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4 nights - what do you think of my choices?

  • b

Hi all. I'm going to be visiting your fine city Memorial Day weekend and I'm trying to get my meals in order, mostly dinner. Here's what I'm thinking, but it's by no means set in stone:

Dante's Kitchen
Lilette
Upperline
Cochon

The only one of the four I've been to is Upperline, which I thought was excellent.

Now I also considered Bayona, Brigsten's, Patois, Stella, August and MiLa, along with a few others before settling on the four above. So are my choices good or would others be better? To help you answer, let me tell you a few other things:

I'm not planning on bringing a jacket or tie, so nothing very fancy . . . although I plan to do Commander's for Sunday brunch. I love Cajun/Creole/Southern food and I'd like at least two of my meals to offer that cuisine (thinking primarily Dante's and Upperline here). I love pork (hence Cochon) although my dining companion is more of a seafood eater, so I'm hoping Cochon will work. Cochon is the meal I could see skipping -- will I be sorry? And I've read great things on the board about Lilette, so I thought that would offer a small escape from Southern/Cajun food. Finally, my transportation will be by foot and streetcar (or cab) . . . I will be staying near the French Quarter.

I really liked the menus at Bayona & Brigsten's, but I often lean towards the lesser knowns and less formal and chose Upperline & Dante's over Bayona/Brigsten's. Will I be sorry?

Finally, I will be eating plenty during the day (muffalettas, po' boys, oysters, etc.) so I would not be shocked if we decide to seek out a more casual, lighter fare and inexpensive dinner one night (close to the Quarter). Can you suggest something near the quarter for a light, inexpensive but good dinner? Could be Cajun/Creole/Southern . . . I've heard Port of Call is good for burgers . . . or something you just think is a gem.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

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  1. The only one I wouldn't skip is Cochon. If you're with a serious seafood person and are looking for an alternative to traditional I would try Riomar.

    I'm not a big fan of the other choices in your post, with the exception of Patois & Brigtsen's.

    Napoleon House is my favorite "gem" in the quarter. I usually have a couple drinks and take a 1/2 muff over to the Omni rooftop pool for a great lunch.

    Have fun and let us know how you made out!

    1. Cochon would be better for an all appetizer lunch. Brigtsen's is not formal. The only rest. in NOLA requiring a jacket is Galatoire's for dinner and Sunday brunch. POC has excellent burgers. Expect a line unless you go when they open at 11am. If you love pork, go to Emeril's. Get the Abita rootbeer bacon(porkbelly) salad. Have the double cut (2" ) Neiman ranch tamarind glazed porkchop with green chili mole (made with roasted poblanos, not chococlate). Perfect compliment of flavors.

      1. I personally like all of your choices except Cochon. The menu is not diverse I agree with the other poster you may want to consider it for lunch or snack. It is very casual so no problem there. I had a very mediocre meal at Patois but I am willing to try it again. Stella is on the high side but worth it for an occasion. I also agree Brightsen's is on the casual side and it is known for consistency though the day I ate there I thought it was somewhat average but not bad.

        Your choices are great because there is not really any repetition on that list. Each one you chose is unique. They are all solid and relatively affordable. If you want some of the kinds of stuff that cochon has but with seafood you could try the other John Best restaurant Luke. They have some of the pork and exotic meats but also oysters on the half shell. The restaurant is styled on a french brasserie so it is casual. The menu is online so you and your friend can check it out and see if it looks good to you.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MsAnnaNOLA

          Thank you very much for the input. Luke looks very intriguing and I had not considered it, but I love the menu. I think I'll leave it up to my dining companion between Luke and Cochon. I assume the food at Luke is well executed?

          1. re: BRB

            Luke is incredible from my experiences there.

        2. Thank you all for the input . . . I like the menu at Riomar but will probably have to save it for the next trip. As for Cochon, it seems everywhere I read there are mixed reviews and I'm not sure why (although the limited menu complaint comes up a lot). I'll be sure to post my reviews here after (and maybe even during) my trip.

          11 Replies
          1. re: BRB

            What people don't realize is that many restaurants try too hard. They overextend themselves by putting ___ number of dishes on the menu and in doing so, the chefs aren't able to produce a good quality dish. Whether or not you think Cochon is a good restaurant is up to you, but I happen to think its great.

            What you don't want is chefs that are flustered in the kitchen and produce mediocre results because there's too much to do and keep track of.

            My point is don't fault a restaurant simply because they don't have as many choices as you would like. Their menu is obviously available online, so you have plenty of opportunity and time to see what's there, it's not like you should be surprised when you get there.

            Some of the best restaurants in the world give you only one or two options for dinner (see: The French Laundry). It's called prie fixe.

            1. re: SQHD

              Excellent points, and although the menu at Cochon might appear to be limited, what I did see I liked quite a bit. Now whether the food is consistently excellent is my main concern and I appreciate your feedback. Of course, I'm hoping that my dining companion will also be interested in the menu.

              1. re: SQHD

                I completely agree. I think the number of menu items is directly inverse to the overall quality of the restaurant - a dinner place anyway. I am also very indecisive so I don't like having a lot of choices!

                1. re: SQHD

                  I'm simply not a big fan of the food. It's just country food that they serve better versions of in many places around the state. The number of menu items doesn't bother me.

                  "Consistently excellent" hmm... It is consistent, and it is good. But like any place, some love it while others just think it's okay. I haven't heard anyone say it was bad, however, which is a good thing. My theory is that anyone who is unaccustomed to eating the type of food they serve loves the place. Loves it. Check the reviews that come out of cities like New York. Crazy good reviews. On the other hand, you have the people who have grown up eating that type of food their entire lives. Everyone I know from Louisiana or the deep south that eats there doesn't think much of it. We just don't see what the big deal is about. I'm sure there's exceptions to my "rule" but that's just my observation.

                  Don't let my post discourage you from going. It is good, I just personally don't agree with all the fuss.

                  @ lawstudent: Good luck on exams or congrats if you're already finished.

                  1. re: N.O.Food

                    There are different or potentially better versions of some of Cochon's dishes in other parts of the state, but I think you've kind of forgotten one critical point... those places are "around the state" not necessarily in the city of New Orleans. People visit the city and expect to find great Cajun cuisine but in reality, there isn't much of it. Cochon is a great standout in my opinion.

                    I don't know Chef Link aside from the stuff I've read online, but he is a born and bred S. Louisiana boy. He understands the flavors and takes his knowledge and applies to a mid-scale restaurant.

                    1. re: SQHD

                      Yeah, I agree with you, but I didn't think it necessary to mention all that. I've said the same in quite a few posts about Cochon. It is unique in new orleans, and it is bringing "cajun" food to the tourist masses just as Prudhomme did so long ago. I have no problem with that whatsoever. I was just trying to point out why I think some peeople love it while others don't. To me, Cochon falls flat because I have had better versions of what they serve. That's true for any restaurant. Sure, it's unique to n.o., but it ain't that great comparatively speaking. Again, we're talking about me here.

                      Your post also reiterates my point. People come here expecting to find Cajun food, and you're right, there isn't much of it. What they get is Cochon, and they love it because they've never had that type of thing before. They rave about it, and I can certainly understand that. The first time I had Indian food I raved about it. Now that I've eaten tons of Indian food at a lot of indian places, I see that my first encounter was probably overblown because the food really wasn't that great. It was great to me at the time, but relatively speaking it wasn't nearly as good as Indian food I had in London and other places. A little perspective changes everything. At Cochon, I'm coming in after a lifetime of that type of food. That's why I don't rave about it; I just say it's "good" or "decent."

                      1. re: N.O.Food

                        I appreciate the discussion N.O. Food and SQHD . . . I understand exactly what you both are saying. What it comes down to is I'm a pork lover . . . and if Cochon does pork well (or better than anyone else in the general area keeping in mind that I'll be near the French Quarter and without a car), it will work. But if you've got other ideas, including with respect to other ideas for dinners (or even lunches), I'm always willing to listen.

                        And if you have any particular recommendations at Cochon (pork and non-pork), I'd love to hear them.

                        1. re: BRB

                          I'm certain you'll enjoy Cochon. Heck, I enjoy it. I didn't mean to come across like I thought Cochon was a bad restaurant. I just don't understand the hype the place gets. It's on lots of "best" restaurant lists these days.

                          That said, I like the fried alligator, jalapeno spoon bread, oyster and bacon sandwich, the cochon, gumbo, grits, livers, eggplant dressing, rabbit dumplings, pineapple upside down cake, and pork cheeks.

                          Not a big fan of the court bouillon, greens, brisket, the gulf fish, or the root beer float.

                          While we're on the topic. I've been to Boucherie several times and I find their food to be really good. It's similar to Cochon and it's cheaper. If you go to Boucherie, I've found the small plates to be better than the entrees so I'd recommend getting a bunch and sharing.

                          1. re: N.O.Food

                            No hard feelings here, N.O.Food or BRB. This is just a friendly discussion! N.O.Food has some very valid points and they should certainly be considered. If there's something we can agree 11% on, perhaps its the great drinks they have there at Cochon! If you enjoy bourbon, I think you will be quite pleased with the selection there at the restaurant. Have fun in the city!

                            1. re: SQHD

                              oops - that was supposed to be "110%" not 11...

              2. Well, I have reservations at the four places I mentioned above . . . although I'm always willing to be convinced that there are other places I should be considering. Unfortunately, I could use several more nights and a car . . . but oh well. I'm looking forward to my trip and I'll let you know how things work out.

                1. One quick note regarding Port of Call-I have always loved their burgers but can sometimes be a little overcrowded (If you go try the Monsoon) IMO, a great place for burgers is The Beach Corner Lounge just down Canal. It is more of a bar atmosphere, but I love the burgers, fries and onion rings. You probably won't find many tourist here-just a laid back, friendly bar with pool tables, a juke box and great burgers. It is also more reasonably priced than Port of Call and less crowded as it is not written up in guidebooks etc. Another reasonably priced option in the Quarter is Coops Place on Decatur. Their jambalaya is excellent and po boys tasty. All of your dining choices sound great but I would highly reccomend Bayona for either a lunch or dinner. At lunch, they offer some "small plates" and everything is spectacular! The atmosphere is awesome especially if you are seated in the courtyard.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: ScarlettNola

                    Thank you very much for the tips on The Beach Corner and Coops Place . . . I'm putting them down on the list of possible lunch places.

                    1. re: BRB

                      Please let us know what your final dining choices were and what you thought of each! I love to hear feedback from those trying new places for the first time. (As a hint Beach Corner is located on Canal at the corner of City Park Avenue on the right hand side of the road and has a neon sign outside) Enjoy!

                      1. re: BRB

                        Two other places I failed to mention for lunch are Casamentos on Magazine(awesome fried seafood and oysters) and Parkway Bakery for Oyster Po Boys and Parasols for Roast Beef po boys. Enjoy!

                      2. re: ScarlettNola

                        I'm probably going to sound like an idiot, but can I have some advice on Port of Call. Last time, I was there, it was late and packed and I'd had a few too many drinks. I was confused about how to go about getting a burger. Is there a list to get on to be seated? Can you get them to go?

                        1. re: megany09

                          Port of Call is good....don't get me wrong but IMHO, it is a tad overated. I think to a lot of people it is simply something nostalgic (for my husband and I at least) so occasionally we will go there. If they are crowded, wait in line and after putting your name down, grab a monsoon and be prepared to wait. Stand out on Esplanade and watch the people go by. There is a different wait system in the bar. You simply wait for someone to get up and grab the stool (quickly) We generally eat at the bar during peak times as it is a bit easier. If you choose to wait for a table, a waitress will take your order. As far as to go orders??? I am not sure as I have never tried to order a burger to go. I still say Clover Grill (FQ) Checkpoint Charlies, or def Beach Corner Lounge on Canal.

                          1. re: ScarlettNola

                            you cant get them to go -- as long as it isnt super busy, in which some cases they will not do go orders.

                            its not nostalgia for us -- from the midwest west (meat & potato country) and i can honestly say it is one of the best burgers ive ever had.. the best part? its consistent. just order one level up from your normal.

                            1. re: kibbles

                              It is always worth a try and is good-I just think it is not quite worth wait (although that can be an experience in itself) especially considering we usually have our brood of children with us, which can make a 30 minute wait seem like hours. Then again, you are talking to someone who waited for 45 minutes last month for Pancho's with children in tow and that WAS NOT worth any sort of wait. Port of Call is under the right circumstances.

                          2. re: megany09

                            There is a list to be seated, sometimes there is someone actually at the door and other times you leave your name at the bar.
                            Not sure about getting one to go, as I always eat there.
                            When I went there the last Sunday of Jazz Fest, we walked right in and sat down at 11:30, but 309 minutes later the line was out the door.
                            I made the big mistake of getting two monsoons and I really don't recall leaving....you move away from the city and lose all tolerance for booze. lol

                          3. re: ScarlettNola

                            If you were going to replace one of my dinners w/ Bayona, which one would it be?

                            1. re: BRB

                              I would have to say Cochon-but it is still a good choice. IMHO Bayona offers a larger variety and depth of local cuisine mixed with some international flare(spices, seasonings herbs etc). Cochon is a bit limited but maybe I am just biased towards Bayona.

                          4. I just got back from a 4-night trip and these were our restaurant standouts. We were applauded by several locals for our choices, thanks to Chowhound recommendations:

                            * Rambla (tapas--we especially loved mushroom croquettes and fried oysters en brochette)
                            * Bayona (Saturday tasting lunch for $25 per person. Duck sandwich served in puff pastry divine! Same as normal weekday sandwich but in pastry form)
                            * Parasol's (roast beef po boy)
                            * Port of Call (burgers, and the strongest drink I've ever tried--the monsoon!)
                            * Acme (a little fried and touristy but we liked all the seafood we tried)
                            * Camellia Grill (great nutty waffles and fun atmosphere)
                            * Central Grocery (muffalettas)

                            1. Day 1 - lunch at Stein's Market and Deli on Magazine St. - I had heard very good things about this deli and decided to give it a try. As much as the Philly roast pork and Philly cheesesteak sounded appealing (having spent a good chunk of my early days in Philly), I opted for the muffaletta. Now I haven't had a muffaletta in some time, but I have to say this was one of the better ones I've had. A very flavorful selection of meats and cheeses, a very flavorful olive salad, and served on a warm, toasted roll that held the ingredients together well (and no, the meats/cheese were not warmed). It was also the perfect ratio of meats to cheese to olives. Overall, really good. The black and white cookie for dessert (which I understand are shipped from NY), were a little to cake-like for my tastes, but who cares when the muffaletta was that good.

                              On another note, I'm very close to Serio's which was featured on Bobby Flay's Throwdown but which I hardly find mentioned here. Is it because their muffaletta isn't that good? Curious whether I should give it a try . . . I'm sure I'll be heading to Central Grocery at some point too.

                              Dinner - Cochon Restaurant - You start here with what appear to be dinner rolls, but the short, crisp crust of these rolls really makes them somewhat between a roll and a biscuit, and the subtle buttery flavor makes everything about these gems fantastic.

                              My starter was a crawfish pie served with what seemed to be a chipotle-tomato confit. The crawfish pie was phenomenal. Beautiful flavorful and flaky crust (leaf lard?) led to an interior of perfectly cooked crawfish in a perfectly flavored gravy. This could not have been any better.

                              My dining companion ordered the jalapeno bean cake with crawfish and liked it quite a bit. I though it was decent but nothing mindblowing.

                              We both ordered the restaurant's signature dish, the cochon with turnips, cabbage & cracklins, and it was good but flawed a bit . . . in my opinion. The pig meat was flavorful, but not as much as if it had been roasted over wood charcoal. I was hoping for a plate with some crispy pieces of different parts of the pig, but really, since the slow roasted meat (maybe only shoulder?) is so moist and is basically shaped into a hockey puck, the only crispy bits are the edges (as the result of the later pan fry). But what I really wanted were crispy bits of wood roasted pig, and then I think the dish would have been fantastic. As it was, it was pretty good and the cabbage and turnips helped the dish . . . but in my opinion, still flawed.

                              Service was a little spotty. We had both a waiter and a waitress and they didn't always know which way was up. Nobody told us about specials, but then after we had eaten our appetizers, we heard the table next to us being read nightly specials. After the food was served, they were slow to come by and ask for drink orders and refill water. Overall though, I would definitely return to Cochon. The pig was good enough and the crawfish pie was so outstanding that I believe there must be some real serious skills in the kitchen.

                              Looking forward to more food!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: BRB

                                Sorry about the spotty service. Due to staff shortages and the loss of career waiters and waitresses, the quality of service in N.O. nosedived after Katrina. Restaurants have had to recruit new waitstaff, and very often the newcomers lack experience.

                                Complaints about service are common. At some point, restaurants will need to invest some time and energy into training new employees.

                                1. re: BrooksNYC

                                  Very interesting . . . and it makes a lot of sense.

                              2. Day 2 - A mixed bag. Started with a very good meal, ended with a bad meal.

                                Brunch today was at Eat Restaurant. When we entered the restaurant, a group of three was exiting angrily and told us not to bother as we'd be waiting for hours. But within a minute we were seated, and service was very friendly and glitch free. Let me start by saying that this is a very small, quaint and relaxing spot just off Bourbon Street - quite the oasis.

                                I had the Eggs Dauphine - poached eggs, ham, fried green tomatoes, a bit of hollandaise, and a large biscuit. The ham, tomatoes and egg were stacked and were pretty good. The ham was a little lean for my liking, but still good and the flavors all worked. The real star though was the biscuit - nice crisp top, very tender and a wonderful buttermilk flavor . . . one of the better (and biggest) biscuits you will find.

                                My dining companion enjoyed the Big Breakfast, which came with Chicken fried chicken topped with country gravy, two eggs and a side of grits. The chicken could have been slightly more moist, but it was nonetheless good, crisp and nicely breaded and a decent gravy (could have been a little thicker and could have had a bit more pepper . . .but it had a nice tangy flavor). The grits were also good - thick and creamy. Overall, a nice breakfast and a very pleasant dining spot.

                                Dinner at Lilette was not good. I've read about Chef Harris and his impressive pedigree, and the menu is impressive. We went in expecting a very good meal, but execution was very poor, leading me to believe that there may be a different chef de cuisine.

                                My appetizer, raw tuna with an arugula-red vinegar vinaigrette and arugula and orange segments suffered from a slightly subpar piece of tuna and too much salt (funny thing is, there was salt and pepper on the table . . . why do they only put salt and pepper on the table at the restaurants where you don't want more salt or pepper). Otherwise, very nice flavor combination.

                                My dining companion's heirloom tomatoes with mint and white balsamic vinegar suffered from way too much vinegar. How about showing off the heirloom tomatoes?

                                Things didn't get any better with the main courses. I ordered bouillabaisse and it was a disaster. First, the broth was so salty that it was barely edible. I pictured the Top Chef judges sending the dish back. As this was a late dinner and I had to eat something, I dealt with it. And although most of the seafood in the bouillabaisse was fine, there were a couple of other big problems: 1) the mussels were not properly scrubbed and a couple were dirty and gritty . . . this shocked me a bit, and 2) there were a couple of large pieces of fish cartilage in the broth. How could the chef forget to pull these out? In any event, this dish really spoiled the meal.

                                My dining companion ordered the seared tuna which was cooked beautifully, but both of us agreed that it was way too salty, and like the tomatoes, was doused with too heavy of a hand of vinegar.

                                The problem with Lilette was definitely not the menu - many dishes sounded interesting and well thought out. But it appears that there was a very unskilled hand (or hands) in the kitchen who might not have had any idea what to do. Over-salting can sometimes be a problem, but poor preparation of seafood is symbolic of bigger problems in my opinion. Day 3 is Commander's and Upperline . . . I'm betting these 2 meals put me in a better frame of mind.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: BRB

                                  Day 3, part 1 - brunch at Commander's Palace. This was my first ever visit to Commander's and it more than lived up to my expectations (and sufficiently wiped away memories of a bad dinner at Lilette). We arrived and were told there would be a short wait. We were ushered to the bar area, through the kitchen. I moved very slowly through the kitchen, taking in what appeared to be the gears of a finely oiled machine working perfectly. Eventually we were seated in the room overlooking the garden - view nice, room average.

                                  One thing I just loved about Commander's is that feeling of old school southern charm . . .wonderful service, elegant . . . absolutely nothing left undone, people dressed to the nines . . . very charming.

                                  I started off with the trio of soups: chicken and andouille gumbo, turtle soup and the soup du jour (tomato bisque and shrimp?). All were good, but the tomato soup was my favorite. My friend's shrimp remoulade featured perfectly cooked shrimp and a very tasty remoulade with just the perfect amount of horseradish.

                                  My main course was the bbq shrimp with brie grits. This was excellent. Again, perfectly cooked shrimp, a very flavorful mix of vegetables and New Orleans-style bbq sauce and excellent grits. My friend's smoked pulled pork eggs benedict was also excellent.

                                  For dessert, the bread pudding souffle was just perfect - it might have been the best bread pudding I have ever tasted and the whiskey sauce was a wonderful complement. The upside down cake (ginger and ?) was also excellent.

                                  So the food was outstanding at Commander's, but the charm and elegance of this place really makes for just a wonderful experience. And the pacing of the meal was excellent. I was so impressed given the number of people dining at one time - the place is huge. Having now been there, I would say that a trip to Commander's is a must.

                                  During a later walk through the Garden District, I passed by Sucre and was impressed by the beauty of their offerings. I tried the passion fruit and coconut-basil sorbets and loved the flavor and textures of both - so smooth. The coconut-basil was outstanding. We also shared a few macaroons and were very impressed with the delicate textures and rich flavors.

                                  On another note, sampled some pralines yesterday - Leah's, Southern Candymakers, Evans and Loretta's. We liked all but Evan's which were just too gritty. Southern Candymakers was our favorite though because it featured the most pecans. I suppose if you like more of the candy and less of the pecan, one of the others may be preferred, but I like the ratio of pecans to candy in Southern's the most.

                                  More to come later.

                                  1. re: BRB

                                    sorry about your Lilette experience. it is one of my faves and have never been disappointed.

                                    1. re: edible complex

                                      I have to say that it was shocking how bad it was last night. But you and many, many others have raved about this place so it could be that something just went terribly wrong last night . . . it happens.

                                  2. Well, after a huge brunch at Commander's and lots of snacks along the way, we opted to change course . . . ended up at the Gumbo Shop, but only after very long waits elsewhere. My thoughts on Gumbo Shop: Meh . . .ok, and that's it. I was hoping to follow ScarlettNola's recs but long lines proved to be difficult. Instead, I ended up with a lukewarm chicken & andouille gumbo which was a little bland and a little thin for my taste, and a sauteed shrimp po' boy which was served on too soft of a roll and in a boring tomato sauce. It's really my own fault as you all provided me with much better options in the area . . . I should have planned better. But no big deal . . . there's always tomorrow (or later today as the case may be).

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: BRB

                                      The Gumbo shop is not a bad choice, but I guess maybe the holiday weekend brought in a influx of people, and the long lines that come with it. I am enjoying reading about your foodie journey through NOLA. Better luck today in your quest for the best.

                                      1. re: ScarlettNola

                                        Thank you for the compliment . . . I must say that I'm enjoying my eats but I look forward to a bit of a diet after this trip! :)

                                    2. Night 4, saving the best dinner for last - Dante's Kitchen - I'm not sure at what point I began to love Dante's Kitchen. Maybe it was the streetcar ride through the Garden District and Uptown . . .the magnificent houses that reminded me of the beautiful south I've always admired from afar.

                                      Sitting outside at Dante's on a beautiful night didn't hurt, and neither did the very friendly and efficient service. Any time I feel like I'm eating at someone's house, I'm going to be pretty happy.

                                      As for the food, maybe not the best I've had on this trip, but nonetheless some items were quite good. I'm all for locally grown ingredients and immediately loved the chalkboard at Dante's advertising all of the local ingredients - heirloom tomatoes, butter, buttermilk, andouille, potatoes, herbs, etc . . . the list goes on and on.

                                      The flavors of the amuse - heirloom tomato filled with a pea pesto - were fresh and the flavors vibrant. The molasses spoonbread, although perhaps misnamed (seemed like a cornbread to me) was hot and very tasty.

                                      I quite liked my starter of of grilled shrimp in an andouille red eye gravy atop grits. The grits were very creamy, the shrimp were served head and tail on (love it), although pre-cut for easy eating and the sauce was very good (although I would have liked a little more smokiness to come through from the andouille).

                                      My friend's heirloom tomato starter was also very good, although the heirloom tomato variety could have been better.

                                      My pork shoulder steak (cooked confit style) with peaches, potatoes, mustard and onions was good but not great. Again, I think pork shoulder deserves (and can certainly handle) a lot of flavor - how about some smoke? But it was still very good, albeit very rich. But to me, the peaches would have been a great pairing for a smoked pork shoulder.

                                      My friend's amberjack with Israeli couscous was perfectly cooked and delivered very good flavor.

                                      For dessert, the key lime pie was wonderful - great key lime flavor and a tender graham cracker crust.

                                      Service was outstanding throughout the well paced meal, and the atmosphere delivered me to the old south I so much craved tonight. All in all, a wonderful final dinner, even though the food itself was only good to very good.

                                      Hopefully, a last bite or two before I exit New Orleans. Thanks to everyone for the tips and recommendations. Outside of this post, I spent a lot of time reviewing this board in order to come up with my list of destinations.

                                      1. One last stop before heading out of town - lunch at Johnny's Po-boys. I had a biscuit which I loved . . . very tender and flaky and nice buttermilk flavor. Also had the softshell crab po' boy. I loved the light, crisp and gently seasoned crust and the remoulade served with the sandwich - very nice.

                                        I also tried a couple of more pralines from spots in the FQ - New Orleans Cooking School and Laura's Candies. Both were excellent because, like Southern Candymakers, they featured lots of pecans. In my opinion, the perfect praline requires more pecans than found in the versions I tried at Loretta's, Leah's, Sally's and Evans.

                                        Already looking forward to my next visit.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: BRB

                                          I enjoyed reading your reviews. Hurry back soon!

                                          1. re: ScarlettNola

                                            I was just back in New Orleans for a quick trip and I don't have that much new to report. I made it to Port of Call and was pleased with my cheeseburger. While I would have preferred my cheese melted, I was impressed by the lightly packed, well seasoned, medium rare patty.

                                            Having been so impressed with Dante's Kitchen on my last visit, I decided to return again. No amuse this time, but the food, atmosphere and service were just perfect. I can't tell you how much I love this place. Shrimp and grits with redeye gravy for an appetizer was excellent. Flounder stuffed with crawfish and andouille also great. Our table split the mac & cheese (perfect al dente pasta and very flavorful cheese), Barq's root beer candied sweet potatoes (delicious) and of course the complimentary molasses spoonbread. All were quite good. Housemade blueberry pie could not have been a better finish to a wonderful meal. I know there are so many great restaurants in New Orleans but everything about Dante's just seems perfect to me. I wish I could transport this place to Chicago. If you go to Dante's (and you should), it is across the street from Brigsten's and is easy to get to by the St. Charles streetcar, and what a beautiful ride through New Orleans it is.

                                            I also had a quick muffuletta from Johnny's Po Boys on my way out of town. Not as good quality meats/cheeses as either Stein's or Central Grocery, but very good nonetheless, in no small part due to the wonderful olive salad which featured plenty of fresh garlic.

                                            I also had a fine lunch at Eat (previously had brunch there) and was very, very impressed by their gumbo, but very unimpressed with the crawfish pie.

                                            Sadly, had to cancel dinner at August as work got in the way. But all in all, more good eating.

                                            -----
                                            Dante's Kitchen
                                            736 Dante Street, New Orleans, LA 70118

                                            Port of Call
                                            838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

                                            1. re: BRB

                                              I love Dante's too. It's one of my favorites. You may NOT transport it to Chicago :)

                                              That's funny about Johnny's muffuletta - I like the meats and cheese, but I think the olive salad has a strange sweetness to it, which I find unpleasant. I don't know what kind they use, or if they make it in house, but maybe I should give it another shot if you thought it was good and garlicky.