Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >
Jul 13, 2009 10:58 PM

Question about Brigtsen's for upcoming trip (7/19-7/24)

Hello fellow foodies,

My girlfriend and I are headed down to NOLA- yes, it's the offseason, but at the rates I got for a French Quarter hotel, it was too good to pass up. My motto is, "What better way to capitalize on those savings than to reinvest it into the food?" So, that's exactly what's going to happen. I've got K-paul's, Commander's, and Tujague's on the agenda so far. Brigtsen's is the next one on the hit list, but I had a question first I'm hoping someone can help with.

I figure we'll take the St. Charles streetcar uptown to get there, but we'd also like to visit the Audobon Zoo as well. Would it make more sense to use the Streetcar to fit both of those in to one day, or to drive? If both wouldn't fit, is there anything around Brigtsen's to do (shopping or otherwise) to fill that void? Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You can take the streetcar and get off at Audubon on St. Charles and walk through the park/track to the Magazine side; then you'll cross magazine to go to the zoo. After the zoo, you could either walk back to St. Charles to get on the streetcar to drive to the riverbend, or you could walk if you're walkers and you time it so you're coming out of the zoo near closing. It will, however, be quite warm. There are a few shops in the riverbend area, but it's not the most interesting unless you want jewelry . . . or well, I don't know, you may find the small assortment of shops interesting. There are places you could stop for a drink if you have a gap to fill before dinner. But I don't think a car is necessary however you do it. The streetcar is so much more interesting. Another option (I assume this is still available) is to ride a riverboat down to the zoo.
    Whatever you do don't miss Brigtsen's. I think most NOLAhounds would agree that it's much better than Tujague's although Tujague's has its particular charms.

    8 Replies
        1. re: nomadchowwoman

          LOL, "quite warm". Our summers are brutal. It will likely be high 90s with a "real feel" of 105, humidity around 90%. Seriously. If you make it through the entire zoo, you'll want (need) to shower before dinner. . I'd skip Tujaques.

          1. re: JazzyB

            Some good advice getting put out here, I genuinely appreciate it. I've got the reservation in for Brigtsen's, and we're going to nix the zoo in favor of some more climate-friendly activities. Also, we're going to fit in a trip to Bayona's.

            As for Tujague's, I figured it might have some old school charm since the place comes off as a living museum; we're not looking for a home run there foodwise as much as an interesting experience. If the place is genuinely bad though, I'd love to hear a recommendation on something else that might fit that bill.

            1. re: rock0052

              For old school charm I would do Galatoire's. You may spend a bit more, but the experience is so much more worth it for the atmosphere and the food.

              1. re: rock0052

                Unfortunately, we have not dined at Tujaque's in too long to be of any use. However, back in the '70s, we dined there, both for the food, and for the elements that you mention. That said, with the recent reviews on CH, it does seem to have lost some of it charm.

                I'd go back, but that would be for "old home week," and nothing more. Still, we have not managed to fit them in on the last five trips. Maybe that says something.

                Also, I trust the locals on this board. They dine at places every day, that I only get to hit twice per year. They are good, and know their cuisine.

                For a traveler, I'd substitute. Just because I'd go back, does not mean that a trourist should spend an evening.



                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Smart comment---someone who has been to the restaurant will, perforce, have peculiar recollections to the novice. And, moreover, the Old Gurad..who has no been to te nreatuarnat in years..recalls another we age, we all encounter that phenomenon. (and so we clling, Bill, to our Bedrock places. )

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    I do find it tough in my position, as I am no longer a local, and have not been for several decades. Much has changed, both for the better and the worse.

                    When I last lived in NOLA, most of the chefs at the helm now, were not even in junior high school, let alone culinary school. How can I possibly relate to their works, other than dining at their tables?

                    Even with the history, I realize that places can change, and dramatically. My last visit to Antoine's was just such a case. I had the most fond memories of that restaurant. My visit was just prior to Katrina. It was at the lower level of mediocre, on all fronts, and at the best. Is ti better now? I fervently hope so, 'cause I still have good memories, and once knew what it could be. I just cannot send a new visitor there, predicated on my last visit. I need to see for myself, and then I hope that I will change my mind.

                    This history is why I try to preface my comments, so the poster will know the timeframe and can qualify my comments, should I not have dined at that restaurant recently.

                    Heck, I do the same thing, when researching a place that's new to me. I list my research, and ask if there are any newer restaurants to consider, or places that fared well five years back, that should be removed from the list.


          2. I too would skip Tujauges. Go there for a cocktail at the stand up bar instead. Brigtsens in wonderful and not to be missed. There are numerous COOLinary Specials for the summer in various restaurants. I know Bayona has 19 cent martini's and a 19.00 3 course lunch special, and Ralph's on the Park has a dinner special as well. I will search for the link and post it here. The zoo is great and relatively small, so it may be manageable in the heat. My kids just went, but they are used to the heat and kids are just so resilient! Be sure and drink lots of water and take it slowly. I would not recommend the zoo prior to dinner, unless there is a miracle and them temps drop. Try to get to the zoo early in the morning.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ScarlettNola

              I agree with you, Scarlett. The early morning is the only time I've seen the animals active--and that was in May. The heat drives them indoors, as it should do for the rest of us mammals.
              I would hate to arrive at Brightsen's after a drench in the heat!

            2. One way to have a successful meal at Tujague's is to stay in the bar side and order chicken bonne femme and a brisket appetizer. They do both these things well and it's plenty of food for two people. There are a couple tables in the bar area, so order your food at the bar and snag one of these tables. There is no bar menu per se, and they don't serve the full menu in the bar, but it doesn't matter because brisket and chicken bonne femme are by far the best things to eat there.

              3 Replies
              1. re: uptownlibrarian

                Both your comment and Scarlett's make sense to me (but I raise the point that I do not go to zoos that often so I leave that realm to those of you with children.) Tujague's is fun for drinks...and the brisket is a replica of the old creole brisket in town. Tujague's was once a survivor of The Creole Battalion---it has flirted with "touristy" in years gone by but, I admit, I've had decent brisket there...nothing like MAylie's used to be but, then, Maylie's is gone. No, I agree with these notes above...Brigtsen's is great, Tujague's is fun. {I don't know about the chicken bonne femme just becuase I cannot remember the last time I had it there--or anywhere. Chicken has become so devoid of flavor that it is hard to shell out for it at a restaurant.)

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  In truth, with the chicken bonne femme you can mostly taste garlic, with light chicken undertones. As for the rest of the menu offerings at Tujague's, I've attended events there that served regular menu dishes and thought the food was just fine, but I must admit that those meals were sprinkled with the most effective seasoning of all - an open bar.

                  1. re: uptownlibrarian

                    I like to stand at the Riveer End of the bar...but friends all love the artists palette table. Sometime back in the late 1970's they had a cook who did his homework and went to the trouble of making a brisket stock---I don;\'t know what he did with the original piece of meat that yielded all its flavor to the stock---and then poaching the next brisket in said stock. Poaching is the key but no one wants to take the time anymore..just boil the hell out of it.

                    The open bar does help...