Luke ... or Something Else?
I have been planning a late February trip with my husband and three boys, aged 8, 11, and 13. The kids are good travellers and diners but are not always adventurous eaters (one has said he wants to try gumbo, another has said he is willing to try fried oysters, but really, you just never know).I had made a reservation at Luke the first evening but in a recent thread I saw two disappointing reviews for it and am wondering if I should choose somewhere else to go.
In its favor are that it's a John Besh restaurant, it's casual, there are plenty of plainer things on the menu (burger, croque monsieur), and there is a focus on craft beer, which my husband loves. On the "con" side are the negative reviews, plus the fact that there so many great places to dine in New Orleans.
As a reference point, here are the other spots we are likely hitting on this trip: Drago's, Cafe du Monde, Camellia Grill, Stanley, Jacques Imo, Casamento or Boucherie (choice for the same lunch slot), and we have one other dinner to be determined (Irene's? Ye Olde College Inn?).
So, do I keep it or change it -- and for what??
I would keep it, love their specials, the roast chicken is excellent. College Inn might be a disappointment if you are expecting too much. Good poboys with fried shrimp/oysters/veal, burgers, great atmosphere, but not chef driven. Strangely, chicken fingers aren't the best. I would do Casamentos instead.
Casamentos only if your boys will eat fried oysters, fried softshells, oysters 1/2 shell.
I find Jacques-Imos food mediocre at best.
Luke is best for happy hour 25 cent oysters.
Dragos for char grilled oysters.
Irene's is very good. You'll need a resv. I'd check out the menu (although this link is for Tommys, the menu is nearly the same as Irene's. The food is IMO better at Irene's. http://www.tommysneworleans.com/index... to see if it will satisfy your boys.
I find Emeril's food consistently terrific. Again, check the menu. (http://www.emerils.com/restaurant/1/E...). You will need a resv.
Jacque-Imos may not be cutting edge phenomenal food, but thats only one part of the equation. for me the other two are Atmosphere and Service. the atmosphere at JI is a funky fun place that cant be duplicated -- where else can you have a deep fried RB poboy, a seafood stuffed pokrchop, alligator cheesecake, AND have a brass band parade thru the dining room? follow it w/ some tunes at the maple leaf and youve got a helluva nite.
on the food side, i havent found any better than their fried chicken. i heard it was this guy's recipe who used to have his own shop until Katrina. he died recently but they still have the recipe, thank god.
I used to go to Jacques Imos for their fried chicken. Two of us ordered it last time there and agreed, it "ain't what it used to be." For a few dollars more you can have terrific food and service at Emeril's ...plus a reservation. BTW, Chef Austins's Creole Kitchen is supposed to use the same chicken recipe. http://www.nola.com/dining/index.ssf/...
i had it about 6 mos ago and thought it was awesome but i cant say if its as good as with Leslie manning the fryer. probably not, but its still the best ive had in town.
but emeril's vs jacque-imo's? apples and oranges... sometimes funky is better than fine.
sidenote, i like emeril's, but its almost a parody of fine dining. they are so used to tourist diners that i feel the service is below the bar. also its annoying to be asked where im from every time im there, or if id like to "sign a cork" and stick it in the wall. uh, no. great banana pie tho.
we liked luke alot when we went last year. but this year we are going to try the new john besh restaurant in the wwII museum,called the american sector. check out the menu, it looks very family friendly.
I have only been to Luke once but loved it and am looking for an occasion to return.
What about a real po-boy shop for one of your other meals? Somewhere like Parkway? They sell burger po-boys in addition to the tradional ones, so your kids can always have a safe option.
I loved my dinner at Lüke. The food was delicious and the cocktails were also great. Very causal and good for kids and they have the best fries in the world.