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1st Anniversary Dinner

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gastrotect Jun 17, 2009 02:24 PM

Friday of next week will be the first anniversary for my girlfriend and me. I do not have a lot of money to spend, but for obvious reasons I'm willing to go beyond my normal dining-out budget. I am looking at spending about $100 or so before tax and tip (but with a bottle of wine) for the two of us. Some places I have in mind:
-Patois
-Martinique
-Herbsaint
-MiLa
-Bayona
-Bistro Daisy
-August

The cuisine itself is not important as we both love just about anything. I was just hoping for some feedback on how any of these restaurants fall in terms of my budget. Or if there are any others I should definitely consider.

PS I know this may seem a bit late for an anniversary plan, but I just got done with a big licensing exam and I figured some fellow 'Hounds could help me out.

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    ScarlettNola RE: gastrotect Jun 17, 2009 03:02 PM

    Congrats on passing your exam as well as your 1 year anniversary! You have quite a few options that will fall in your budget if you play it right. For special occasions, when my husband and I first started dating, we would always have a bottle of wine/champagne at either my (parents at the time) or his house prior to dinner. That saves a tremendous amount of money. Some budget friendly options are:

    Rambla (Tapas)
    Bayona (They have a special for an early bird dinner and 19 cent Martinis, but it may be M-TH)
    Bistro Daisy
    Mortons(has a 99.00 special for 2, but this would be without wine)
    Bacco(Has a Cia Down @Sundown with 3 courses for 28.00 June 1-August 31 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.)
    Ralphs on the Park(3 appetizers and a glass of wine for 28.00 ALL NIGHT EVERy night, plus a very romantic atmosphere)
    Red Fish Grill (3 Course for 25.00 June-August, but must request Grilling and Chilling menu when making a reservation or when seated)
    Muriels(They have a 4 course blue Crab menu in June for 42.00 per person. It includes a lump crabmeat salad, a crabmeat and wild mushroom ragout, flash fried softshell crab, and a Mississippi Blueberry tart. This sounds wonderful!)

    Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ScarlettNola
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      gastrotect RE: ScarlettNola Jun 18, 2009 07:26 AM

      Great suggestions! Thanks.

    2. m
      malltmont RE: gastrotect Jun 17, 2009 03:21 PM

      Can't argue with your above options. Will add two more

      Upperline - taste of new orleans option is amazing
      Luke - has good specials and very affordable in comparison to other downtown joints.

      As for your above list, a lot of them are pricier (though I really don't know Daisy or Patois).

      1. edible complex RE: gastrotect Jun 17, 2009 05:26 PM

        you could go to Sara's and reserve the "living room". it is a private room where you sit on the floor and can take your shoes off. the table is low to the ground, so you kick back on big pillows. the menu and food are amazing and priced right. event the wine list is varied and affordable. Sara's is in the Riverbend.

        4 Replies
        1. re: edible complex
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          ScarlettNola RE: edible complex Jun 17, 2009 10:44 PM

          Great suggestion for incredible food!

          1. re: edible complex
            nikinik RE: edible complex Jun 18, 2009 06:16 AM

            My hubby and I are having a date night Sunday night and are thinking of heading to Sara's. We both love indian food and this place sounds like it's right up our alley. Would you call it romantic at all? Do you know if it's open on Sundays?

            1. re: nikinik
              uptownlibrarian RE: nikinik Jun 18, 2009 07:09 AM

              It's definitely romantic, but I don't know if it's open Sunday. Call 861-0565 to find out.

            2. re: edible complex
              g
              gastrotect RE: edible complex Jun 18, 2009 07:23 AM

              Haha. Sara's was one of our early dinner dates actually. We both loved it.

            3. f
              flojindamesa RE: gastrotect Jun 18, 2009 08:25 AM

              Baru is moderately priced and BYOB, which always makes dinner cheaper. See my blog for a review: http://eatdrinknola.blogspot.com.

              I haven't been to EAT yet but it's also BYOB and I've heard it's great, but based on the menu I saw online, it might be a bit to casual.

              Of the restaurants you listed, I believe they're all more or less in the same price bracket except August, which I believe is a bit more expensive.

              Happy anniversary!

              1 Reply
              1. re: flojindamesa
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                gastrotect RE: flojindamesa Jun 18, 2009 10:18 AM

                EAT is a little more casual than I wanted to go, though to be honest, I hadn't ruled it out for breakfast. It really is a great spot for a lazy weekend morning, I love it. Baru is one I'd forgotten about. Hm...

              2. nomadchowwoman RE: gastrotect Jun 18, 2009 09:35 AM

                With the possible exception of MILA and August and Bayona, you could probably come in at $100 pre-tax & tip with a modestly-priced bottle of wine at the places you mentioned. I'm assuming you don't want to early-bird on a romantic evening, so ScarlettNola's suggestion of Ralph's on the Park is an excellent one. We've done this several times, with additional glasses of wine and still come in under $100. And even the hubby finds the three apps extremely filling--and very tasty.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nomadchowwoman
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                  gastrotect RE: nomadchowwoman Jun 18, 2009 10:17 AM

                  Thanks. I have moved Ralph's up my list for the romance factor and the recommendations. Thanks again, that's just the kind of info I knew I'd get here.

                2. g
                  gastrotect RE: gastrotect Jun 18, 2009 12:40 PM

                  Another possibility I'd like some feedback on: Coquette.
                  I've heard good things about the food. Does it have a cozy and/or romantic atmosphere? We are staying a night in a B&B and Coquette is very close, so it would mean not having to worry about transportation for the evening (not that it is a big deal, I'm just curious).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: gastrotect
                    edible complex RE: gastrotect Jun 18, 2009 12:41 PM

                    search the archives, as someone posted about it when it opened.

                    1. re: gastrotect
                      uptownlibrarian RE: gastrotect Jun 19, 2009 07:23 AM

                      I don't know that I'd describe it as cozy, but it is romantic in that the lighting is low and the music is atmospheric. Also, the prices are good. I think Coquette would be a great choice especially if it's close to your lodgings. Write up in today's T-P:

                      http://www.nola.com/dining/index.ssf/...

                    2. kukubura RE: gastrotect Jun 19, 2009 07:30 AM

                      We just had our first anniversary in NOLA this past week and I have a couple of suggestions:

                      Have you thought about doing lunch instead? We went to Commander's for lunch and were treated like royalty, had drinks at the bar and a huge, amazing meal, for a total of about $70. All told I think we were there for three hours, were given complimentary drinks, "Happy anniversary" written on our bread pudding plate in chocolate, etc etc etc... It was a very memorable experience.

                      We planned to have our anniversary dinner at Muriel's (It was a big eating day) but (and this is no knock on the food) we found that the atmosphere was 100% wrong for us that night. Way more casual than you'd think from the outside and from the website. Very noisy, overly bright and filled with badly dressed tourists. We ended up leaving and going to the Pelican Club which was more our mood for the night. It was a little out of your price range, but not by much, and was a very, very nice experience.

                      1. kukubura RE: gastrotect Jul 2, 2009 05:58 AM

                        Well, what happened?

                        1. g
                          gastrotect RE: gastrotect Jul 2, 2009 08:06 AM

                          Sorry for the late follow-up. I ended up deciding on Muriel's. Through some sly discussion skills it became apparent that she was a bit bummed at missing out on a FQ trip this time since she was only going to be in town for a night and morning. I figured while it wasn't the most romantic spot on my list, her love of eating out in the Quarter would make up for it. And I was right. She loved eating a nice meal on Jackson Square. And I must say the meal was fabulous. I could nitpick a couple things, but really, everything was really good and the staff was great. We even got some free champagne out of the evening. We had the BBQ oyster and alligator for apps, turtle soup (both of us), and then she had the pan roasted chicken while I had the duck breast. We had a side of mashed potatoes we both loved, but definitely did not need. No dessert as I made flourless chocolate cake (topped with raspberries) that I stashed along with some pink champagne back at the B&B.
                          My favorite moment probably came when I ordered the turtle soup and she kind of gave me a funny look. She was intrigued, but clearly didn't think it would be good. I gave her a taste and without hesitation she ordered a bowl for herself. She says it's the best meal she's ever had (which makes sense as the best meal you have in New Orleans would probably automatically be the best anywhere) and wants it to be our anniversary place going forward. So all-in-all I didn't do too bad. Thanks everyone for the recs. I know there are better restaurants and meals to be had, but it really seemed to work out perfectly anyway.

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: gastrotect
                            kukubura RE: gastrotect Jul 2, 2009 08:16 AM

                            I'm really glad you had a great time but I can't say that I'm not a little bit surprised that you chose a place that almost no one recommended and that one person (me!) warned against. But I'm glad to hear the food is good, since I didn't get to eat it. I do want to check it out some time.

                            1. re: kukubura
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                              gastrotect RE: kukubura Jul 2, 2009 12:51 PM

                              I know right? Basically I hadn't thought of it, but the couple mentions it got made me think about it. I was basically aiming for Ralph's, but I realized the fact that she adores the FQ might be more important than a particularly romantic atmosphere. And it turns out I was right. I'd call it a gamble, but I was pretty confident in my choice. I would even say your criticism's of Muriel's weren't unfounded. We were by the far the best dressed there and it was a tad noisy. But none of that really mattered after all, so it was ok.

                              1. re: gastrotect
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                                ScarlettNola RE: gastrotect Jul 2, 2009 04:23 PM

                                Sounds like y'all had a great time. Flourless chocolate cake and champagne? Very impressive. I am glad you enjoyed Muriel's. Did you dine indoors or out on the balcony?

                                1. re: ScarlettNola
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                                  gastrotect RE: ScarlettNola Jul 6, 2009 11:43 AM

                                  We sat inside. I would have preferred outside, but she still isn't used to the heat down here, so I sacrificed a bit of ambiance for AC.

                                2. re: gastrotect
                                  kukubura RE: gastrotect Jul 3, 2009 06:07 AM

                                  Well, like I said, I'm glad you had a good time! :)

                              2. re: gastrotect
                                nikinik RE: gastrotect Jul 2, 2009 08:35 AM

                                I've been to Muriel's and I loved it. Glad you enjoyed your special night.

                                1. re: gastrotect
                                  nomadchowwoman RE: gastrotect Jul 2, 2009 03:55 PM

                                  You had a flourless chocolate cake, with raspberries and champagne, back at the B & B?
                                  I daresay you could have gotten away with Lucky Dogs on a bench in Jackson Square if that was the follow up.
                                  Good job.

                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman
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                                    gastrotect RE: nomadchowwoman Jul 6, 2009 11:48 AM

                                    Haha. I suppose I could have gone that route, true. We had a flourless chocolate cake at Sara's in November and she loved it. After that weekend I found a recipe that looked good to me and stored it away for a good occasion. This seemed a good occasion.
                                    I must admit, as decadent a cake as it is, it really isn't all that terrible to prepare. Provided you have a springform pan that is.

                                  2. re: gastrotect
                                    edible complex RE: gastrotect Jul 3, 2009 06:19 AM

                                    Muriel's has never disappointed me. I had many lunches, dinners and private functions there, and all were good. good choice!

                                    1. re: gastrotect
                                      iluvtennis RE: gastrotect Jul 7, 2009 05:50 AM

                                      I just got back from New Orleans. We ate at Muriel's for our second wedding anniversary, and it was great. My husband had fresh flowers delivered to the table, and when the staff found out it was our anniversary, they gave us two complementary glasses of champagne. We chose the 3 course menu. For the 1st course, my husband had gumbo and i had a pureed artichoke soup that was delicious! For our second course, my husband got the free range chicken that came with some seasonal vegetables, which he said he liked. I had double-cut pork chops with greens and mashed sweet potatoes, all very good. Finally, we finished with bread pudding with candied pecans and rum sauce. Not the best bread pudding i've ever tried, but it was really good. I'm not the most seasoned diner, but i really did enjoy this place. The setting is romantic, but i agree with another poster in that there are definitely more romantic places you could choose in new orleans. If you like cocktails, i do recommend you try the key lime drink and chocolate covered cherry drink.

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