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Christmas Weekend 2009--need some restaurant/bar help

I'll be in town with my wife, 2-year-old daughter, and my parents for the Friday-Monday that begins on Christmas Day. Let's take it meal-by-meal:

Christmas Day early dinner with the whole family of 5:
We arrive in time to have an early dinner on Christmas Day and I've made a 5pm reservation at Luke. Is that a good choice, especially with my little one? I've never tried a Besh restaurant and the menu seems interesting. Any other thoughts? We're staying at the W French Quarter, but will have a car.

Breakfast at Elizabeth's. If it isn't open, should we try Stanley or Eat?

Lunch: I was thinking about heading over to the Mid-City area. Any child-friendly suggestions? I'd like a great Roast Beef Po' Boy and my wife wants oysters. I'm thinking about Parkway Bakery, Ralph's, Liuzza's by the Track, Dooky Chase (for fried chicken and gumbo), or Mandina's. I've never tried any of these classic places, and I'm just not sure what is open or which to choose. Can I get some expert opinions? Remember, child-friendly, please.

Dinner: My wife and I will go out on Saturday night, just the two of us. We have 3 reservations, since we couldn't decide on one place. We reserved at August, Martinique, and the Pelican Club. Since we're going to Luke already, and since August seems like quite a fussy and long meal, we're leaning toward the Pelican Club. I wanted to try Boucherie, but it is closed. I didn't like the menu at Coquette or Iris. What about Bistro Daisy? Any other thoughts? We've already been to Brigsten's, Upperline, Cochon, Galatoire's, and Stella, and want to try something different.

Early Brunch: We're not going to the Saints game, but I'm a lifer and we will want to settle in somewhere for the Noon kickoff. So for the pre-game brunch, I was told that Cafe Amelie in the Quarter was nice. Any other thoughts? I wouldn't mind a jazz brunch, but want to keep it fairly casual.

Bar for the game: While Grandma watches our daughter, we'd like to watch the game somewhere with nice TVs and volume. I don't think Johnny White's is going to cut it. Should we try a hotel bar? Which one? I'd like to stay in the French Quarter, CBD, or the Marigny.

Sunday early dinner: I'm planning on Jacques-Imo's. My wife has never been and I'm in love with the food.

Breakfast: Maybe hit Cafe Du Monde
Take-out lunch: A sandwich at the Cochon Butcher--what sandwich would you get?

That's it! Any help, especially Saturday and Sunday, is appreciated.

PS: I'm also coming to town December 4-8 for a conference at the Convention Center, but I'll be by myself and working long days so will be eating as well as possible under the circumstances.

Thanks again!

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  1. I know this is a long list of questions. Let me try just to cut to the chase:
    Saturday lunch in Mid City--where can I take the family and get a great po-boy?
    Saints game--what bar should I hit in the Quarter with good TVs?

    3 Replies
    1. re: bmoskowitz

      Saturday lunch, Parkway Tavern for your poboys.
      Saints game, Lucy's on Tchoup or Chart Room on Chartres. Neither are known for great TV's, but it'll be a festive crowd and they will have the game on. For something a little different, try the American Sector at the WWII Museum. Catch the 11:00 showing of Beyond All Bounderies, then walk over to AS for the game. Nice bar, nice TV's and excellent food.

      1. re: BayouTeche

        Many thanks! I will check out these options. I appreciate it.

        1. re: BayouTeche

          is anyplace really known for their TVs? seems w/ the advent of cheap HD flat panels, everybodys got one -- or 4, unfortunately...

      2. Something else to consider for Saturday dinner would be Patois. For the game you could try Voila, 300 Decatur, corner Bienville, its a hugely gouche suedo club type place, but they have a huge drop down projection screen and a half dozen flat screens, they specialize in doing the big game thing, pay per view etc. The bar food is actually pretty good. For something a little more civilized you could try the Swizzle Stick Bar at the Loews Hotel, its nice and if memory serves me, they have a wide screen in there someplace. ch

        1. In mid city go to Liuzza's on Bienville. GREAT food; great poboys, red beans & rice, etc. Very casual and ok for kids.

          1. Thanks for the info. It is going to be hard to decide between Liuzza's and Parkway. Ideally, I'd love to try both. Thanks for the sports bar tips--the Loews sounds like a good option. I want atmosphere, but I want to be able to see the game too. I looked into Patois. It looks like a nice place, but I wasn't thrilled by the menu. Am I missing something? I've heard that the Pelican Club's food is average--how would it compare to say, Muriel's, which I consider to be only average?

            4 Replies
            1. re: bmoskowitz

              personally, Patois can do no wrong. I enjoy Sunday brunch at the bar watching Saints' games and eating gumbo, rabbit and moules frites.
              haven't been to Pelican Club in too long, but recent posts have been positive.

              1. re: edible complex

                Try the tasting menu w/wine pairing at August. If you don't like a course, they will let you pick a substitute. Coquette's menu changes almost daily. Bistro Daisy's changes often as well. I prefer Liuzza BTT 's "breath taking RB poboy" b/c of the horseradish sauce. Pre game brunch, make a resv. at Emeril's.

                1. re: JazzyB

                  Coquette is always changing, tho i dont think the website menu explains that very well. *excellent bar*. they have some amazing mixoligists that come up w/ unique, exquisite cocktails. try the bacon-infused bourbon.

              2. re: bmoskowitz

                patois is a new star, my review from a year ago:


                ...blows PC and Muriel's out of the water. i like PC but it's not a "destination" restaurant for me, just a good standby that, while not wowing, usually doesn't disappoint. Muriel's has never struck me as anything other than an easy tourist version of new orleans dining. this image is re-enforced by the t-shirt glad patrons fresh off bourbon street. charming bar and gorgeous upstairs lounge, tho.

                as for Liuzza vs. Parkway.. i really love L's "BBQ Shrimp" poboy, its unique and dastardly good -- whats not to love about butter, pepper, and shrimp? space is small and kinda boring. Parkway is nicely redone, has plenty of space including outdoor seating, and some pretty good above average poboys. known for their roastbeef. love their "Thanksgiving" poboy which was the thurs special, may still be.

                1. re: JazzyB

                  Thanks, JazzyB. I like the idea of Emeril's for brunch, but it isn't open for brunch on weekends. I will try Le Cote Brasserie instead and walk across the street to Lucy's for the Saints game.

                  1. re: JazzyB

                    Just a note that this website is not a complete list. I made reservations for Restaurant August for Christmas Day and for Pelican Club for Christmas eve (both through Open Table) but neither are listed on this site.

                  2. I was in New Orleans Halloween weekend. I have been there about 7 times and have visted a lot of the restaurants you mention. August was very nice the food was really good, but very rich. Bistro Daisy was fantastic, as was Patois I think you should try either one of those, you won't be disappointed. Enjoy

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kittykatkid

                      How do you you all feel about MiLa? I'm also considering it. I'm going to have to think about Patois as well. Maybe I'll try it.

                    2. Couple of comments:

                      Sat lunch-Ralphs may be too fancy for the 2-year old; you can't go wrong with any other choice except you should check whether Dooky Chase is open Sat. They are currently doing lunch only during the week and I don't know if they further limited their hours on the weekend. Great poboys are the rule at Parkway, although their bar is also a good option for you to watch the Saints on Sun. (there will be a good crowd) so you may want to consider po-boys at Mandinas or Liuzzas for Sat lunch. Another Saints option is Gordon Biersch across from the W, don't eat there but there are TVs.

                      As for Sat dinner, you will be far more impressed with Martinique than with Pelican Club, and I've heard good things about Bistro Daisy which is right across the street (but harder to get into - make reservations)

                      As for MiLa, I really WANT to like it but it just hasn't lived up to the hype. Is it good? Yes, but there are better, and the Sun brunch menu/service is pretty unimpressive.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: nola_sandy

                        Great info, thanks. So it may come down to Martinique vs Patois for Saturday dinner. I have a res at Martinique already and will look into Patois.

                        1. re: bmoskowitz

                          I didn't read every reply, but did anyone suggest Mandina's for a po boy in Mid City on Saturday? Excellent choice, totally classic New Orleans....Great for a family....

                          1. re: Suzy Wong

                            Thanks for the suggestion. I had asked about Mandina's but didn't get much feedback. I will add it to the mix of options for sure. I don't think I'll go wrong with one of Mandina's/Liuzza's/Parkway.

                      2. I was at Begue's in the Royal Sonesta for brunch a couple of weeks ago and when leaving saw a HUGE crowd in the bar watching the Saint's game. They have big screen TV's and an upscale feel. Irvin Mayfield plays there on the weekend nights so, that's a thought as well.

                        1. I just wanted to thank everyone who responded to this thread and to give you a rundown on my trip:

                          On Christmas Day we had dinner at Luke. The food was excellent and everyone was thrilled. It kicked off the weekend very well. The restaurant was not without some problems, though. They wanted to seat us by the front door, despite the fact that I reserved weeks in advance--we complained and they moved us to a great table near the open kitchen in the back dining room. The service was earnest, but quite lacking; this may have been because of the holiday, though. While the raw oysters weren't anything special, the gumbo was very tasty and my Shrimp Farci was great. My wife and my mother both raved about their fish and my dad loved his cooked oysters. A great bread pudding served in a small clay pot and some chicory coffee topped off a fine meal. We went to Cafe Du Monde on Saturday morning and my daughter devoured her beignets. Quite a sight. We drove up to Mid-City for lunch. Parkway was too crowded so we went over to Liuzza's and had a great meal. I had an even better gumbo and a roast beef poboy. It was like potroast on a bun. I enjoyed it. For dinner on Saturday, my wife and I went alone to Patois. The place was very inviting and the service was solid and relaxed. My wife loved their take on BBQ Shrimp and grits (they called it spoonbread), but they held the chorizo because she doesn't eat meat. I had gumbo again--subtle and smokey with smoked rabbit, andouille, and greens. We were too full from lunch to have main courses, so I also got an oyster salad and the grilled lamb ribs appetizer. The ribs were good, but not great. My wife had the jumbo lump crab salad, which she liked. For dessert, a red wine chocolate cake that was too dry--even my wife who had been very happy with her meal didn't think it was very good. After dinner we went over to Frenchman street for a drink at DBA and then walked through the Quarter to the Hermes Bar at Antoines where we had a nightcap and watched some great live jazz. It's a nice little spot that might still be under the radar since it opened only this year. On Sunday, my dad and I took my daughter to Mother's for breakfast. We were very happy. I had roast beef debris and cheese on a biscuit--good stuff. My wife and watched the Saints at Lucy's in the Warehouse District and then we all went to Mandina's for dinner. It's a great neighborhood place with lots of character. I had a bowl of turtle soup, which I loved. And I got the Meatball Sandwich with red sauce--great. I was too full for dessert. I wasn't overly impressed with the other entrees I tasted, but I'm glad we went. It was a real local place and the people watching was worth it. Before we left on Monday, we went to Acme where I had another good roast beef poboy (half order) with nice red beans and rice, and we got 18 charbroiled oysters. My daughter, who is 2, really liked eating the oysters on this trip! I stopped off at Acme again at the airport for a half shrimp/half oyster poboy to take on the plane and didn't eat it until I got back home to NYC. The diet starts today. Great stuff.