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Sep 24, 2010 04:42 PM

Quintessential Dining Choices

I will be in New Orleans in early November from a Thursday lunch through Monday lunch with 2 other bon vivant guys, both from DC. I've been to New Orleans once a year for the last 6 or 7 years and have eaten around, but neither of them has been there recently. I want to choose restaurants that present what is special about New Orleans food (though not tourist trap), and not what can easily be had in any other major city (which is how August and Stella strike me). We're staying in the CBD without a car (but taxi is no problem). Here's my initial thinking:

Thurs: Mr. B's
Friday: Commander's
Saturday: Galatoires (I love this for lunch on Saturday - Friday is fun don't want to get in line)
Sunday: Ralph's on the Park?? Elizabeth's (love their praline bacon) (Or maybe just a po-boy or muff somewhere??)
Monday: Cochon (actually, this will just be me dining solo)

Thurs: MiLa or Coquette
Friday & Saturday: Bayona, Herbsaint, Irene's or Tommy's, Dick & Jenny's, Brigtsen's (though kind of far), Meaux Bar, Clancy's (choose 2)
Sunday: Emeril's

1. Any comments or additions/subtractions from the list?
2. Any suggestions for before-dinner upscale cocktails?
3. Breakfast suggestions?

930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Emeril's Restaurant
800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

Galatoire's Restaurant
209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Brigtsen's Restaurant
723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118

701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

Dick & Jenny's
4501 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70115

942 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116

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  1. Why not take your friends to Cochon, to me that is a much more unique experience than Mr. B's , especially if you are following up at Coquette, and on that note I would do Mila before Coquette when it comes to food. Coquette is in a great space, but its your basic bistro. I certainly enjoy Irene's and Tommy' but again, neither is really especially unique when it comes to food. Looks like some serious eating awaits you though. Enjoy.

    930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

    2 Replies
    1. re: CharlieH

      irene's/tommy's not unique? where else in the country do they do creole-italian? the backed oysters, the duck, the trout amandine, the crab cakes, the creole cream cheesecake...cant find that stuff anywhere. but hey more space for me!

      id actually go the other way on Coquette and MiLa -- mila is good to be sure, but the space is so generic-posh that i feel like im in L.A., not LA. Coquette is old world bistro, great service, excellent bread, and depending on the day most excellent food. the beignets w/ pot decreme are dessert nirvana..

      1. re: kibbles

        I think you are spot-on regarding both points. I'd go w/Coquette myself. As to Littleman's point(below) about Staurday dinner, if Galatoire is to be lunch then I'd argue against Clancy's for a visitor (I do it on occasion but usually I just sit and stay) and maybe amble..if you Bayona. Might not be enough variety there to suit some people

        430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

        Galatoire's Restaurant
        209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

    2. Cleveland..........5 days in NOLA will be fun. I usually go for only 3 nights but I go 5/6 times a year. You will be ready for some of your Mama's fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and peas when you get home. I suggest you look at this plan.

      Thursday Lunch - Go to Parkway for your Po Boy. Take the streetcar to Jefferson and get off. Walk about 4 blocks NE to Parkway. Thursday Dinner - Go to Bon Ton. It is closed on weekends but serves outstanding classic creole cuisine. If you prefer you could take a cab to Clancy's for dinner instead of Bon Ton. Clancy's is Uptown and serves outstanding NOLA creole cuisine.

      Parkway Bakery & Tavern @ 538 Hagan Ave., New Orleans, LA 504 - 482 - 3047.
      Bon Ton Cafe @ 401 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 524 - 3386.
      Clancy's Restaurant @ 6100 Annunciation St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 895 - 1111.

      Friday Lunch - I suggest you walk around the FQ and have lunch at Felix's, Acme, Mr. B's or a casual restaurant of your choice. You could go to Johnny's for more po boy's or Napoleon House for cold drinks and good food. You must tour the WWII DDay Museum while you are in NOLA. You could go there after lunch Friday and tour the Museum for several hours. If you decide to tour the museum wear some nice slacks and a polo for dinner. Friday Dinner - Go to Commander's Palace. When you leave the Museum take the streetcar to Column's Hotel on St. Charles at 5 PM for drinks on their porch. It's about 8 blocks to Commander's Palace from Columns. You could walk to Commander's from Columns Hotel or catch the streetcar.

      Felix's Restaurant and Oyster Bar @ 739 Iberville St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 522 - 4440.
      Acme Oyster House @ 724 Iberville St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 522 - 5973. *
      Napoleon House Bar & Cafe @ 500 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 524 - 9752.
      Mr. B's Bistro @ 201 Royal St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 523 - 2078.
      The Columns Hotel @ 3811 Saint Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 504 - 899 - 9308.
      Commander's Palace @ 1403 Washington Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 899 - 8221.

      Saturday Lunch - Galatoire's seems to be your choice and I highly recommend dining there. Since you will be having a big dinner I would not go overboard at Galatoire's. Get the Crab Maison and an entree. Have a glass of white wine then head Uptown. You need to spend a few hours walking Magazine in the 3,000 to 5,000 block range. There are some great shops along there. Wear some slacks and a polo to Galatoire's. You will need a jacket too. After lunch drop your jacket off at your hotel and catch the streetcar to Washington. Get off and walk 5 blocks S to Magazine. Turn to your right and go W on Magazine. Coquette will be on your left on the corner of Magazine and Washington. Walk in and check it out. When you walk W on Magazine you will walk by Lilette. Check it out. Clancy's is further W of there. I love Clancy's but Coquette is outstanding also. The bar is very nice. Pick out one and have a few drinks at 5 PM. Have dinner around 7 or so. After dinner catch a cab back to your hotel.

      Coquette @ 2800 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 265 - 0421.
      Lilette @ 3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 895 - 1636.

      Sunday Lunch - You could go to Mr. B's for an outstanding lunch. You could go to the Jazz Brunch at Antoine's or Arnaud's. Both are very nice. The French 75 Bar at Arnaud's is very nice even if you don't dine there. I like Brennan's myself. It's one of my favorites for brunch but this board does not give Brennan's high marks. I know the MD there so I guess that helps. You could go to Johnny's for po boys or just walk around the FQ and pick out a nice casual joint for a light lunch. Sunday Dinner - I would go to Stella or Emeril's. Emeril's is my favorite. I love the room, bar, atmosphere, food and service.

      Antoine's @ 713 Saint Louis St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 581 - 4422.
      Arnaud's @ 813 Bienville Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 523 - 5433.
      Stella Restaurant @ 1032 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 587 - 0091.
      Emeril's @ 800 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 528 - 9393.
      Johnny's Po Boys @ 511 Saint Louis St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 524 - 8129.

      Monday Lunch - If you skipped Bon Ton Thursday you should have lunch there on Monday. If you have not been to the WWII DDay Museum then go there for a few hours and have lunch at American Sector which is owned by John Besh. You could also go to Luke or Domenica which are also owned by Besh and located in the CBD. Domenica has outstanding Italian pizza and pasta.

      Dick and Jenny's do not take reservations. It's a great restaurant but you can have a substantial wait sometimes. It's also Uptown. I would prefer Clancy's or Patois as they are just W of D&J's. Bayona is excellent. I met Susan Spicer before she became famous. I have been there so often I am a little tired of dining there but it's a great restaurant with good food. Tommy's and Irene's are very similar and not my favorites but the food is good at both places. Brigtsen's is good but the menu does not change often and it's a long cab ride from CBD. Mila is good but I think Coquette is nicer. JMO.

      I don't have breakfast when I'm in NOLA but Elizabeths and Stanley are both excellent. Breakfast, lunch and dinner in NOLA is too much for me.

      I like the Jeremy Davenport Lounge in The Ritz Carlton Hotel. Mr. Davenport is a famous jazz player there on Thursday/Saturday around 9 PM. I mentioned the French 75 Bar at Arnaud's above. It's nice. Napoleon House is fun too. The Carousel Bar at Monteleon Hotel is outstanding too.

      Carousel Bar @ Hotel Monteleone| @ 214 Royal St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 523 - 3341.

      1. Have not dined at Elizabeth's, so could be missing something here, but Sunday Brunch at Ralph's has always impressed. Only complaint that I have ever had was when we were seated at a table in the bar, next to the piano. The pianist was playing to the whole house, and did not seem to be mic'ed. That was too loud for us, but food, service and wine have been good. They have pared down the wine list some, and now have more of "the usual suspects," but it's still good. They need to get a few white Burgs back on the list, especially some "meaty" ones.

        I am a big fan of Brigtsen's, so this would be a no-brainer for me. While I have only done a few of the others, and might be missing something special, I do not turn down an opportunity to dine with Chef Frank.

        If you have not done The Coffee Pot (still referred to as Maxie's Coffee Pot, and the Original Coffee Pot, in some circles) on St. Peter St, treat yourself. I really like the first table on the patio. One has a view of the street and the tableaux that passes by, but also a view of all the patrons. Some neat fare there.



        PS - we're staying at the Roosevelt in a few weeks, so should have some comments on the venue and the various offerings - we will, however, be flying from the moment we return from NOLA, so it will take me some time to get the reviews and observations up.

        Coffee Pot Restaurant
        714 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

        Brigtsen's Restaurant
        723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Ah, some great advice, as always!! Thanks!

          1. re: ClevelandRandy

            Unfortunately, you have some places on the list, so even with a "multiple-choice" I am at a disadvantage, and lean towards my biases. That is not the most helpful info - sorry. That is one reason that I rely on the local posters here. They help me sort through the press stuff, and have never let me down. Some do not appreciate all the spots that I do, but that is human nature. Different folk look for different things in restaurants. I have the same issues on my home board, Phoenix. Some of the most popular places cause me to shrug my shoulders and ask, "what ARE they thinking?" My wife feels the same way, but for some, there are some "sacred cows," and we just do not get it.

            On your list of possibilities, there are at least four places on my radar screen, but we will just not make it to them on our Oct. trip. It's nice to have family in NOLA, but there IS a downside too - family events take nights out of the trip, so we have to plan for the next one. By then, there will be another half-dozen "must-dos," so we will be torn once again, plus we have OUR sacred cows, and each deserves one meal. Too many great choices, and too little time. When I hit the Lottery, I will sneak into town and dine for a month, before anyone knows that we are there, unless they find us with a shrimp in our mouths...



        2. i would disagree on the assessment that August could be found anywhere. for some items that may be true (foie gras), but not for other dishes. their speckled trout w/ jumbo lump and hollandaise is local and the best item on the dish; paired w/ the gnocchi w/ blue crab and truffles and youre in local seafood heaven.

          in fact they have a $20 3.5-course lunch special that is an amazing value for such high-end food. menu changes tho so i cant say whats on it now.

          4 Replies
          1. re: kibbles

            With Chef Besh's reliance on local produce, I would definitely agree. Elsewhere, one can get local produce, for say the Castro Valley, or from the garden at Blackberry Farm, but not from South Louisiana.


            1. re: kibbles

              er typo: "best item on the menu" i meant (the trout). had it last friday w/ guests in in town and it doesnt fail to disappoint.

              the rabbit dish, however...not so hot.

              1. re: kibbles

                I checked out the website for August, and no mention of the 3-course special. I wonder if that deal is over.

                1. re: ClevelandRandy

                  it isnt. they only post sample menus on their website. if you phone them they can confirm.

                  only note that the special has different dishes than the main menu -- so naturally the most excellent trout, or the gnnochi, are not on it. usually the options to choose from are a meat fish, a seafood dish and sometimes a pasta dish.

            2. After reading your itinerary I only have one suggestion... take me with you!