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Jan 22, 2011 06:14 AM

Better steak dinner: Dickie Brennan's or Delmonico?

Trying to decide between Dickie Brennan's or Delmonico for a nice steak dinner. Which would you recommend in terms of quality of the steaks, service, ambiance. Many CH posters seem to think La Boca is the best bet, but my date just ate there recently, so that one's out. But any other recommendations outside of these three are also welcome.


La Boca Restaurant
857 Fulton St., New Orleans, LA 70130

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  1. Delmonico is better than Dickie Brennan's, and Mr. John's is better than either. La Boca and Mr. John's are the best steak places in the city by a wide margin.

    12 Replies
    1. re: uptownlibrarian

      It is to my shame that I, carnivorus extremus maximus, have not gotten to Mr John's although I have heard almost unanimous praise of its beef by people whose views I trust. But the steak at Delmonico is better that Dickie's, I am sad to say. I like Mr Brennan and his place is pleasant but it just doesn't cut it (for me) The truth is I'''d rather be at Crescent City Steak but that is (A) because I go back a long way in there and (B) I like the space. The steak might not be like Christ Cella's in New York used to be but, then, what is?

      1. re: hazelhurst

        Mr. John's is the spot to go for steak. Another good choice is either of the Ruth's Chris, but I prefer Mr. John's. Lots of good side dishes. They are open for lunch on Fridays.

        1. re: TaTee

          Believe it or not, the Ruth's Chris by the Harrah's was a very unpleasant experience for us. Besides the very loud bar crowd watching the LSU game, the service was poor, the appetizers below average and the steaks weren't even that good. Luckily I had a $50 gift card, otherwise it would have been truly aweful. When spending that much money, I expect fine dining service and on that night, it wasn't even close. I am surprised by the negative comments about Dickie Brennan's that I see on this forum. I thought it was heads and shoulders better than Crescent City Steakhouse. And if I wasn't convinced already, I am definitely going to try Mr. John's next time I go out specifically for a steak. Oh, and I went to La Boca last week and thought the skirt steak was eh. Loved the sauces, but the steak was simply okay. And my friend had the skirt with the fat cap and I thought it was bad. He liked it, so I guess that would be more of an aquired taste. I am not a huge pork belly fan either.

          1. re: shanefink

            Well, have not done Mr.John's, but of the other two, it would not even be close. Delmonico's, while not perfect, was far, far better, and in all respects - the food, the service and even the wine (weakest part of the Delmonico's experience). Still, others here extol the virtues of Dickie Brennan's, but for us, the ball was dropped at the beginning of the evening, and they never came close to recovering.

            We had reservations for 9:30PM, IIRC, but were not seated until about 10:45, and immediately told that we had better hurry and order, as the kitchen would be closing. OK, we rushed things, ordered, but I think that the kitchen had already closed. Nothing was very good, and the steaks (filets) were horrible. Most of the food was cool to cold, and there was zero wine service, as it appeared that the servers had left too. Not one reason to ever go back. In later times, my nephew was a sous chef there, and begged us to try it again. We respectfully declined. Too many good restaurants in NOLA to waste a perfectly good evening. He's now an executive chef in RI, so we no longer have the familial pressures. Others are welcome to dine there, and I hope that they enjoy their experiences. Once was more than enough for us.


        2. re: hazelhurst

          There are many things that I love about Crescent City, but the quality of meat just isn't there anymore, and the sides have always (in my memory) been pretty awful. For classic steakhouse meats and sides, Mr. John's is tops. I love La Boca too, but it's not the traditional American steakhouse experience.

          1. re: uptownlibrarian

            I think that the "American steakhouse experience" is in flux right now. I feel that we will see a shake out of that genre, and hopefully the good will survive.

            Though not relevant to NOLA, Phoenix has lost a dozen great, unique restaurants, and the powers-that-be have put in steakhouses. Most have a big-name chef as the consultant, and their names are featured. All are over-the-top expensive, with US $80 steaks, and I am not talking about Kobe or Wagyu here. Sides are in the US $12 range, and wines are marked up about 600%. All are bleak excuses for pouring $ down the drain. The days of "expense account meals" seems to be over.

            Though not a real "steakhouse" diner, I have experienced some good one, and even a few great ones, but the current crop seems to have missed the boat - on the time that they opened, the quality and prep of the beef and on their service.

            Though not typical per general US standards, I always enjoyed Charlie's and Chris (the original) steakhouses. When in NOLA, I seldom seek out a steakhouse, as we are guests at too many around the country, so any quota has long since been met. Now, that does not mean that I won't order beef from another chef, or another general type of restaurant, but just not a typical steakhouse. Heck, one of my all time fav. filets was on the island of Kaua`i, at a high-end resort's signature Italian restaurant. This hunk of meat is probably #3 of all time. Number 1 was at a tiny restaurant in Winter Park, CO, and #2 was a Kobe #5 at Prince of Wales at the Del in SD, at 4x the price of the other two. Guess that it should be good!

            Though NOLA is not known as a "steakhouse city," like Chicago, parts on NYC, and Kansas City, it IS nice to have a list of some of the good ones around.

            I also think that steakhouses are like gumbo - personal preferences.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              fitzmorris had an interesting article about new orleans steakhouses, suggesting we historically had more quality chop houses than one would expect, owing to Italian heritage. I'll see if I can find it.

            2. re: uptownlibrarian

              You are quite right---and at its best Crescent City was never The Top...but the place is so much fun that I overlooked the shortcomings. It is akin to Maylie's...even when things were not A-1 it was still a fun place to be.

            1. re: uptownlibrarian

              Not a fan of Dickie's, Delmonico or Morton's. I've not been to Mr John's, however, Besh Steak is very, very good. A curtained booth in the back helps with the ambience.

              1. re: JazzyB

                I have never eaten at the casino and I had forgotten about Besh Steak, so there are two steak restaurants at the casino? Ruth's Chris and Besh?

            2. What about Morton's and Shula's, nor suggesting they are any better or worse than others, just wondering if they should be in the conversation? A long time ago I had the porterhouse for two at Morton's and it was memorable. In any case, I need to go to Mr. John's.

              6 Replies
              1. re: CharlieH

                i find Morton's and Mr. John's to be comparable, to Mr. John's credit.

                i enjoyed Morton's huge dinner for two for $99 but its been raised since then. Morton's cocktails are pretty outrageously priced tho, many drinks in the mid & upper teens. for this reason i only hit Mortan's for their happy hour -- cheap martinis and excellent small plates.

                1. re: CharlieH

                  Shula's had the best steak I've had in town, but it is very expensive and no one likes to mention the chain restaurants. It's also a bit stuffy in there. It's really only suited to the suits.

                  1. re: CharlieH

                    I have not done Shula's in any location, and have not done any Morton's in NOLA, but I will not go to Morton's, unless my host insists on it. I've dined at a half-dozen Morton's locations around the US, and have never had a good meal. I have not paid for even one, and have bee pressed into service to choose the wines, with virtually unlimited expense accounts. Even then, things were not worth ever considering going back. I liken them to being "adult McDonalds," with an extensive and very expensive wine list.

                    Of that ilk, I have enjoyed myself at Del Frisco's, Brooks and even Capital Grill. Do not think there is a NOLA outlet for any.

                    I am not a real "steakhouse guy," but have dined at several, and both of my own volition, and on my own $. All have been far, far better, than any Morton's, that I have been to. Remember - I have NOT been to Morton's in NOLA, but in many other US cities, so the NOLA version could well be a different place, altogether.


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      I have dined at Morton's two locations in Atlanta as well as NOLA. My visit in NOLA was end of long weekend for the Sugar Bowl. We got last minute reservations on a Sunday night. The hashbrowns were cold and replacements came after we had eaten most of our steak. I have dined at Shula's in Orlando and usually have been very satisfied. Delmoincos is a great choice in NOLA they have dry-aged USDA prime beef as well as options other than steaks.

                      1. re: Edward Tyson

                        Thank you for the report on Morton's NOLA. Locations CAN vary, and though I have had marginal to bad experiences at many others, those experiences do NOT address the NOLA location.

                        We've found great variations at restaurants, like Roy's Hawaiian Fusion, by Roy Yamaguchi. Now, his Mainland restaurants are under a different corporate umbrella, than his Hawai`i and Tokyo locations, but each location can differ. In very general terms, we have enjoyed the Mainland restaurants more, plus they also seem far quieter. Guess it's the location?



                  2. I'm a big fan of classic steak houses. I had lunch with a group of friends today at Bones Steakhouse in Atlanta. Like Hunt, I usually don't choose a steakhouse when in the Crescent City. I have dined at Dickie Brennan's and Delmonico. I had great meals at both establishments. i prefer dry-aged USDA prime beef which usually narrows the field. If not dry-aged beef then I expect it to be USDA prime. I would expect the level of service to very good a both establishments. Delmonico offers in-house dry-aged beef, Dickie Brennans does not.

                    1. Anyone know whether Mr. John's dry ages or wet ages their beef or for how long? The website is pretty mum on it all, except to say that it is USDA prime.

                      1. Thanks everyone for the input. We ended up dining at Delmonico - no reservations to be had at Mr. John's that night.

                        We started with the lamb meatballs which were served with a simple eggplant camponata that complemented the lamb, and did not overpower the meat. The appetizer list (small and medium plates) was extensive, and many of the options I'd like to try when dining again with a larger group.

                        I had been to Delmonico before and knew it wasn't the dark wood, low lights that most people envision when they think steak house, but we were really more concerned with the steak itself and I myself could not have been more pleased. I had the filet mignon and it was cooked to perfection. My date had the strip steak, which he enjoyed, but tasting both I preferred the filet.

                        We had the asparagus and garlic fried potatoes, both of which were good but nothing to write home about. I spied some of the mashed potatoes at another table, and even from 10 feet away they looked delicious.

                        We finished up with the bananas foster - a delicious end to the meal.

                        The main goal of the meal was a delicious steak and I can certainly say Delmonico delivered in that regard. After all the replies though, I am very much looking forward to trying out Mr. John's and Crescent City Steakhouse.