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Jul 20, 2009 09:11 AM

Tell me your Emeril's Story: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Going to be in NOLA in a few weeks with one of our all time favorite couples. They've never been and are trusting us to show them around and take them to good restaurants and have a few great drinks. No problem!

The one request they did have was dinner at Emeril's. I'm dreading it. Truly. I had a horrible experience at Emeril's NOLA (which I've recounted on this board) and it has turned me off to all things Emeril. But since I love my friends, I will not neglect them of this one request.

So, what I need is for my New Orleans loving hounders to talk me down...or not. I'd like to read about your expereinces at Emeril's....all of them....the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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  1. Not a fan of Emeril's Nola. We are however, regulars at Emeril's flagship, dining there on average 4-5 times a month since last Nov. We've sampled most of the menu. Food and service are always excellent. Favorites, app: smoked exotic musrooms on angel hair with tasso cream sauce, fried oyster prep of the day. Small/not so small plate menu changes seasonally . We usually start by ordering several app. and small/ not so small plates for the table. Back to favs, Salad: abita rootbeer bacon (pork belly) salad, entrees: andouille crusted redfish, double cut Niman ranch pork chop witlh tamarind glaze and green chile (no chocolate) mole. Dessert: banana cream pie, lemon curd tart. Blueberry bread pudding is lighter than most..

    To sum it up, the plates are well composed with complimentary flavor components. The food just tastes good . They made regulars of prevoius non Emeril fans.

    1. Also not a fan of NOLA, but Emeril's is a great restaurant with terrific service and mind-blowing (most of the time) food.

      The best gumbo I ever had was the smoked rabbit gumbo special which had a dark, almost black roux. Some poor soul was stirring that roux pot for hours.

      We were fortunate enough to dine there the first night they reopened after "It," and were delighted when Emeril himself greeted us and served us the amuse bouche. The entire meal was magical.

      Long before he was a TV star, Emeril was a top-notch chef, and we believe that his namesake restaurant represents his cooking and hospitality philosophy from that pre-celebrity era.

      Which is a long way of saying, "GO!"

      1. There are great dishes at all of Emeril's restos. Would one bad experience at Brennans stop you from going to every Brennans restaurant?

        It's a fact of life here in New Orleans that visitors will want to do something touristy. Personally, I thank god someone's PR firm is hitting the right buttons. Before I lived here I must have made my friends crazy. Every trip I dragged them to Brennans, Arnauds and Pat Os. Just be thankful they're not insisting you join them on one of those hideous carriage rides thru the quarter. (I draw the line on that one).

        Anyone being honest will tell you that Emeril is a talented chef and truly cares about New Orleans. No way would I write off his restos because of one bad experience.

        8 Replies
        1. re: chef4hire

          I'm with you on the carriage way.

          Here is the thing...I've never had a really bad meal at any Brennan's restaurant. I had a not so great experience at Dickie's Steak House, and I won't be back there.

          But what we had at NOLA defied the took bad to a whole new gave bad a whole new meaning. We were served really bad food and had even worse service. In fact, the manager treated us as if we were trying to rob the place. According to the waiter and manager there was no way the problem could be anything but us! We left the restaurant hungry, furious, and even worse...left two bottles of wine that we couldn't get anyone to pour for us. It was a doozy of an evening. So, when you have an expereince that is really that bad, it turns you off to the entire concept of anything Emeril.

          1. re: FoodChic

            I disagree re: carriage ride. We enjoy grabbing a Pimm's Cup and taking a private "shut up and drive" ride through the quarter. The drivers will detour and drop you at a desired location stopping along the way for refills. Particularly nice on non sweltering evenings.

            1. re: JazzyB

              LOL! a private "shut up and drive" ride ...classic!

              1. re: JazzyB

                we do it, but go to Vieux Carre Wine & Spirits and get bubbly and go flutes for the ride!

                1. re: JazzyB

                  can't get on board with the carriages...literally or figuratively

                  1. re: chef4hire

                    what in particular about carriage rides disagrees with you?

                    1. re: kibbles


                      just about everything, I guess. I cannot tolerate the obnoxious drivers and the 1/2 assed history lessons, the traffic jam ups, the stinky mess that is constantly in the middle of the street or the 6 seater carriages that have only 1 mule pulling them in August - it's just not for me

              2. re: chef4hire

                Remember, not all Brennan restaurants in New Orleans are operated by the same people. And each is substantially different from the others.
                Brennan's on Royal Street is operated by brothers Jimmy and Ted Brennan.
                Commander's Palace is operated by Ella Brennan's daughter Ti Martin and niece Lally Brennan.
                Palace Cafe, Dickie Brennan's Steak House and Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House are operated by Dick Brennan, his son Dickie and his daughter Lauren Brower.
                Ralph's on the Park, Bacco and Red Fish Grill are operated by Ralph Brennan.
                And Mr. B's Bistro is operated by Ralph's sister, Cindy Brennan.

              3. went to nola when it first opened.

                i sat at the bar nearest to the kitchen and was treated to all the little pieces parts the kitchen was cranking out for guests.

                i loved it! went three nights in a row and sat at the same place. on the fourth night, my boss asked me out to dinner. said he was going to take me someplace special that i never heard of. i whispered into the hostesses' ear when we got there. the boss was happy to show off his new-found restaurant.

                emeril is ok in my book.

                1 Reply
                1. re: steve h.

                  I completely agree about Emeril's focus on flavors; no one on the NO food front takes bold flavors and mixes them so well.

                  NOLA was our very 1st NO restaurant about 10 years ago and I still have a soft spot for it -- not always a perfect meal, but always good and an enjoyable visit. My best lunch ever was pre-K at Delmonico's (off the menu now -- so sad!) but the worst meal I've had in NO was at Emerils (lentils not done; salad greens old and turning bad!)

                  Just goes to show, eh?

                  When a wealthy, world traveling but chatty client wanted a recommendation of where to go for dinner on his overnight trip to NO (pre-K), I told him to go to NOLA and sit at the chef's bar. He did, and called me the next day to report what a great time he'd had -- as with my experience, not only did the chef feed him tastes and small complimentary appetiser bites, but other solo diners started trading bites of their dishes. Client went home and recommended NOLA to colleagues and his clients... everyone was happy!

                  We just went to dinner again at NOLA 2 weeks ago (1st since K) and everyone had a great time & great meal. It remains one of my first recommendations for newcomers.

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