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Two nights in New Orleans, near Sheraton on Canal Street -- want food I can eat only in NO.

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Hi hounds,

I'll be in New Orleans the next two nights. Staying at the Sheraton on Canal Street. Two dinners, two lunches: where to eat? Here are the criteria.

1. I want food that's special to New Orleans -- I've read about a lot of great restaurants on this board, but a lot of them (Cochon, Domenica) seem to be in a more cosmopolitan "fine dining style," perhaps with New Orleans influence, and I'm more going for full-on Cajun or Creole (or other special Louisiana food I've never heard of!)
2. Don't mind spending money within reason
3. Won't be wearing a jacket (but also won't be wearing flipflops and shorts.)
4. Won't have a car, so walkable from Sheraton is a big plus.

E.G. it looks like K-Pauls fits my bill, and from what I read on this board it's not only famous and a tourist destination but actually really good -- true?

UPDATE to my question: Just learned I'll be having dinner with a vegetarian one of these nights. What's suitable?

-----
Domenica
123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

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  1. My favorites according to your request are Galatoire's, Emeril's, Bon Ton, Irene's, Mr. B's and Bayona. All are outstanding and you can walk there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Littleman

      I would also add NOLA (another of Emeril's restaurants) to that mix.

      Enjoy,

      Hunt

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

      1. re: Littleman

        I think the Bon Ton is great and plan to bring my family when we visit in April. That is definitely a real NO restaurant.

        Also, I second the positive comments below about Creole-Italian cuisine. While I haven't been to Irene's, Creole-Italian is definitely unique to NO.

        -----
        Bon Ton Cafe
        401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

      2. BBQ shrimp is something you won't get anywhere else - they are not what you think - they are not shrimp that are barbecued. Mr. B's has my favorite version of them. They are like no other and every year I think I love them more. Coat not required - at least at lunch.

        1. You have gotten some good recs from Littleman, Bill Hunt and texasredtop. All authentic and well-regarded New Orleans spots within walking distance from the Sheraton. At some of them, notably Galatoire's, you might feel more comfortable in a jacket.

          Here are a couple of other casual options, both on your hotel's doorstep:
          1) Palace Cafe - Brennan family operation like Mr. B's but a bit less splendid, just across Canal
          2) Ruby Slipper - local fave for hearty breakfasts and lunches, practically behind your hotel

          About Cochon: it is much less cosmo fine dining and much more Cajun than you think. It is where Donald Link really lets his Acadian roots show. Not that you need go there. A bit far to walk, and besides you have Cajun covered with Bon Ton and K-Paul's,

          Finally, yes, K-Paul's is good. I recommend the casual "Deli-Style Lunch," served Thursday-Saturday. Very solid bargain and do not worry: it ain't pastrami sandwiches but rather down-home South Louisiana food.

          -----
          Palace Cafe
          605 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

           
          14 Replies
          1. re: erikschwarz

            Cochon is as local as they come - nothing "cosmopolitan" about it, other than rave reviews from the national press. You should reconsider it.

            Galatoire's requires a jacket, so once again,. Littleman has provided you with his standard list, without reading your requirements.

            Had one of the WORST meals ever at Palace Cafe - would skip it.

            Ruy Slipper is a sweet little local brunch place, you can get their standard eggs and pancakes anywhere, and there are FAR better lunch spots

            NOLA is touted by out of towners - Hunt is usually spot on, but in this rare instance, I need to take issue with his recommendation. Mila is a far better example of contemporary Louisiana cuisine.

            Irene's is Italian, albeit with a Creole style - lovely, but not "special to New Orleans"

            Bon Ton is exactly what you're looking for.

            Green Goddess would work for your vegetarian friends (although on the whole it is more eclectic than traditional).

            Although often overlooked, I am also a big fan of Pelican Club's menu (New American with a local flavor).

            1. re: paz5559

              Galatoire's requires a jacket only after 5 pm and on Sundays. As I wrote above, one might feel more comfortable there in a jacket; however, it is de rigueur only as specified.

              Your terrible experience at Palace Cafe was anomalous. They are a well-oiled Brennan's operation and generally deliver standard if unexceptional NO cuisine at the lower end of the Brennan price spectrum. Current deals there include weekday happy hours with $5 small plates, wine and cocktails.

              Ruby Slipper is best known for breakfast, but they are making a real effort with lunches at their new downtown location. And while one can get eggs and pancakes elsewhere, if staying at the Sheraton one cannot get them any closer excepting in hotel.

              The Italian-Creole (or Creole-Italian) style, of which Irene's is an exemplar, is indeed "special to New Orleans" and is well documented in our local food literature.

              Agreed that Green Goddess is far more eclectic than New Orleanian in any conventional sense, though co-owner Chris DeBarr is a beloved local chef. Most of the better restaurants in town will fix a nice vegetarian plate. I have been told on more than one occasion that the cooks enjoy the challenge. Wonder whether that is true.

               
              1. re: paz5559

                +1 that Cochon is not cosmo at all and is a great cajun option.

                +1 that Ruby Slipper is not really anything special when considering other lunch options.

                +1 that MiLa is more impressive than NOLA, but that despite this NOLA is more popular.

                -1 on Irene's -- it is creole italian and unlike what is found elsewhere. the baked oysters are terrific; the Amandine Meuniere w/ jumbo lump, souffled sweet potatoes & haricot vert is one of the best; the Duck is outstanding and my favorite version in the city; the colossal Crab Cakes (special) excellent and the Creole Cheesecake heavenly. its very "special to New Orleans". but if we are trying to cut back on the long wait times im all for downplaying it. :)

                +1 on pelican club. i always send guests there to enjoy the seafood martini, the steak w/ crab or shrimp cakes, the artichoke stuffed scallops, and many other local seafood variations. they have a 4-course prix fix menu:

                http://www.pelicanclub.com/menu.html

                ...im also a fan of Palace Cafe for more casual-dining nola fare. space is classic, the Turtle Soup solid and the Crab Cheesecake very special. service is usually pretty amateur, i hear because its where Brennan's trains people in.

                1. re: kibbles

                  We all pretty much agree on this list. But I would not compare NOLA and MiLa and I like both of them.

                  MiLa is more polished? refined? The menu is simpler and also more expensive. NOLA is more the bistro with dishes that are more robust. And both are drawing from much the same basic sets of ingredients.

                  MiLa can be more refined in the source of the ingredients as NOLA probably does more covers almost every night than MiLa does in a week.

                  But the basic answer is that they both do local cooking well.

                  1. re: collardman

                    sure NOLA does more tables but i dont think that has so much bearing. Stella or Ausut both do more tables than MiLa as well but are also polished and refined. its simply a cooking choice made by the executive chef.

                    myself, while i see emotional appear of going to NOLA in its attractive space in the quarter, i havent been rewarded with food at the level id like it to be at. which is why its not on my rotation... if an out-of-town guest doesnt request it, we dont really go. cant say the same of MiLa since we do enjoy its polish/refinement/whatever, and visit it periodically. the "sweetbreads in black truffle grits w/ sherry bacon jus" blows our minds...!

                2. re: paz5559

                  Galatoire's only requires a jacket after 5 PM and on Sundays. I think everyone should be so lucky as to eat at Galatoire's and I highly recommend it also.

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

                  1. re: texasredtop

                    I was dinning at Galatoire's on a Friday evening after 5:pm in early December and I was required to wear a jacket, it that jacket rule something new only on Sunday after 5:00 pm? You must try Galatoire's for lunch, no jacket require. Irene's. Emeril's NOLA in FQ.

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

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

                    1. re: nola1421

                      It's after 5 pm AND on Sundays, as in, dinner every day and all day Sunday.

                  2. re: paz5559

                    +1 for Bon Ton and Green Goddess.

                    We ate at Ruby Slipper once for breakfast and liked it (Mid-City location - I believe there's another in the CBD unless it's my grey hairs showing). I had the cochon eggs, it was a special. There was enough food for four meals.

                    -----
                    Bon Ton Cafe
                    401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                    Green Goddess
                    307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

                    Ruby Slipper Cafe
                    139 S Cortez St, New Orleans, LA 70119

                    1. re: mrsfury

                      You are still as blonde as ever. Ruby Slipper has opened a location at 200 Magazine Street, corner of Common.

                      1. re: erikschwarz

                        "Blonde as ever" LOL I like you erik. The 200 Magazine location is only a few blocks from my office. I hardly ever cross Poydras though.

                    2. re: paz5559

                      I had never done NOLA, but found ourselves in need of a reservation, and they fit the bill. I held my breath, based on many reviews here, but quickly overcame any trepidations. They delivered on all counts for me. Yes, it was only one visit, but they hit ALL the high notes, and did it with grace, style and class. I am not saying that others are wrong, but that we had a wonderful meal, and I grade hard, and did not expect this meal to be so good.

                      Two locals allowed as how the NOLA BBQ Shrimp were better than Mr. B's. Been a while since I did BBQ shrimp at Mr. B's, so it would not be fair for me to compare. Those two are locals, and on the fringe of the restaurant business, so I listen, when they talk.

                      It's been the same with brunch at Brennan's. I was not a fan, growing up near and in NOLA. I thought that it was a tourist trap, and resting on its laurels. Then, many years later, I found myself there. I was very impressed. Went back, and they did even better. Last time, it was near 98% on all counts. Was I wrong before? Maybe, but I think that things changed, and for the better.

                      Is NOLA always good - I cannot comment, with only one visit. However, that visit was excellent. I have nothing else to judge them on. I admit that I am now but a tourist, but one who grew up in NOLA (the city) and one who did marry a local. She was impressed too, as were those other family members, who still live and dine there.

                      Hunt

                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        " I admit that I am now but a tourist, but one who grew up in NOLA (the city) and one who did marry a local."

                        We would never call you a tourist. (Grenade drink in hand, Mardi Gras beads out of season, tee shirts at dinner.) You are an expatriate!

                         
                        1. re: erikschwarz

                          Ex-pat, eh? Thank you for elevating me up many notches. Not sure that I am worthy, but the gesture is greatly appreciated.

                          Hunt

                  3. Just returned from a Family Trip to New Orleans and we stayed at the Sheraton too!
                    Hopefully this can give you some good ideas:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7552...
                    I had a whole slew of other places (listed within the post's link) that are within walking distance from Sheraton, but many of them were closed because of the Christmas holiday. Fortunately, that won't be the case for you!

                    Happy Eating!
                    http://theavidbaker.wordpress.com

                    1. Hi everybody -- just got back from Cochon, which was superb, and exactly what I was looking for. My friend and I shared a variety of small plates and sides: black-eyed pea gumbo, boucherie plate, alligator with chili aioli, fried boudin, green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade, wood-roasted oysters, smothered greens. Everything was terrific (with the boucherie plate a special standout) and with a couple of beers and tip it was $120 for two. Thanks for the guidance!

                      -----
                      Cochon
                      930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Machaca

                        Take a cab or streetcar to Brigtsen's in the riverbend for some local flavor. Skip Palace Cafe and NOLA. Emeril's flagship is much better. Try it for lunch. Do not miss the angel hair w/ exotic mushrooms/tasso cream sauce, Abita rootbeer bacon (porkbelly) salad. The andouille crusted drum and banana cream pie are musts as well. They also offer a prix fixe, 3 courses, $19.50.

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

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

                        1. re: Machaca

                          Further (brief) update. Lunch at Galatoire's on Friday. Not as grand as I remembered. The turtle soup was superb, but the trout amandine which I remembered as glorious was -- well -- ordinary. To be honest, the trout was a little mushy. Dinner with the vegetarian at Bayona, which was a little more in that "cosmopolitan style" and less New Orleans. My rabbit was very good, but I felt that for all the big noise they make on their web page about being vegetarian-friendly, there were few vegetarian options on the menu, and what the chef made for my friend based on a few questions from our waiter was -- well, it was fine, but not at the level of the menu dishes. So Cochon was the big winner of the trip.

                          -----
                          Cochon
                          930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                          Bayona
                          430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

                        2. I recommend trying Dargo's for the charbroiled oysters(a must) so delicious. Mr. B's for bbq shimp. Bbq oysters at Red Fish grill. The one thing you must try and you will love it is our world famous LUCKY DOG, found on several street corners. The best six dollar hot dog you will ever eat! and so New Orleans!! Not recommended for the Vegetarian. Desire on Bourbon is good place fot local food. Head to Cental Grocery and get a Muffaletta to take home or walk back down to Jackson Sq. and enjoy it there. K-Pauls is good.

                          -----
                          Muffaletta's
                          69305 Highway 21, Covington, LA 70433

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: AStone

                            Obviously, you have had better meals at Drago's, than I have. Some have stated that the Metairie branch is better, and by my experience, it would have to be. Here is the review: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/570653

                            Now, things can change, but then they should, after my dreadful evening.

                            Good luck,

                            Hunt

                          2. Think Redfish Grill. This place is great and not the typical tourist trap. Then someone mentioned Metarie. Heck go to Fat City and go to Crazy Johhny's. That place is stupid cheap and GREAT food. Not fine dining but great food at a great price!!!
                            Peace Out!!