Finally giving back to the NOLA thread , after 3 ridiculous food tours....
I haven't done my fair share of giving back to chowhound since my Hong Kong trip a couple years ago ;( So sorry. So this may take a while and a couple add ons...it's gonna be a long one. I'm going to start last to first as i am going to have to go through all my photos and notes to figure out where the hell i ate ;) We just got back Sunday from a 3 day trip.
Arrived thursday afternoon, had "snacks" at John Besh Steak @ Harrahs (as we always do). 1)BBQ shrimp here is our 2nd favorite one in the city, rich buttery roux like fabulousness.
2)Louisiana Seafood “3 Ways” Shrimp remoulade, Crab Maison with caviar, Fried oysters with blue cheese dressing
3)Roasted P&J “Oysters Casino”: with bacon, parmesan, garlic and parsley
4)Stuffed Crab “Shells”: baked with garlic and lemon fondue
5)Duck and Jacobs Andouille gumbo
6)Bibb Lettuce with buttermilk blue cheese dressing & spiced pecans
Yes, the word snacks are used loosely with us ;) BBQ shrimp, delicious, as i said second favorite next to Mr. B's which to date after trying 4 different versions...including the original at Pasqual's Manale. I'm sure many people will not be happy to hear that, and i so wanted to love them there...but nope..was a big miss for us. We have also tried them at Deanie's.
Shrimp 3 ways was a nice clean plate, simple and just tasty.
P&J Oysters casino was kinda a miss for us...too rich and kinda over powers any oyster flavour. But then again we like the small briny kinds...kumo's and such. So NOLA isn't our fav for oysters :( much to our dismay.
The Stuffed shells were awesome. Rich and yet with the lemon it was so nicely balanced....highly recommend.
Finally! my bf had given up on gumbo as we had tried some bad and mediocre ones...Besh's was fab! Dark & rich..
And seriously...the salad is second to none. Especially since you'll need it after all the richness you are about to endure (in a good way;)
Ok...and now...4 hours later....we had reservations at Restaurant August...yup...we are crazy, thanks for noticing ;) Here is the lowdown in no paricular order...
1)Hand-made potato gnocchi tossed with blue crab and Perigold truffle
2) “Breaded” speckled trout Louisiana crab, white shrimp, toasted almonds and sauce mousseline
3)Sugar and spice duckling with stone ground grits, roasted duck foie gras and candied quince
4) Foie gras on pain perdue
(going to have to check on the rest of the items...when you eat 4 meals a day that start at 11...it does become a bit of a blur!
(It's been almost an hour..i will get back to this tomorrow! if you have any questions please feel free to ask)
A HUGE dissapointment. This has been on a try list the last 3 visits to NOLA...so we finally gave it a try at lunch.
Loved the atmosphere. Old school vibe and clients. THey could use a good dusting mind you as all the lighting etc is cob web and dust filled. The crabmeat au gratin was decent, if not just straight up overlly cheesy.
The Bad: pretty much everything else. We tried the Crawfish 'bisque' which has no real crawfish and is not a bisque. It has a crawfish head that has a crawfish..."meatball"? i guess you would call it stuffed in the head. It also has rice and a hard boiled egg. Did not like the flavour at all. We did the 1/2 fried crawfish/1/2 fried catfish combo...which was also very dissapointing. I wasn't too greasy...the flavour was just ...well...flavourless and WAY TOO SALTY. All these items were recommended by our waiter as the best of bonton as well....which didn't bode well for the other items. Then i ordered the Red Fish bonton which was also flavorless except salt. Just all around below mediocre. Not to mention lunch took 2 hours and we got there before the rush . Our apps came in about 15 mins, but the salad after that took over 30 mins, and the main about 30 mins after that. Our waiter was super stressed out and sweating all over the place. I ordered a viogner and he made no comment about it...it was god awful...so sweet i couldn't drink it. He never mentioned that to me...but heard him tell the next table over not to order it because it tasted like "church wine" , thanks for the heads up buddy! We will definetly not be back...but I don't think we will be missed. It's a rocking spot..too bad about the food and service.
Man oh man. We came here after having an awful meal at Bon Ton. Thought we would drink our sorrows away ;) Well, we did, they have amazing cocktails, and bought a flask of their homemade limoncello to go :) And we also ordered pasta and a pie. The mushroom pie was just ok...but the pastas were so amazing i could care less about the damn pie anyway ;) The service was amazing, we sat at the bar. The bartender...dang, i forget her name...but you can find her by the tattoo on her forearm with the bar shaker, stainer and stirrer ;) She is an amazing mixologist! Love her. And the manager on duty, awesome. We made friends with another diner at the bar and shared some food. This will be on the agenda for a full lunch/dinner on our next visit. loved it!
There were some hits and misses but overall we had a great time and dining experience. We travel to eat...well and drink. Lordy...where to start...we grazed through...a lot!
Crabmeat pies: yeah, fairly bland. Cute little morsels...but lacking any flavour.
Shrimp in a cup: tasty, needed just a tad more...something...but a solid choice.
Oyster stew: It wasn't as rich as the old school style. It was more vinegary , actually acidic...maybe lemony? It remined me of a greek egg lemon soup (which i like). I liked it...my bf not as much
Shrimp Po-Boy: we actually ordered the shrimp & sausage, which looked awesome...but we got the shrimp and just dealt with it. It was a solid po-boy. Still parkway is my fav!
Buster crab with jalepeno grits: grits were excellent, we still are not sure how we really feel about soft shell crabs in general...we live in San Fran and are fans of dungeness...so thats not chefs fault ;) but the flavour combo here was lovely.
BF tried the homemade soda and loved it. I had a singapore sling, which knocked me on my ass a bit. And we shared a damn tasty beer made specifically for them. Our serve Billy was slightly flustered to start...but got into his grove and had some fun with us. This is an inexpensive place to try out John Besh...but not his all-star. That being said...we will be back!
Bon Ton Cafe
401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130
WILLIE MAE'S SCOTCH HOUSE: Fried chicken...1st time it was AMAZING! 2nd not as good....3rd overcooked skin and super greasy. I think the key might to be get there right when it opens, like we did the first time. Because once they get backed up i think quality goes down pretty fast. We missed it on the last trip...but would like to re-try again.
PARKWAY TAVERN: THE best Shrimp Po-boys IMHO. Just everything...perfectly flavourful and perfectly cooked shrimp, perfect bread. My favorite of about the 6 different places we have had them.
Cute little dive, hole in the wall spot for super ice cold beer on tap and good po-boys. As i said...my fav is still Parkway...but this is probably my 2nd fav.
HERBSAINTE: Man oh man...we want to LOVE Donald link....really we do! But again...after Couchon was just OK last time....same with Herbsainte. It's not bad by any stretch...it's just flat, unexciting. Sorry :( I'm sure we will continue to try his places and hope that we just had off days at his places.
DANTE'S KITCHEN: We had a great time here, cute spot, great service and good food...traditional southern with cool twists. We will try it again.
MR. B'S: BBQ Shrimp...that is the only thing we like there...but that's ok...because it's so good it doesn't matter. Our favorite place for it!
CAFE DU MONDE: It's a no-brainer...it has to be done. However, if you just can't stand the line...there is a small kiosk in the Riverwalk Shoppes...never more than a couple people in line. You can take it outside and sit next to the riverboats! Not the same atmosphere...but just as tasty and leaves more time for more eating ;)
Crawfish bisque does not contain crawfish tails on their own. Crawfish meat is ground up and mixed with seasoning etc and then stuffed back into the head. It is a very very time consuming process which my grandmother did once a week during crawfish season. Sorry you did not like it (I can honestly say that I have never had it anywhere that I thought it was near as good as my grandmother's)
i did realize that i obviously had no idea what i ordered ;) Just because it wasn't what i was expecting...it was obviously something traditional. I actually kinda liked the stuffing portion...but the whole combination was a "little too unique" for my taste :) Thanks for letting me know how that is made though...that does sound time consuming!
I'd probably die from that overload. I don't know about the rest of you but I just can't eat near as much volume as I used to. I have trouble finishing two courses these days. Glad you're enjoying yourself and all the wonderful food this city has to offer. God bless all the local fishermen who supply us.