HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >

Discussion

Where would you refuse to eat in NOLA even if your brother in law was paying?

Okay folks. I am going to take Hunt's suggestion from a previous zombie thread about the bottom five restaurants in NOLA that has almost every restaurant in NOLA listed. It is time to start anew He suggested this and I think it is a great thought.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. That would be a Nor-joe's muffaletta. Worst restaurant meal was Gauteaus, wouldn't spend my money again but b-in laws, maybe.

    14 Replies
    1. re: JazzyB

      My husband loves the Nor Joe's muff. I hear people that either love it or hate it (due to cleanliness of restaurant etc) I can't remember the last time I had one-but just curious what you don't like. He always claims they are better because they are made individually and not pre-made and stacked like Central. Just wanted to get your opinion. : )

      1. re: ScarlettNola

        I had a Central Grocery muffaletta last week for lunch (not the whole thing) and it was made fresh right in front of me. Maybe the pre-made stacked thing is just on weekends, or when they're expecting a big crowd? However, I wished it had been sitting out for awhile because I think they're better when the olive oil penetrates the bread.

        Regarding the thread topic, what do you do when your visitor insists on going to a place you know will be horrible? I met an acquaintance for dinner in the Quarter. She used to live here. She insisted on going to the Alpine on Chartres, because "always used to go there and she can't make a trip without stopping in, the food is great, prices reasonable, it's mostly locals" etc...I suggested many alternatives, to no avail. I couldn't say flat-out it's an overpriced tourist trap, because I didn't want to hurt her feelings. We went, it sucked, I drank a lot of expensive Abita and had a good time apart from the abysmal food and embarrassing service. How do you politely influence people away from fourth-rate restaurants? Any tips?

        1. re: uptownlibrarian

          That is so funny that you mention the Alpine, as it is right across the street from a gallery that we frequent and my husband always likes to stop in. I have tried to like it for his sake, but not so much. The last time he and a friend wanted to go last July, I said sure! (I had just been to the gallery the day prior and they were closed for vacation) I have had this happen quite a bit and I simply plan an itinerary for the day that will completely bypass their chosen venue. (I.e. they say Alpine and I stay WAY outside of the Quarter. Either that or I rave about a fabulous meal and say that is was recommended by a staff member at Alpine for instance as a great "local hang out/restaurant", or perhaps that it is an off the beaten track restaurant that you really have to be "in" to know. A little slick, but if it works....A good hint for me to stay out of a restaurant is if there are people standing outside with menus that try to flag you in and more than likely receive a tip for influencing you inside.(I.e. Alpine, Chartres House, etc) I generally stay out of the Quarter anyway, because as there are several places I enjoy, there tend to be more tourist traps there anyway. I think a lot of people unfamiliar with NOLA venture no further than Mother's or Port of Call. As you know, there are so many great dining options that people would love if they just tried to explore our fair city. Obviously most visitors visiting this board want just that and that is awesome! Hope this helps!

          1. re: ScarlettNola

            Man, you guys are so right about the Alpine. I went there once on a recomendation from a friend, and never took his advice again! As for Mother's or Port of Call....I really don't get it.

            1. re: hungry_raven

              I really like PoC--but then, I almost always order a monsoon, so my judgement is a little crowded by the time dinner comes . . .

          2. re: uptownlibrarian

            After all else has failed, I say that I hope they enjoy their dinner at "such and such" and we will be happy to join them for after dinner drinks.

          3. re: ScarlettNola

            My one and only was premade. The bread was poor quality, tasted stale, and too thick. The sandwich flavor was so off putting (perhaps due to their funky olive salad), I spit it out. Before tossing the entire muff, 2 others tried it . Both agreed..

          4. re: JazzyB

            Didn't the chef at Gautreaus (Sue Z?? or some such) win Chef of the Year(2008) in New Orleans magazine? I know it was not a James Beard award, but cannot remember exact award ?) I have not been there but considered it after reading that fact. I may reconsider after hearing that it was the worst meal as I tend to respect your taste in restaurants.

            1. re: ScarlettNola

              She was one of Food & Wine's Top Ten New Chefs in 2008, in addition to the New Orleans Magazine award.

              1. re: uptownlibrarian

                Thank you! I could not remember what awards she won. Have you been to Gautreaus since she took over and if so, what did you think?

                1. re: ScarlettNola

                  Gautreau's in my opinion has been spectacular with Chef Zemanick at the helm. Anything with crispy skin, confit, chicken, even the fish is not to be missed. Just a charming restaurant.

                  Would gladly spend not only b-i-l's money, but mine.

                  1. re: Lyonola

                    Thank you! When you mention crispy skin and confit you can almost certainly count me in!

                    1. re: ScarlettNola

                      Have had many meals at Gautreau's--through several chefs--and they have been, almost without fail, fabulous. Only once was I mildly disappointed, and even that was nothing that would keep me from returning, but that visit pre-dated Chef Zemanick, who, imho, very much deserved the F&W award.

                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                        Y'all have convinced me to check it out. I remember reading about her and was impressed, but had heard mixed reviews prior to her coming on board.

          5. I always resort to alcohol and apps when dealing with relatives. Get a couple of things they can not mess up and focus on the drinks, it will be survivable.

            Cheers!!!

            1. Domilese's
              Andrea's

              Of course the chains and so forth go without saying right? What about tourist monstrosities like Margaritaville? Bubba Gump Shrimp Company? Even your worst pet peeves cannot compare to the criminality of such places.

              2 Replies
              1. re: bywatertim

                We've done Andrea's on several occasions. First, it was just my wife and me. Poor food, wine service and nothing to recommend it. Next two times, it was because a relative wanted to do it for a special occasion. Same drill, but it was not my call. Now, I just make excuses for why we cannot attend. Maybe it's time to give them another go, but with the number of great restaurants, that is not likely to happen, until I have a full month to indulge myself.

                Hunt

                1. re: bywatertim

                  Or that of Copeland's Social City lol? How are you coming along on the orange spray tan or have you decided on a different venue for your birthday since they no longer have the oxygen bar?

                2. Court of Two Sisters-Wonderful courtyard but my last experience there was revolting.
                  Ruth's Chris-Post K-Overpriced and not so great. The best thing I ate there was a salad. My steak was overcooked and the vegetables (including potato) were obviously frozen. nOTHING was fresh. Went to the new location adjacent to Harrahs and was extremely underwhelmed.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: ScarlettNola

                    I expected to see Court of the Two Sisters..I ain't been there since a wedding party back when Napoleon still held the keys.
                    Suprised to see tha Andrea's knock..have not been ther is ages so I cannot comment bu it was damn decent at one time...oh well, we all know about that.

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      You are too funny! They have one of the prettiest courtyards in the quarter, it is just a shame the food is not up to par. I guess it is supported by tourist industry. On a separate note-I made daube glacee today and it was prettty damn good!(Not as good as my mama's but good nonetheless)

                      1. re: ScarlettNola

                        I love their courtyard. My father has only ever been here as a tourist, and he likes to take me to Court of Two Sisters. He goes every time he comes here. He likes it so much, I don't want to hurt his feelings by telling him I'd rather try somewhere else. And the food I've had there has always been decent, and the waiters quite knowledgeable [one saved me from kicking off my meal by starting with a Sazerac].

                        1. re: midcity

                          Sounds like good reasons for me to give them another try. I do like the history, and the venue. Things do change, and I need to keep an open mind. With so many years, since the last trip, it could be wonderful. Hey, Brennan's wow'ed me, and I never thought that I'd type that. Still, there were probably 30 years between poor visits, and the more recent ones. More "crow" for me to eat.

                          Hunt

                        2. re: ScarlettNola

                          There is no denying that is is one of the prettiest places. I wonder sometimes if the knock on it prevents us all from recognizing if they ever changed the quality? If we took a World Famous everyoner-loves-him chef and put him in there, could he overcome the generations of bad press? Archie Casberian was able to revive Arnaud's but there is still (for me) that lingering thought about How Bad It Was in the days of Germaine.

                          Glad to hear you made daube glace. Did you make your own gelatin? I find that I need some help from time to time to get it to set hard enough. I made a tomato aspic last summer and had to "re-cast" it twice before I got it to set right..my own fault, of course, but I was rusty.

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            I did not attempt that this time. I was lucky just to get it right without any additional trauma on my part. It turned out well. I did consult 3 people while making, so I hope I did it right. Next time I will make my own gelatin.

                        3. re: hazelhurst

                          Our only visit to Andreas was a few months ago. We don't intend to return....unless b- in law pays.

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            Maybe we always hit Andrea's on their "bad nights." To date, no reason to give them another go.

                            As for Court of Two Sisters, we looked at them on a previous trip. Fond memories, from decades ago. Still, they did not fit the bill for that meal, so we opted for elsewhere. As it has been many decades, I'd definitely go back, just to see. Maybe next trip?

                            Hunt

                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              I have to agree about Andrea's. They keep their red wine chilled "because of Katrina". However, they did have the BEST cheesecake I've ever had in my life.

                              1. re: Annasta

                                Do not ever recall a cheesecake. Maybe I would have to rethink my comments, based on that one dish.

                                Going back decades, there was a cute little bakery on S. Carrolton, just down from Oak St. I think that the owners/bakers were Alsatian, but they might have been Swiss. Anyway, their's was the cheesecake, by which all others shall be forever judged.

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  I have a friend fro New York who is a helluva good baker (descended from German bakers) and he said that the closest thing to "true" New York cheesecake he has seen (no graham cracker crust) is---gasp--Outback. I am just reporting.

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    La Bonbonniere, perhaps? If so, the proprietors retired & occasionally sell baked goods at the Covington farmers' market.

                                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                      HC,

                                      As always, you come though. Yes. We drove up S. Carrolton, and wife and I both (she grew up in that neighborhood!) struggled with the name.

                                      Now, were they Alsacian, or Swiss (or other)?

                                      Thank you,

                                      Hunt

                          2. Wow, that's a tough one: absolutely refuse, even with cocktails included? Hmm...I've had a few bad ones: that chain brewery next to the Casino whose name I've obviously blocked for the emotional scarring the pizza they served left me with, though I think even there I would suffer through with a cold one. As a vegetarian, you learn to be a little more flexible and a little less exacting; i can't tell you how often anything more than a lemon wedge and parsley sprig provokes a bit of gratitude. The GB grill has been pretty atrocious, and they offer a veggie burger. I've found most of the Brennan's uniformally underwhelming to downright disappointing and actively try to avoid them, but I would certainly be dragged along. I guess I'm fairly easy, as I've had to be. I do think I'ld put up the biggest fight against a Copeland's, or the Piccadilly Cafeteria (ooh, I just gave myself a shudder!)

                            1. ScarlettNola,

                              You blind-sided me, while I was down (over?) in NOLA, and could not defend myself! Still, good work, and I am now on-board.

                              To play along, I have a few comments, and one MUST understand that these are based on totally personal biases:

                              1.) Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse - even when a fav. nephew was a sous-chef there, I refused to dine there again. Luckily, my B-I-L did not invite me, and offer to pay.
                              2.) Morton's - every trip to one of these has been as a guest. Still, I'd beg my host to choose someplace else. I can get "adult McDonalds" in any number of cities around the globe, and if in NOLA, would be even more forceful. Same for Ruth's, though I do find these to be better in general. Still, I do not need any "sameness" in my restaurant choices. I do not appreciate these, and usually find better in chef-driven versions of these themes.
                              3.) Drago's at the Hilton - given the totally horribly inadequate meal, at all levels, I cannot imagine that anything would impress me. Over my lifetime, I have had to "eat crow," with several restaurants, but cannot see it happening here*. Just had the opportunity to try them again, and flat refused. All in my party felt the same way, as they were in the previous group and all said "NO!" in a heartbeat.

                              I'll watch this thread closely. Thanks for taking up the gauntlet.

                              Hunt

                              * See fairly recent Windsor Court posts on The Grill Room/New Orleans Grill and also Brennan's on Royal St. Times change, and so do restaurants. What was to be avoided in the past, might now make a good choice. It happens, and I am always ready to point out a place that once did me wrong.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                I have to agree with Hunt on his choice of Dickie Brennan's.. I went there with some hotel folks on one of my wife's business trips. The whole thing was paid for, good wine etc. I was just not that impressed with anything there. Service was iffy (I'll chalk that up to being not long after they reopened post K, but the steak was awful.

                                1. re: roro1831

                                  Ditto on Dickie's. The first time I went there was in 2000 or 2001. Went with a large group of friends - had amazing service and a wonderful meal. My DH and I following up from our previosu experience, went back alone a couple of years later. We had terrible serivce from a waiter that was clearly annoyed with a table for two, and found it an inconvience to refill our martini's. Then the evening was topped off with a sub par meal.

                                  Will never return.

                                2. re: Bill Hunt

                                  You make an excellent point about "sameness" in restaurants, the "adult McDonald's" notion. For roadside beaneries, consistency is not a bad thing--you know the burger at the Tampa Vivisection Stand is the same as the brand in, say, Spokane....equally forgettable (or memorable in horror). But places like Mortons and Ruth's Chris have tried to be The Same everywhere and this is flat annoying. TJ Moran, who taugh Ruth how to franchise, still has Louisiana items on his Baton Rouge menu, to the dismay of other Ruth's Chris ownwers elsewhere...the other guys want everything Exactly The Same. I had dinner in a Ruth's Chris in Tennessee a few years ago--what town was that?---only becuase I couldn't find anything else on short notice. It was lackluster...a chicken fried steak would have been better. I swear that I could have been in Anytown USA..nothing stood out. It was, in fact, downright depressing. I end before dissolving in despair....

                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                    That's interesting. I'm told the Ruth's Chris here in Mobile has a slightly off-standard menu as well.

                                    1. re: jamy

                                      I'll have to come over and look and look on one of my very rare rides along the Gulf Coast. I wonder who owns the one there? You can see the problem from the far-off owner' s point of view..he doesn;t want someone from New Orleans complaining that there is no turtle soup in his shop in, let's say Chicago or Portland,OR. It could be so easy to feature something special to one's own region--clams or what-have-you, but the March In Lockstep toward uniform sameness that Bill mentioned is the Order of teh Day, I fear...then again, I have not visited all the Ruth's Chris empire but have talked to quite a few involved in the operation thereof.

                                      1. re: hazelhurst

                                        local shipping magnates the Cooper family (Cuhper, not COOper, you arriviste) rescued the Ruth's Chris here when it was on the verge of closing. It functions almost more like a city club than a restaurant.

                                3. Oh, this one is easy for me: Impastato's in Fat City. For all that is delicious and (near) holy about Italian food, skip it, please.

                                  1. I was there in January and met my boss for a lunch and a dinner, She picked Court of Two Sister for one meal and Crescenty City Brewhouse for the other.
                                    I couldn't believe how sub par the food was. So many places to pick from an she picked these places, I ate dranks and grazed and hit other places later for a good meal.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Cinnabon

                                      Ahhh--your reply has introduced a good follow-up question: What restaurants do you sneak off to for a real meal after picking at and pretending to enjoy a meal at the bad place?

                                      1. re: midcity

                                        We snuck off to Stellas, Irenes and Cafe Amelie. All three of those meals were wonderful. I recall enjoying the pairings at Stella, the fish at Cafe Amelie and everything at Irenes.

                                    2. This should probably go without saying, but definitely Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro. Worst meal, but more importantly, absolutely worst dining experience I have ever had. Ever. We had a large group that some unhinged person decided should go here and pay $35/plate and for a group of roughly 38, they gave us 2 servers. My salad came AFTER my entree and the cheesecake was disgusting.

                                      I also agree with the post on GB's. Some friends love it, but I have never had a burger there that was not overdone and I have eaten there several times. I suppose if my b-i-l were paying, I would go back to Emeril's Delmonico, but that is the only way. The only good thing about our entire visit was the charcuterie platter. Luke's food was ok, but I hated the atmosphere. Our host called it "really definitive of New Orleans". I bit my tongue, as I could not disagree more.

                                      1. Gato Negro across from the French Market. Long wait, atrocious food, overpriced.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: flojindamesa

                                          Anything from a national food chain while in new orleans. Thats the beautiful thing about new orleans food chains dont dominate there.

                                        2. My answer is always Pere Antoine's. I've even stopped outside when I see people perusing the menu and steered them away from eating there. An atrocious restaurant. They should be ashamed of themselves. I can easily steer them to a number of other, similarly priced places that are solid, like Gumbo Shop.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: kukubura

                                            Agreed. I had one of the worst meals OF MY LIFE there. I physically shudder when I pass it. Good for you for warning people away. It looks so innocuous.

                                              1. re: louisiana

                                                It's on Royal somewhere. Citysearch says 741 Royal St , at the corner of St Ann. Avoid at all cost.

                                                Since it's not a terribly expensive restaurant (although far too expensive for the dreck you get) I'll amend my original comment to include the real Antoine's (which I'm glad I went to once for the history but would never waste my time in again) and Galatoire's for dinner specifically because apparently they allow the privileged adult children of local royalty to run wild like insane maniacs regardless of how it ruins the experiences of other diners. I would actually try lunch there once but my dinner experience there was an absolute nightmare and I'd never put myself through that again, not even for free.

                                                1. re: kukubura

                                                  I would agree with the assessment of Antoine's; I too am glad that I went for historical curiousity (All is Vanity, Oyster's Rockefeller), but don't plan to return.

                                                  1. re: kukubura

                                                    Wow, I am fortunate to not dine at Galatorie's, when you have.

                                                    Sometimes, it's all in the timing.

                                                    Hunt

                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      Don't worry about it Bill--I've seen awful days in there, as I have seen them everywhere I've gone to over and over. But dinner is no frat party..Friday lunch might be. But, again, as we have noted, the place ebbs and flows. I have an analogy but won;t give it away here. Maybe I'll publish it.

                                                        1. re: hazelhurst

                                                          Two threads have expressed shock at my Galatoire's experience. Here's what happened: It was a little over a year ago and I believe it was a Friday. We were very excited to go and got all dressed up for it. However, there was a table full of overgrown fratboys who were clearly local VIP-types. They were EXTREMELY drunk. I mean, yelling, walking around the restaurant, sitting at strangers' tables harassing them. As the night wore on they were actually vomitting and urinating IN THE DINING ROOM. Our waitress wasn't great but all the noise and chaos was distracting her to the point that while opening our bottle of wine she somehow caused its contents to explode all over her uniform and the tablecloth and a little on my jacket and pants.

                                                          My problem isn't that people got out of hand: Some people in general will do as much as they can get away with. My problem is with the management. This wasn't some situation where you needed to point it out (Even though I tried). Everyone knew what was happening. It was like bombs were going off in the room and no one in charge thought to try to evacuate. I realize that this might have been a once in a blue moon experience but my hard-earned money can't be gambled on the possibility that someone will act like that again when I'm there when I know no one will do anything about it. Frankly, the food (like at Antoine's) wasn't so good that I'd overlook something like that.

                                                          Later that night at the Carousel bar we ran into a family that we had exchanged disgusted glances with during the Galatoire's disaster. We debriefed each other about how bad it was. And we ran into a local who we recognized from that dinner as well working the Louisiana Seafood Festival a couple days later too. She was also disgusted. So it wasn't just us.

                                                          To make matters worse, we left our umbrella there in all the madness and went back the next day during lunch to see if they had it. It was so lovely and civilized during lunch that I almost wanted to scream for our lost dinner experience. If we would have had that experience this time (after some other "putting my foot down" experiences have given me a little more gumption) I would have either left or refused to pay anything, that's how bad it was.

                                                            1. re: kukubura

                                                              That DOES sound horrible. Just because similar has never been my experience, over the decades, does not temper your experience, nor does it invalidate it.

                                                              I guess that in the old days, when we lived there, we, as well as later days, when we traveled there, we were just more fortunate.

                                                              Thanks for sharing, however unfortunate the experience,

                                                              Hunt