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Review of Drago's, Crabby Jack's, August, Croissant d'Or, Galatoire's, Mr. B's, Boucherie, and Cochon

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Monday at 1:30 - Drago’s in Metairie. Oh yeah, those charbroiled oysters are fantastic. Ordered half a dozen to be sure, ordered another half dozen after the first bite. Husband had shrimp fondue and shrimp etoufee. The etoufee was so-so, nothing to write home about. The fondue was delicious. I also had a crab cake that was very good. But next time, I’ll get 2 dozen of those charbroiled oysters and skip the rest. They also had a tossed salad smothered in crab that looked good. Our server told us the Drago’s at the Riverwalk is a partnership between Drago’s and the Hilton so they aren’t exactly the same but still good, just not quite as good. Also, their grill cannot be near as seasoned as the one in Metairie. That could make a difference just like the difference in making coffee in a new pot or a well worn pot. If they are half as good, they would still be fantastic. Drago’s charbroiled oysters are now my #2 favorite dish in NO. Loved our server, the service was very friendly. We got there pretty late and the place was still packed full. We had to drive around a bit to find a parking place. Glad we stopped in Lake Charles for some hot Nelson’s donuts on the way over.

Tuesday lunch - Crabby Jack’s. I had the fried green tomato/shrimp remoulade po-boy and my husband had the fried shrimp po-boy. Mine was much better, his shrimp were a little bit over salted. He loved his even being a little too salty and wants to add that to the list for next year. On my po-boy, the tomato was firm and tangy with the mild shrimp remoulade. I think the only thing I would change about mine was the shrimp, they were a little too bland. They needed a little bit more of a kick. I liked this but the small one was plenty. Skip the fries, they’re less than average. Don’t expect friendly staff here, they are just warm bodies writing orders. And the place smells funny. Also, it was very cold Tuesday morning and I swear it may have been colder inside Crabby Jack’s than outside in the wind. I kept my coat on the entire time and was still very cold.

Tuesday dinner –Restaurant August. I ordered one of the specialty drinks and I didn’t like it at all. It nowhere near tasted like the description on the menu. My husband had a bloody mary and said it was good, I think he ended up having 3 and I ordered tea. I had the gnocci, couldn’t wait to get this dish. I was sorely disappointed. It was very bland. The crab was tasteless, the gnocci was good but nothing more. I had the prime filet which was good but nothing more. The sweet sauce that is on it seemed to take away from the meat. The oxtail marmalade/smoked marrow tasted like sweet brisket. I didn’t like the two tastes together or maybe if they’d toned down the sweet a little it would have appealed to me more. The steak itself was not a good texture. I don’t know how to describe it but it was only average and that is being kind considering the price of it. My husband had some kind of curry shrimp bisque and that dish was outstanding – we both agreed. I could have eaten two bowls of it. He also had the elk steak which he liked. I tried it and to me, it was a little bland for wild meat but the texture was closer to a good steak than my steak was. We shared the napoleon of nougatine for dessert. It was okay. For a dinner that was $220, the only thing I thought was a little better than okay was the bisque. I was very disappointed in August and won’t return. I think I’m disappointed because I could have been eating more charbroiled oysters at Drago’s. The service at August was good but a little bit snooty. When I called for a reservation they said coat and tie was not required but highly recommended leaving me to believe the dress code would be tight. My husband wore a coat and tie and to our amazement people were being admitted in jeans and sneakers. What?

Wednesday breakfast - Croissant d'Or Patisserie. There was no parking so I got out and got us a bag of goodies to go. I got a sausage roll, a raspberry, a chocolate and an almond croissant. Husband said the sausage pastry was okay but he really loved the chocolate and raspberry. We shared the 3 sweet ones and they were all wonderful. We were going to Galatoire’s for lunch after 1 PM so I just wanted something to hold me over. This place was delicious. Very fresh and flaky croissant. I love French pastries done right and these were. There were many other items other than croissant. It’s a small place but very nice and a good selection.

Wednesday lunch - Galatoire’s. We arrived about 1:30 and there were still about 20 people waiting to be seated, maybe more. We were seated right away because there were a few tables for 2 being cleaned. Our waiter was Dorris. I googled him and he’s worked there 37 years. Very nice man and very good service. I ate the following – oysters rockefeller, soufflé potatoes and crabmeat Yvonne. My husband had shrimp remoulade, avocado and crabmeat salad, and shrimp marguery. We shared the pot du crème. Everything was delicious. The room was full of Christmas cheer and they sang Happy Birthday to me and several other birthday people there. How they knew it was my birthday I’ll never know. My birthday was actually the Saturday prior. My husband swears he didn’t say anything and it isn’t like him to mention it to anyone so I believe him. They gave us complimentary caramel custard with a lit candle in it. We were there until after 3:30. As we were leaving the crowd seemed to be dying down just a bit but there were still people waiting to be seated.

Thursday lunch - Mr. B’s. Husband ordered bloody mary, I ordered belini. The belini wasn’t what I expected and was more like a glass of sparkling wine but the bloody mary was good so we finished that round and ordered two bloody marys. The second bloody marys were way too seasoned for me so I just ordered a tea and he finished both the drinks. We shared the fried oyster appetizer which was very good. I had the bbq shrimp (of course) and he had the steak paillard. The steak was delicious, way way way better than the one I had at August. The bbq shrimp – waiting for the shrimp to cool enough to peel, I took my first bite of the bread and sauce. I think I love it more than I ever have. It was like heaven to my taste buds. I was thinking they could just take the shrimp away and give me another bowl of sauce. There were only 6 shrimp in the bowl, I thought I remember about 9 or more in previous years. But who cares, there was plenty of sauce. This remains my favorite dish in NO. Two of our waiters were very good, the third seemed to stand in the middle of the room and look around then disappear without removing empty plates, without filling tea, etc. We had much better service last year but it wasn’t bad this year. It was just comical to watch the third wheel saunter around and never do anything. We got satin green ribbons with a jingle bell attached. The ribbon had “Mr. B’s” on it. Nice touch for very little $$ and effort. I liked that. We shared the profiteroles for dessert and they were very good.

Thursday dinner – Boucherie. We order the boudin balls for an appetizer. I ordered another order of boudin balls and fried potatoes for my meal. Husband order the brisket. The boudin balls are a little different than the last time I had them, still good but not as good. They use some of the brisket in them and less liver. I like the liver more. Their fries are wonderful and I sprinkle them with their peppery vinegar. They are delicious. The brisket was good but probably wouldn’t get it again. I make it at home just as good.

Friday lunch – Cochon. I had the wood-fired oyster roast, the deviled crab and the oyster-bacon sandwich. He had the fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade and the smoked brisket with horseradish potato salad. We shared the pineapple upside down cake. The oysters were okay but compared to Drago’s and Galatoire’s oysters, well, there was no comparison. I had a mouth full of shell slivers about 4 times with the 5 oysters. They were good but there is just so much better out there. The deviled crab was hot and had a good taste but the crab was overpowered. There was plenty of it but you just didn’t get much of a crab taste. The sandwich was delicious. Husband’s shrimp remoulade was very good, the shrimp were large and cooked perfect. His brisket was okay, again, I can do as well if not better. The potato salad was good and wasn’t overpowered with horseradish. The cake was good as well. Again, I was wishing I was sitting in Drago’s eating those charbroiled oysters or having another order of bbq shrimp at Mr. B’s.

So, Croissant d’Or, Drago’s and Galatoires will remain on our must-eat list with Mr. B’s for next trip. Boucherie falls off the list, August and Cochon don’t make it. Husband says Crabby Jack’s makes the list, I say I’m not sure. I do want to try the duck po-boy.

It was a wonderful trip overall. I’m happy to be home but can’t wait to get some more bbq shrimp and charbroiled oysters!! The scale says I gained 2.5 pounds in the 5 days. I’m not at all surprised.

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Crabby Jacks
428 Jefferson Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70121

Cochon
930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

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

Boucherie
8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

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  1. Did you smell those oysters cooking when you got close to Drago's. I could smell the aroma several blocks away. I love Galatoire's. August did not impress me on my last visit either. Glad you had a good trip. Now you can get back to hunting. Good luck.

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

    3 Replies
    1. re: Littleman

      Yes, you could smell those oysters. Yum!! Next trip I think I'll do Drago's twice and Mr. B's twice :-)

      1. re: texasredtop

        Sounds like a winner. Have a nice Christmas.

        1. re: Littleman

          Same to you Littleman!!

    2. Glad that the Metairie Drago's came through. Maybe we hit the Hilton location on their worst night ever, but were left much more than underwhelmed.

      As I have only always done Chef Besh's tasting menus, at Restaurant August, I cannot comment on your dishes, but am saddened to hear the details. Just based on my experiences, I would expect anything to be very good to fantastic.

      Thank you for the review. Maybe I need to work in the Metairie Drago's, just to have something to compare my horrible experience with. Others have commented that it's far better, than the Hilton location. From my perspective, that would not be difficult. The Hilton restaurant did not raise the bar very high - matter of fact, they left it lying on the ground.

      Hunt

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      Restaurant August
      301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        I'm telling ya Bill, just walking through their parking lot will get you drooling. We walked by the Hilton several times last week and I never smelled anything cooking. Those were the best oysters I've ever had and it didn't have a whole lot to do with the oysters either. They were very tiny and not so tasty but with the topping and the charbroiling, oh my, it was wonderful. They probably could have substituted ping pong balls and it still would have been good. If they would have had some bigger tastier oysters, it might make it to my #1 spot. I will not miss Drago's in Metairie ever again when I'm in NO.

        The only place I got nice plump tasty oysters was at Mr. B's. Even Galatoire's were small and not so great. Their spinach on the oysters Rockefeller was great though. I just chalked it up to that's what they had this time of year. No biggie if the overall dish is good. I prefer a great tasting dish to a large portioned dish.

        I heard someone ask our waiter if these were oysters from their beds and he said no, they bought these. So I'm guessing that customer recognized the difference.

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

        1. re: Bill Hunt

          I prefer Drago's Metairie. That being said, other than the charbroiled oysters and crab salad, I find the food mediocre at best.

          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Bill--My wife and I were in NO for 4 days last week and had lunch twice at the Metairie Drago's. We each had the charbroiled oysters and they were excellent. We also had oysters on the half shell at Pascale's Manale and Cassamento's; both places had fresh, good size, delicious oysters.

          2. Surprised to hear that August was sub-par. I live a few blocks away and though I eat there only a few times a year I have always come away pleased. As for the rest of your review, it pretty much accords with my experience. Btw, what is that funny smell in Crabby Jack's? I know just what you mean. And one tip: if you want to add a bit of variety to your next charbroiled oyster orgy at Drago's, order some charbroiled mussels. They are not on the menu, but Drago's will happily fix them for you. And they are great!

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            Crabby Jacks
            428 Jefferson Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70121

             
            9 Replies
            1. re: erikschwarz

              I had a less than great experience at August earlier this month. Certainly not as bad as Texasred, but oddly, the meal was the lowest rated meal of our three-day trip to the city.

              1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                Maybe John Besh has too many locations going now.

                1. re: erikschwarz

                  Could be. Isn't that what happened to Emeril awhile back? I have looked forward to dining at Restaurant August for a couple of years and had heard raves about the gnocci which I found to be about as tasteful as a bowl full of seasonless spaghetti. I cannot believe people would rave about that dish which leads me to believe that the restaurant is still riding along on the name that at one time meant something fabulous. You'd think for over $100 a person for one meal, more than one dish would have been a little better than average. I couldn't have been more disappointed and shocked, actually. It was the most expensive and worst meal we had in 5 days.

                  I'd go to Crabby Jack's and breathe in that funny smell again before I'd go back to August. What IS that smell??????? It reminded me a little of the smell of a butcher shop. It was not pleasant but not bad enough to make me leave.

                  -----
                  Crabby Jacks
                  428 Jefferson Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70121

                  Restaurant August
                  301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

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

                  1. re: texasredtop

                    I'll cut Emeril some slack, since he is very charitable and basically affable, whereas restaurant folk I trust tell me that Besh is quite unpleasant. As for August, for 5 years I lived half a block away but dined there no more than once or twice per annum. Not because the food was not great - I thought it was - nor because the rooms were not lovely - they were - but because the overall experience was somehow lacking. Maybe due to the service. The waiters were professional and attentive, but their presentation was both showy and rote. More than that, though, the general vibe was unappealing. August seemed to care less about the proximate community, and had no interest in even a modicum of neighborly conversation. In a town with warm, rich restaurateur personalities like JoAnn Clevenger at Upperline, Leah Chase at Dooky and Wayne Baquet at L'il Dizzy's, John Besh is like thin, bland gruel.

                     
                    1. re: erikschwarz

                      I hear ya about the vibe of the place. The setting is beautiful. The waitstaff was cold, nothing welcoming or friendly about it. I can't complain too much about the waitstaff, they got everything right and that was their main job, it was the kitchen that disappointed me the most. The dishes were boring and average if that good. The quality of my meat was not even close to what I would expect for the price. To me it seems to have just turned into a money maker riding on past fame. There were other Besh restaurants I wanted to try in the future but now, not so much.

                      I will have to give Emeril's a try next trip.

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

                      1. re: erikschwarz

                        Besh has been pleasant when we met him t one of his dining events. a friend waited at August last year and had good things to say...eg, when Besh learned his parents were in town he made my friend go home -- with pay. so, dunno where your info is sourced?

                        personally, I have the gnocchi every couple months and absolutely love the dish. (tho I also think croissants at Croissant D'or have gone downhill since the newest non-French owners and not nearly as good as pastries in Europe)

                        1. re: erikschwarz

                          I Love how people assume and pretend they know what contributions people are making to the community. You should check your facts. John Besh is a community leader and goes above and beyond when contributing to the less fortunate and community projects. Just for example www.chefsmove.org

                          Emeril does have the Legasse foundation which is a great fund raising tool, but I have heard of him being in one of his restaurants in years.

                          1. re: localfoodie

                            I know Emeril is at Emeril's from time to time and I've been told that Emeril holds family special occasion dinners at both NOLA and Del's. I've also been told that upper management, the ones that actually run the restaurants for big names with restaurant empires, eat and observe at all of the restaurants weekly.

                        2. re: texasredtop

                          While it's not wrong to pick on "the name", once you get several restaurants going there is probably at least three layers of management between "the name" and the diner.

                          Chef Besh probably has a Director of Culinary for BOTH and a Manager of some title for FOTH. Then each restaurant has its GM and Chef, then there are the Sous Chefs, floor managers/maitre d's, and table captains. All of that is supposed to screen you from the vagaries of line cooks and wait staff.

                          Day to day slips are generally in-house caused, although upper management messing with budgets, staff selection, vendors, can also mess things up. If problems persist then that is a problem with "the name"

                  2. I love Drago's, was just there once had the crab salad you mentioned, which was fantastic, along with 18 broiled oysters. Doesn't get much better than that!