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Emeril's NOLA or Emeril's New Orleans- Which is better?

I am coming to New Orleans possibly in about a month and would like to know which is better. As a huge Emeril fan I am bent on trying one of his restaurants and have narrowed it down to these two. I ruled out Delmonico's because it is more steakcentric and I eat at the finest steakhouses in NYC regularly so I want something different.

So since this is probably going to be a rare trip to NO for me which would you suggest? NOLA or Emeril's New Orleans? I have checked out the menus and I am really dying to try the duck from NOLA. BUT, I am also really looking forward to trying the famous banana cream pie as well and NOLA does not serve it. They serve "banana pudding layer cake" instead. Are they similar? I am kinda bummed that NOLA does not have the banana cream pie. Most of his restaurants do! (Emeril's New Orleans). Emeril's NO does not really have anything that stands out to me on their menu besides the pork chop which is another signature dish.
So anyway, here are the questions I really want the answers to

Which is better? Which dishes do you suggest? Are the banana cream pie and banana pudding layer cake similar? Do they have specials? Do they change the menu regularly?

Thanks! I know it is a lot of info I am asking to receive.

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  1. Emeril's has a better vibe and menu than NOLA in my opinion.
    if you want duck, go to Irene's...seriously.

    1. I have never been to the Emeril's New Orleans, but I have been to NOLA. NOLA is the more casual restaurant of his - it is right in the French Quarter in an old warehouse. It can get kind of loud, but I think that's part of the experience. My boyfriend had the porkchop and I had filet and we both loved our dishes. We also had the Oysters and Crabmeat Baked in the Wood Oven with Garlic Butter and Herb Bread Crumbs as an appetizer - DELICIOUS!! Sorry I can't comment on the banana desserts. I'm sure either place is worth a trip.

      1. I would chose Emeril's rather than NOLA. It is a much much better dining experience. NOLA is very loud and a bit more casual than Emeril's. If you are really desiring duck, might I recommend Brigtsen's? Hands down, one of the best duck dishes I have ever had. I tend to find all of Emeril's locations very "touristy" and believe that there are much better dining experiences to be found in New Orleans, although I have had very good meals at Emeril's but have never enjoyed dining at NOLA. I rarely eat dessert so I cannot comment on the dessert menus at either place.

        1. as a former employee of both...if you want the BC for dessert call ahead a day or two, ask for the bakery or a manager and they will make sure a banana cream pie gets to NOLA for you.....both the pie and pudding cake are great

          2 Replies
          1. re: chef4hire

            Wow thanks a lot for the "inside" info and everyone else for their opinions. Do they change the menu quite often?

            1. re: steakrules85

              the dessert menus at all three restos change seasonally but there are standards that will always remain (banana cream pie, drunken monkey ice cream, bananas foster)

              the dinner menus seem to remain full of the standards and specials rotate daily...I heard the fixed price summer menus are doing well ~

              you can always hit NOLA for lunch then Emeril's for dinner and compare for yourself

              enjoy!

          2. I'm voting for the flagship, although there's nothing wrong with NOLA. I'd have to disagree with the characterization of the Tchoup location as "touristy". it's just a big old loud busy place. I still think if you want to know what he was before he became "Emeril", it's the closest you can get.

            1. Either one will iikely satisfy. Emeril's may be, ostensibly, a little less casual but I'm sure you'd see people dressed up and dressed down at each restaurant. I think it comes down to the menus -- the quality is the same but I happen to prefer the choices at NOLA. You can look online and decide for yourself!

              1. Not a fan of NOLA but we are regulars at Emeril's . Never a bad meal. In addition to their regular menu, they have a seasonal "small/not so small plates" menu plus a few specials. The pork chop and andouille redfish (ask for extra meuniere) are killer. Bacon (pork belly) salad a must. Plates are well composed with complimentary elements. Portions are generous. Banana cream pie is intensely banana and very filling. If you are too full, get it to go and stick it in your mini fridge. The food here just tastes good. Service is great, prices reasonable. Khakis and a polo/ button down will work. .

                8 Replies
                1. re: JazzyB

                  I not af atl of NOLA either. Terrible. I cannot speak to Emeril's but I can after next week.
                  I was hestitant, but I'm actually looking forward to it now.

                  1. re: FoodChic

                    Weird.. I have read many reviews on yelp and they all rave about NOLA- even more than Emeril's. Perhaps those who have been disappointed did not order the best dishes. I am not a huge believer that this is an excuse for poor food or execution, however there are certain dishes that tend to be a chef's stronger point.

                    I think I am actually going to go with NOLA and get the duck. My father will prolly get the pork porterhouse (closest thing to the signature pork chop from Emeril's). And we will try to score the banana cream pie by requesting it a few days in advance like suggested.

                    1. re: steakrules85

                      I'm sure everyone else is an anxious as am I to hear the results...a restaurant owner friend used to love NOLA but that was years ago..he admired the way it was run but that was, I add, in the early days when Himself was standing by the door and sending things back before they hit the table.

                      IF your father is as much of a NYC steak fiend as you are, he may remember the ne plus ultra of years ago, Christ Cella (not in its later years). Time was when it was the best in the whole world....

                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        I'm sorry.. what did you mean by "he may remember the ne plus ultra of years ago, Christ Cella"?

                        1. re: steakrules85

                          He means that Christ Cella used to be the ultimate NYC steakhouse.

                          1. re: uptownlibrarian

                            Thanks for your assistance--I was off having my hair cut and am about to vanish offline again for a little while.

                      2. re: steakrules85

                        I think the N.O. Yelp reviewers are a bit of a different crowd than Chowhound. Yelp hasn't taken off in New Orleans as much as elsewhere, and I think that in general the Yelp reviews are less thoughtful than Chowhound. I said "in general," so please don't jump on me with the three examples of good Yelp reviews.

                        You're making a mistake if you go with NOLA. Emeril's is much better. But enjoy either way!

                        1. re: uptownlibrarian

                          Yep. Yelpers on NO restaurants tend more often to be out-of-towners so they often don't have as much a basis for comparison, which doesn't mean they can't judge the food of course. But most, not all, locals I know who will go to Emeril's restaurants at all prefer the flagship. I don't think it's just because we "did not order the best dishes" but because the whole experience--food, service, vibe--struck us as better. But these are just opinions; everybody's different; you may love NOLA.
                          You sound like you have strong feelings about where you want to go and you want CHs to validate those. You should go where you want to. Most of the food in NO is pretty tasty so you'll eat well. Enjoy yourself, wherever you end up.
                          And BTW, Delmonico's is not a steakhouse. And the food's pretty good.

                  2. I'd go Emeril over NOLA.

                    You might want to rethink Delmonico's. The restaurant is NOT named Delmonico's because of any concept related to the NYC steak house - the property has been called Delmonico's since the late 1890's and Chef bought it from the family in the 90's.

                    If you want to see what the food is like there, go through the Delmonico's cookbook.
                    IMO the "Delmonico's" & "Potluck" cookbooks are among his best.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: savory south

                      Thanks to everyone for your ongoing recs. Seems like the overwhelming majority is saying Emeril's over NOLA. Just wish Emeril's had that duck dish on the menu! And I wish NOLA had the banana cream pie (although I am seriously considering calling ahead to have them get one for me from ther bakery like chef4hire suggested). I saw Emeril make that duck dish on Emeril Live and I was salivating! But if I go to Emeril's the signature pork chop would be a nice substitute. Decisions..decisions.

                      1. re: steakrules85

                        You can also order your banana cream pie at the bar if you just want to stop in for dessert.. IMO, NOLA is lousy regardless of how the menu sounds. Steaks at Delmonico are not as good as you get in NY.

                        1. re: JazzyB

                          I'm really surprised at all the negativity RE NOLA. Why would Emeril neglect NOLA compared to Emeril's?

                          1. re: steakrules85

                            I think it has a lot to do with the location...trust me...the food is good...everything is house made/cured/baked and it's all top of the line ingredients

                            the real problem is that on a friday or sat they do 3 or 4 hundred covers (really)and it's tough to excecute to perfection with that kind of turnover

                            try lunch or earlier in the evening/week for the best service and attention to detail

                            I really like the stuffed wings, oyster roast and the duck...whatever you decide, please review so we get an updated review

                            enjoy!

                            1. re: steakrules85

                              I have no idea, but we had a terrible experience. I've posted on it at lenght .
                              They weren't even remotely apologetic about the disasterous food we were served.

                      2. Thought I'd pass on an update.

                        We did visit Emeril's during our visit a couple of weeks ago, and I have to admit that it is now one of my favorite New Orlean's restaurants. Our dinner was just spectacular, and the service was spot on!

                        We started with the boudin and andouille plate, and the calamari. Just delicious. The boudin was one of my favorite things of the evening...well seasoned, great texture and perfectly paired with the cajun mustard and greens on the plate. Everyone, but me, had salads of butter lettuce, mixed greens with strawberries that were beautifully prepared. I had the mushroom, crab and truffle soup....this was so creamy, rich and delicious that I could have had another bowl. I've got to figure out how to duplicate this.

                        For entrees, two of us had the veal with crab, one had the shrimp and polenta, and my husband had the beef tenderloin. With dinner we had Penner Ash pinot noir. All entrees were perfectly prepared and I don't think there was a scrap left on any of our plates.

                        While we're dining, my husband and I were recounting the tragic dinner we had a NOLA several years ago when the sommelier overheard us and asked us where this took place, and we told him NOLA. He then informed us he used to work there, so he wanted to hear more of the story. As my husband told the story we were all laughing at comical nature of the evening, our waiter comes to the table to join in. Sure enough they both worked at NOLA atthe time (2002) and they told us managment was TERRIBLE then, that there were a lot of unhappy customers at the time. We told them we'd never return, and the both noted how important it is to keep your customers happy, because these stories can catch up with a restaurant. We joked and laughed with them for a good 10 minutes. Great people added to the wonderful service!

                        Emeril's was just fantastic Thanks to everyone for alleviating my fears, as we had a great evening!