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Dec 21, 2009 10:04 PM

First time in NOLA and loves seafood

My wife and I will visit New Orleans for the first time in late January for 5 days. Both of us are pretty much seafood people, not really into meat (other than duck, which we like). Based on initial research, we have narrowed down to make the following dining reservations:

• Sunday branch at Commander’s Palace. How long shall we plan for the brunch? I believe it opens at 11am, and we are leaving on a 4pm flight. Will it be a rush?
• Friday lunch at August. We gave some thought about dinner, but their 5-course tasting menu has too much emphasis on meat for our liking. The prix-fix lunch seems to be a great deal.
• One dinner at Brightsen’s. I heard great things about its seafood plate and duck dish. How long does it take the streetcar to get there from CBD? Is it easy to find a cab for the ride back to CBD at night after dinner?
• Either lunch or dinner at Rio Mar: We need some variety, in case we get tired of the rich Southern food. Any other suggestions?

For the rest of the trip, we will eat at more moderate / casual places. A couple of questions:

• Oysters: We always eat oysters raw, but are open to trying cooked version. Acme, Felix’s and Luke are frequently mentioned. Do they specialize in raw, fried, or broiled version?
• We never had red fish before. Is it the same as drum?
• I will arrive in New Orleans on Wed and my wife joins me next day. What will be a good restaurant on my first night, dining solo?

Does that sound like a good plan for 2 first timers from California? Thanks for sharing your thought.

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  1. for duck, I like Irene's and Iris.

    I go to Martinique Bistro for their crab salad alone.

    last Friday, Coquette had the most amazing baked oysters w/fennel, bacon and cheese and an incredible tempura style shrimp app. I'm not doing them justice in the brief description. the cod entree was the best cod I've had in the city.

    for solo dining, I'd eat at the bar at Luke, Mr. B's, La Cote Brasserie, or Emeril's.

    for more oyster offerings: Casamento, Desire Oyster, Bourbon House. I always recommend the oysters w/brie at Clancy's.

    any restaurant can call a cab for you, so don't worry about getting back to your hotel.

    1 Reply
    1. re: edible complex

      As far as Brigtsen's goes, we just had Marna call a cab for us when we left, and we cabbed it there as well, but I think the streetcar would have been a nice ride there. Maybe 20 minutes from CBD? Also Brigtsen's has killer duck as well as seafood. l was torn the night we were there because the duck breast with the crispy skin added back on sounded divine. But I was very happy with my blackened tuna selection, nonetheless. One of the best meals I've ever eaten in my life. Definitely in the top 3.

    2. I'd check out of your hotel prior to brunch and just leave the bags downstairs at teh restaurant. that way you an beat feet directly from there. that will give you until 2:00 which is plenty of time.

      1. Redfish isa type of drum.

        1. Bozo's in Metairie is great for 'sters raw or fried. There're many who think theirs are the best fried available (outside a' home). No argument from me. Get some seafood gumbo on the side.

          1. One concern we have is about the portion size. We are from California, and these days we eat out a lot in Sushi bars and dim sum places. We find most of the "traditional restaurants" with portion size too big. But this is New Orleans, and we would likie to taste what we cannot find back home. Can you shed some light on the portion size of restaurants we have selected? I would expect the portion size to be quite big at Commander's Palace and Brigtsen's. If this is the case, my wife can order 2 appetizers instead of appetizer + entree.

            I understand Irene has a great duck dish. Is it the one that requires long waiting? I have seen a post there is another restaurant with almost identical menu but accepts reservation, but the name escapes me at the moment.

            1 Reply
            1. re: foggy_town

              Dear foggy_town;

              Had three courses at Commander's Palace recently and left full but definitely not overstuffed! A slightly more scientific analysis:

              Appetiser: Three soup combo, each soup was about the size of 2 shot glasses.

              Entree: Single duck leg, five or six spoonfuls of beans.

              Dessert: Souffle- okay, maybe the size of your two hands cupped together... but fluffy and light as air.

              I'm not sure what the structure of the brunch is like, but hopefully this gives you some sort of indication. Sorry for the lack of detail about the actual food ... I'll let you discover the deliciousness for yourself :-)