happy to help if you ask them.

                2. Irene's for duck
                  Iris for duck confit
                  New Orleans Food & Spirits for rabbit (Thurs. only)
                  and do try some sweetbreads at either Clancy's or Galatoire's.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: edible complex

                    And the rabbit is the lunch special at NO Food and Spirits, they usually run out by 1.

                    Niki, I know you may not have roast beef on your mind when you come here, but a roast beef poboy is New Orleans in my mind. A good roast beef poboy blows any fried seafood poboy out of the water.

                      1. re: Niki in Dayton

                        +1 New Orleans Food and Spirits

                        PS We have the same name...and I spell mine Niki too...which I rarely see.

                      2. re: roro1831

                        Thank you, thank you...a million thanks for making the point about a roas' beef po-boy. Our great friend on this board, Bill Hunt, remarks as often as he can (and he should when opportunity presents) about Acy's Pool Hall product. [I pause to grab a towel for my tears.] The problem I have encountered lately is that I get shredded meat on the bread---it is akin to a school cafeteria Sloppy Joe. The beef should be....beef. If made with a eye of round then be sure it is cut thin so the dentals can get through it. But spare us from mutilated shreds of ex-beef. Hungry Celeste knows whereof I speak.

                        1. re: hazelhurst

                          I agree completely. A "debris" is not the same. There is a place for each, but I try to not confuse them. For me, the beef should be very finely sliced, but sliced. Gosh, I am having a brain freeze on what my butcher calls it, but it's about the thinnest setting on a commercial slicer. Danged! Lesson to you whippersnappers out there - do not get old!

                          Parkway Tavern & Bakery is the only place that has met my requirements. Now, there are some highly respected shops, that I have not tried, or have not tried in 30 years. Do not throw stones at me, if I placed Parkway above your fav. I mean no disrespect, and am only commenting on what I have dined on fairly recently.

                          Hunt

                          PS I am in no way deserving of the kind words. I appreciate them, but it's you folk, the locals, who make this board go so well. I just pop in, from time to time.

                      3. re: edible complex

                        Thanks, e c....what time does one need to arrive for lunch at New Orleans Food and Spirits for lunch to be assured one will score rabbit? And we loooove sweetbreads, thanks!

                        1. re: Niki in Dayton

                          I would get there no later than noon, just to play it safe. The special that day is white beans and rabbit, it's some of the best rabbit i've had.

                          1. re: roro1831

                            Work brings me to town and although I have some scheduling latitude, I'm not sure I can do Thursday before 1:00 :-( Oh well, next visit!

                          2. re: edible complex

                            ec, right on with the duck at Irene's. Forgot about that one. The duck at Tommy's as well. And don't get me started with the sweetbreads at Clancy's. Rockin' good!

                          3. Bon Ton's bread pudding is my personal favorite. I had a wonderful duck salad at Tommy's once. I'm trying to see if it's still on the menu but their website seems to be down.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: mrsfury

                              I'm thinking we have to try Bon Ton for bread pudding...what else is wonderful there?

                              1. re: Niki in Dayton

                                I usually order the Bon Ton salad with house dressing (it is a small salad that comes with your entree & the dressing is a creole mustard vinaigrette), crab au gratin (some say the sherry is too strong) and the bread pudding. I usually have to save half my crab if I want dessert. Everything I have had there is wonderful. Check the menu:

                                http://www.thebontoncafe.com/lunch.html

                            2. Tommy's Cuisine on Tchoupitoulas has wonderful duck, check out menu online....please try Coops on Decatur, close to Margaritaville ( website: coopsplace.net for menu) does not look like much but food is excellent. cab from canal to that area might be around $10.00.
                              seafood excellent as well.............not romantic but great food

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: kattos

                                if you will be in town on the 3rd and 4th check this out http://www.oysterjubilee.com/

                                1. re: heavy d

                                  Thanks, the oyster jubilee and the roadfood festival both sound wonderful!