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In town for business conference...looking for recs

Hi! I'm a Boston 'hound, and I'll be in New Orleans for six nights for a business conference, and I'm looking for recommendations. I'm really excited, as I haven't been to New Orleans as an adult with disposable income, and I'm looking forward to some very good food and drink.

I''ll be staying at the Wyndham by the Convention Center, and I won't have a car. So, I'm looking for things that I can get to on foot or by mass transit.

First, the specific things that I'm looking for:

1) I need a recommendation for dinner on a Friday night for six. It's a work dinner, so I'm looking for something nice, but not too formal. Something with a fun atmosphere where we can get some great drinks and enjoy a relaxed meal. Preferrably keeping entrees under $30.

2) Great bars to go out in the evening to get some great cocktails. I've heard that New Orleans has some great craft cocktail bars, but I don't know any by name. I would obviously like to have a great Sazerac while I'm in town, but generally looking for places that really take the care and effort with ingredients and mixing, etc. Always looking for places with good bartenders to chat with.

3) Some relatively quick lunch options around the convention center area. I'm expecting that I'll be pretty busy at the conference during the days, but I'd love to get some suggestions for places to duck out and grab some damn good food...Possibly one or two places where I might have a good sit down meal if I want to meet with a client, etc.

More generally, I love things that are spicy and complex in construction and flavor (hence, my excitement about coming to New Orleans). I definitely want to get my fill of seafood - esp. shrimp and oysters.

Anyway, I hope this isn't asking for too much, but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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  1. 1. You might consider Cochon for your group dinner. Casual, priced right, and delivering great rural South Louisiana food, stuff you won't see in Boston. Or, you could also do this for lunch. Another dinner option that way would by Donald Link's other restaurant, Herbsaint.

    2. For cocktails, make sure you get to both Iris on Decatur and the Sazerac in the Roosevelt Hotel.

    Good luck on your visit!

    1. I will take care of the drinking part of your request here goes:
      1) Arnauds French 75 Bar at 813 Bienville street. Ask for Chris Hannah this guy is a bartenders bartender a bonafide superstar.
      2) Bar Uncommon 817 common street in the Pere Marquette hotel chris McMillan is the man here another great bartender.
      3)Carousel Bar 214 royal street in the Montelone hotel dont miss this one a favorite of Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner and try a vieux carre while there and ask for Marvin if hes there.
      4) Tujagues 823 Decatur stand up bar only with a 250 year old mirror imported from france a very cool bar.
      5) Pirates Alley Cafe 622 pirates alley right next to st. louis cathedral in jackson square this is the place to try absinthe banned in 1912 now back in 2007 legal again.
      6) Napoleon House 500 Chartres street ancient this place oozes charactor and while there try a Pimms Cup.
      7)Lafiites Blacksmith Shop 941 Bourbon street. the oldest bar in america it was the pirate Jean Lafittes booty house for his plunder anyway the building is just like it was in the 1700s pretty much lit only by candlelight a great place.
      8) Cure 4905 Freret st. the place is great some of the great mixologists in all of new orleans I recommend Rhiannon Enlil.

      1. Herbsaint is a perfect place for business. It's quiet, not overly formal and has wonderful food. I would not recommend Cochon for business dinners. While it has good food, it is loud (concrete floors) and isn't a suitable enviornment for trying to gain business. It's a great place otherwise.

        For drinks the Saczerac is wonderful, if you can get a seat....don't count on it on
        Fridays. Try the Swizzle Stick bar at Cafe Adelaide in the Lowes Hotel, the Carousel Bar in the Monteleone, the Bombay Club or Hermes Bar at Antoine's. All are beautiful upscale bars.

        1. The most convenient bar for your location would be the Swizzle Stick in the Loews Hotel. They do high end cocktails. Cafe Adelaide, at the Loews as well, has good food also. I like Herbsaint better though. For a quick lunch from the convention center, you want the Butcher, which is part Cochon, very close, great sandwiches, house cured meats, and look at the quick bites menu for other interesting things, like the tongue taco.

          1. Thanks for all the recommendations! To hesaid_nola and FoodChic, I've looked at both Cochon and Herbsaint. Both menus look wonderful. I need to check with my group and see if they have any preferences between the two, but I think either of these will work out well.

            Thanks to CharlieH for the recommendation for the Butcher for lunch. I suspect I'll be grabbing several of my lunches here :)...

            And thanks a lot to joedontexan for the great rundown of the bars. This is exactly the type of list and detail I was looking for, including the inside scoop on the bartenders to look for....I'll definitely be trying to hit as many of these locations as possible. After I posted my e-mail I started doing a bit of online research, and I had run across Cure which looks really great. And I have to get to the Carousel bar - a fav of Tennessee Williams and Faulkner as well as a good Vieux Carre - how can you go wrong :)...

            I've been also reading through some of the posts on the board, and I have a few more questions if I could impose a bit more....

            1) Great raw bars...I was noticing how cheap oysters are compared to the Northeast. We typically pay >$2 per oyster, so I'm looking to get my fill of oysters while I'm down there. Any suggestions?

            2) I meant to ask this in my earlier post, but where should I go for great Gumbo Ya Ya and also some great Jambalaya? Is Mr B's the place to go or are there other places to consider?

            3) Looking through some of the threads on the board, I've found a few places that look pretty interesting to me:

            K-Paul's
            Coop's Place
            Casamento's
            Green Goddess
            GW Fins

            I know this runs a range of difference prices (and I assume atmosphere, etc). However, I was wondering whether anyone has any opinions/comments on these places. Are there better alternatives, specific dishes to get, things to avoid, etc.

            I'm getting very excited about the trip, and I'm realizing that I'm probably going to have to plan a separate trip with my wife for pure leisure.

            Anyway, thanks for all the help. I really appreciated it!

            5 Replies
            1. re: cseshag

              Raw Bars: Desire Oyster at Royal Sonesta, Felix, Acme, Bourbon House, Luke, Grand Isle, Casamento's, Pascal's Manale, Drago's, Cooter Brown's

              Gumbo Ya Ya and BBQ shrimp at Mr. B's are both worth the visit.

              Jambalaya at Coop's is your best bet.

              Close to your hotel you also have RioMar and La Boca, and Restaurant August and Cuvee are also nearby. August is doing a 3 course lunch for $20.09 which is stellar.

              Other places to consider: Galatoire's, Irene's, Clancy's, Brigtsen's, Vizard's, Patois, Martinique Bistro (great courtyard).
              Cheers!

              1. re: edible complex

                I'd check K-Paul's for jambalaya. IMHO, Coop's jambalaya is a sloppy wet mess.

                1. re: JazzyB

                  (doh...zombie thread)

                  wish i could delete this post.

              2. re: cseshag

                Looks like you are drawn to the old school New Orelans flavors, which is great. K-PAul started the whole cajun craze. The food is good, its just that it hasn't changed in a twenty-five years. Coops is just down home food, nothing special, but if you dying for jambalaya, I imangine its as good as any. Green Godess is excellent adventurous cooking, nothing really fancy, but quite interesting, its quite a small establishment, but if the weather is nice they have outside seating.

                Casamento's is a treasure. Definitely go. GW Fins has exceptional food and is often overlooked becuase it is not especially "New Orleans." Its not especially fancy either. Bourbon House has excellent oysters and is more upscale than Acme. It sounds like you might enjoy Galatoire's. Stop in for a few drinks and get the Goute appetizer sampler, if you don't have time for a whole meal.

                1. re: CharlieH

                  Also, near the convention center is Grand Isle, which has raw oysters and other seafood dishes. And there is Drago's in the Hilton which is known for their charbroiled oysters.

              3. Just throwing in my two cents: do try to get to August, either for one dinner or the bargain-priced lunch special.
                As many other posters have noted, good raw seafood abounds. The char-broiled oysters at Drago are fabulous, so try to get there at least once for those--would make a good lunch.
                Agree w/CharlieH: Cochon Butcher is a fantastic sandwich spot and very chic "lunch counter."
                I also love Herbsaint and Cochon.
                Get to the Sazerac for a drink. We were there recently on both a Monday and a Wednesday. On Monday, no patrons whatsoever--at 8 p.m. The Wed. visit, less than half full. Have been on a Friday, like Food Chic, and yes, it was mobbed. (Note: the official Grand Opening of the Roosevelt Hotel is somewhere around the 23rd so the Sazerac will definitely be mobbed that weekend.) Carousel Bar is also a great choice, and do take Joedontexan's rec and go to Lafitte's--a totally different vibe, no "mixologists" of the Cure or Clever caliber, but a wonderfully funky New Orleans experience that should not be missed.
                Gumbo Ya Ya means Mr. B's. But Herbsaint also always has a fabulous gumbo.
                There are also several good places uptown: take a cab or streetcar and go at least once. The other posters have noted Clancy's, Patois, etc. I'd add Coquette to the list (ask to sit downstairs): I just had another wonderful meal and fabulous cocktail there; it's a beautiful little restaurant. Or farther down Magazine is Bistro Daisy. Also fabulous.

                You are lucky to have so much time and money to spend; you ought to be able to get a real sense--and taste--of our fair city.

                1. Since you're looking for something close to the Convention Center, Drago's in the Hilton lobby should be on your list.
                  I'm a huge K-Paul's fan as well as Mr. B's.

                  1. August for sure. Bayona too

                    -----
                    Bayona
                    430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Crpcc3

                      You are answering a query from over a year ago.

                      1. re: JazzyB

                        How do these old posts surface???

                        But it is interesting to read post Deepwater Horizon spill and how oysters have changed or not!

                        1. re: savory south

                          "You are answering a query from over a year ago."

                          SHHHHHH you let the secret out!!!

                          p.s. blame kibbles :D

                          1. re: Mytah

                            no way ,d00de! -- i replied after Crpcc3's reply (which caused it to bubble up to the top of the site)

                            dunno how that person found it.

                            1. re: kibbles

                              Yeah, the zombies are out of the grave, and walking the Quarter. Kind of like Werewolves of London, except no Trader Vics.

                              Still, there can be some good recs. from zombie thread, though not likely to help the OP. If one does a Search, they might get useful info.

                              Now, somewhere today, I saw a reply to a 2005 thread, for some trip planning. Hopefully, back then the OP found some good chow-worthy spots to dine.

                              Hunt

                              PS - it ain't even near Halloween either!