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a few very excited foodies come back to NOLA.....please tell me where I should throw down!

Hi all,
We're coming back to NOLA in a few weeks. way, way, WAY excited as the cuisine you serve is not found anywhere in our vicinity(yes, we're from up North). Try as they might, no one prepares food like they do in New Orleans: pecan pie isn't the same, the gumbo sucks here and Po-Boy what? Non-existent.
So, please tell me where I should go. Last year we went to Bayona, The Praline Connection, Iris, The Commander's Palace, Acme Oyster Bar, Central Grocery, Cafe Maspero, and The old Coffee Pot.
We've got reservations at Cochon and Stella.
wondering about a few places: Herbsaint, Restaurant August, Jacques Imo(really want true fried chicken.). Last time we were there, heard about a breakfast place called Mama's. and is the Bluebird Cafe still closed for good?

Just would looooove your reco's for wherever you think the food is wonderful. as you can tell, we're an eclectic bunch, so white or blue tablecloth is welcome, as long as our stomachs are delighted.

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  1. I do love Fiorella's fried chicken. Get the mac and cheese as a side. Try Stanley or EAT for breakfast. Hear August has a great lunch deal. Go to Mr. B's for BBQ shrimp. Be sure to hit the Napoleon House for a Pimm's Cup, We were there in November and the bartender (Paul) at Tujaque's is the BOMB! He makes great drinks...not like anyplace else in the world! Get him to make you a Ramos Gin Fizz.
    Jealous of Stella!...economics do not permit that at this time....please report back.

    1. uptown, do not miss Casamento's, Boucherie, Clancy's, Patois, Martinique Bistro, Ciro's Core Sud and Coquette.
      Galatoire's should be added to your list if you haven't been.
      lunched at Mr. B's last Friday for gumbo ya ya and bbq shrimp and going back this Friday.
      and check out J'Anita's in the Avenue Pub on St. Charles Ave.

      7 Replies
      1. re: edible complex

        betheroo, how was the food at tujague's? i heard it was pretty good there as well. i can't wait for Stella!
        EC- went to galatroire's-coold spce. food was ok. i've heard loads about Mr. B's. Def going there.

        1. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

          Didn't eat at Tujague's, just drank. One of each, IIRC! Paul's Ramos Gin Fizz was a thing of grace and beauty. I think the thing to eat there is something not on the menu, check other threads on this...something chicken / garlic, possibly named for someone's mother???? Further research necessary....

          1. re: betheroo

            Aha!
            Chicken Bonne Femme...not on the menu, you have to ask.

          2. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

            I've eaten at Tujagues twice. Never very impressed. Their brisket with the cocktail sauce is good, but it's only served in a small piece as part of a large prix fixe dinner (they don't allow you to order individual courses, only a choice of entrees in a prix fixe). The rest of the food in the dinner is average, and each dinner cost something like $40 a person plus drinks and tip.

            1. re: Hoc

              You can order brisket "a la carte" at the bar, as well as chicken bonne femme or regular fried chicken. Eating in the bar is the best way to enjoy Tujagues.

          3. re: edible complex

            I would skip Clancys. Everything I had was soaked in butter and fried too much. I love fried foods and butter, but I just felt a lot of the dishes lacked flavor

          4. Hard to beat Emeril's fried chicken and corn waffles with crystal butter (lunch m-f). We used to go to Jacques Imos for their fried chicken. Last time 2 of us ordered it and concurred, we won't be back. Herbsaint is excellent when they're "on", but beware.... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/686466. Try August's tasting menu w/wine pairing. They are also open for lunch, 3 courses $20. Coquette and Patois (both uptown) are delicious. Le Foret's tasting menu is meticulously prepared with stellar ingredients. It boasts NOLA's only certified master chef. I'd stick to the appetizers and sides at Cochon. Mr.B's has good bbq shrimp and gumbo ya-ya. I'd go for lunch. Bon Appetit!

            6 Replies
            1. re: JazzyB

              a voice of dissent -- while i liked emeril's fried chicken w/ corn waffles, none of my meat was white meat and it was super, super rich/heavy. like, eat it once and youre good for a year. on the flip side, the fried chicken at Jacque Imo's is very good -- even if it it isnt as good as some folks remember (as in, before the chef who brought the the recipe to JI moved on and later died). i cant speak to the Before, but i think some of that must be nostaliga because its still the best ive had in new orleans, better than any other chicken place that comes to mind.

              1. re: kibbles

                All my meals at Jacques Imos were post Austin Leslie. The last fried chicken we had was dry and unseasoned. Perhaps just a bad night but, due to the "wait" and an otherwise mediocre kitchen, I'm not inclined to return.

                1. re: JazzyB

                  well, as for the rest of Jacques Imo's offerings, i think theyre a solid Good. not sophisticated fine dining by any means, but good. probably too many entrees on the menu but besides the fried chicken the seafood-stuffed pork chop has never disappointed nor has the alligator cheesecake. the deep-fried roast beef poboy is a great novelty app to share. the space is funky and unique, the atmosphere quirky & lively. service has always been good to me. there is no other place in town (or probably the country & world) where ive seen a brass band march right thru the restaurant and i always half-expect it to happen again!

                  in my mind its a great choice for an out-of-towner to experience something special.

                  1. re: kibbles

                    It is not an everyday phenomenon but I have seen brass bands wander in Galatoire's, in Delmonico's (in the ancienne regime) in Antoine's, of course the Commander's deal, ..quite a few places. And there was one at Judge John Minor Wisdom's funeral at the Fifth Circuit. But I agree it is not common.

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      yeah. thol i dont mean a house band playing for tips as found in Antoine's or CP brunch.. i mean a band seemingly off the street that wandered thru the kitchen and dining room and out again. (dunno if they were from Maple Leaf and hired by Jacques or what)

                      1. re: kibbles

                        PostK, K-Pauls's hired a brass band to play outside the restaurant. They would also go inside, playing while meandering through the dining rooms. Chef Paul would sit outside w/ the band. Not sure if they still do it.

            2. In re: The Bluebird Cafe

              Coulis is now in that space. Still breakfast/lunch. Menu's a little different. No better, no worse than Bluebird.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BayouTeche

                Coulis' menu is far more imaginativ,e and better executed, than in the prior good but uninspired incarnation

              2. I'm excited for your trip! I found the restaurants in New Orleans amazing and as exciting as any place in the country. So much soul in the cooking!
                Cochon was awesome, my favorite restaurant and we hit up a lot of them on our few days there. We had aligator bites, turns out I like aligator! We also had a headcheese special and another special app that had layers of roast pork, eggplant and a poached egg (there were a few other things, but I forget), it was awesome, totally different then anything I've ever had before. We also got the cochon au lait which trumps all other roast pork. A little noisy, but it's a great place.
                That said, I would pass on Stella! We went there on our big dinner night out and it was a major disappointment. I found the menu over promised and way under delivered. The best thing we had was the first thing, the foie gras app. It was a take on a blt, but with foie, roasted tomato, slaw and toasted brioche. This was excellent. We also has a shrimp app, sort of a salad, good, but nothing memorable. The entree was terrible. We got the duck 5 ways, which was highly recommended. I hope this was an off night, because I can't imagine that was how the dish was supposed to be. There was a duck soup element that was nice, but the duck wonton that went with it was greasy, bland, it tasted like it had been frozen and re-heated. The roast duck was dry and stringy. I forget the rest, but we left most of it. The other entree was a fish dish, very fishy. Instead of dessert, we opted to get the check and get out. We ended up heading back to Cochon for another round of apps.
                We also liked Acme, Napoleon House for drinks, and a funny experience at Laffite's Blacksmith bar. I had one lunch by myself and had great meal at the bar at August. It seems a little pricey for dinner, but it was nice for lunch.

                Have a great trip!

                4 Replies
                1. re: epiccellars

                  For Fried chicken, I would go to Willie Mae's Scotch House. Its only open for lunch (11-3) Mon to Saturday but is a really different style of fried chicken - highly seasoned and the batter is very light crunchy and somewhat like a tempora style, but different. I had the smothered veal chop the last time I was there, and it was even better than the chicken. For side dishes- DO NOT MISS THE BUTTER BEANs. Clearly my and friends all time favorite.
                  PS Last time I was there, John Besh was at the next table. He is even more handsome in person than on the FoodNetwork chef competition, IMO.

                  1. re: foodophyle

                    thank you all! i'll be in NOLA in 2 weeks.

                    will send a detailed report.

                  2. re: epiccellars

                    i've heard similar experiences at Stella. thank you so much for your input.

                    1. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

                      Willie Mae's is a cultural experience, but the food, while a throw-back to a bygone era, is nothing special, IMHO

                      Stella! on the other hand, seems to me to suffer from unreasonable expectations. Chef Boswell is a CIA-trained master, whose presentation and execution have been top notch each time I have visited. His ingredients and preparation have been second to none. That being said, while his sources are primarily local, this is an atypical restaurant for New Orleans, and with dishes and flavors from around the world, rather than the typical Creole fare one finds at Galatoires, Antoines, or their ilk.