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Headed to NOLA tomorrow - quick critique of Thursday dinner plans, pls...

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My husband & I are headed to NOLA for the first time (for both of us - very excited!) tomorrow and will be there for 4 days/3 nights.

We're hoping to "plan" some meals and stumble into the rest of them. I've gleaned suggestions from this board and from friends who live in & around the area but I'm finding a great deal of inconsistency re: some restaurants. Since we're down south, we're hoping to experience proper creole cuisine at some point, thus we've strayed from Stella!, Coquette, and MiLA (more fine dining, less regional) and Dominica (menu reads like Cinghiale in Baltimore, MD, or many places in NYC) but I'm second guessing myself on our current reservations.

Right now: we're reserved at Herbsaint for dinner tomorrow, Emerils for Friday lunch and Cochon for Friday dinner. Saturday is entirely open. There is definitely a po boy lunch in our future (perhaps Ignatius?) and beignets (a trip to Cafe du Monde, no doubt!) but is there anywhere else we definitely want to hit for some real New Orleans cooking?

Please advise - I'm sure wherever we end up will be fabulous but I always appreciate CH input!

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Cochon
930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

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

Herbsaint
701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

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  1. Li'l Dizzy might fight the bill...any of the Famous Places can give you the battery of turtle soup, trout in various ways etc. You'd need to dress up for something like Commanders, I suggest. There is always Mandina's for the neighborhood take on local favorites and you won't be affected, as I am, by its post-Katrina look. Other possibilities are Ralph's, perhaps Clancy's.

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    Mandina's Restaurant
    3800 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119

    1. Perhaps one of the Bistros along Magazine Street would fit the bill, like Lillette, Patois, or Coquette. After all, we do have a strong French heritage as well. If you prefer the Quater there is Meauxbar. I assume you decided against Galatoires.

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

      1. Looks like you have a great trip planned out to me! Im a big fan of brigsten's if you are looking to fill that last nights reservation.

        1 Reply
        1. re: twyst

          Good call.

        2. While I am a frequent diner at Emeril's and much prefer the food over Commander's, I highly recommend Friday lunch at CP in the garden room. Just a wonderful,fun time. reserve Emeril's for dinner, it 's when they really shine. IMO, Cochon is best for sharing some appetizers for lunch. You will need resvervations for most fine dining.

          Take a private carriage ride in the evening. Bring your favorite libations or ask the driver to stop at Napoleon House and grab a couple of Pimms Cups.. enjoy!

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          Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
          500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

          Cochon
          930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

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

          1. Very good suggestions, all of them. Brigsten's seemed to be a little removed from the CBD and so on - is it somewhere to just walk into without a reservation on a Saturday evening?
            Appreciate the input - will let you know what we work out!

            2 Replies
            1. re: nycreba

              Open table has an option to put in date/time. It will show availability of all participating rest. Saturdays without a revs can be tough.

              1. re: nycreba

                Brightsen's - a really good choice! It is located in Riverbend, which is only a few minutes by cab from downtown. Can take streetcar during the day, but don't walk at night...You will definitely need reservations.

                Po-boys - during the day, take the Red Streetcar towards City Park. Walk a few blocks along Bayou St John and you will find really good roast beef po-boys at Parkway Bakery. You should wash them down with a Barq's.

                Could also try the muffaletta at Central Grocery - can buy just half of one, get drinks to go, and head to Jackson Square or the Riverwalk for a picnic.

              2. try grazing on Saturday. I recently started at Mr. B's for gumbo ya ya and bbq shrimp, then went to Galatoire's for oysters rock and crabmeat lorenzo then Hermes Bar at Antoines for oysters foch w/ stops at Napoleon House for Pimm's Cups and a spin on the Carousel at the Monteleone. just a thought.

                for a poboy, take the streetcar down Canal to Katie's on Ibevrville and get the Barge, hard to pass on their Boudreaux pizza made w/cochon de lait. or stop at Mandina's for turtle soup and an oyster poboy.

                cheers~

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                Mandina's Restaurant
                3800 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119

                Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
                500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

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

                1 Reply
                1. re: edible complex

                  Yep I like those recommendations!

                2. Oops, missed your post, as I was in San Francisco.

                  Good comments above, and please take a few moments to offer reviews and critiques of your choices, whether from this board, or not.

                  Travel safely, and most of all, ENJOY!

                  Hunt

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Thanks, all for the suggestions. We ended up at Herbsaint on Thursday night, and it would have been a pretty great meal save for two pret-ty significant details. One was the timing (sub par) of the meal and the other was the fact that although we informed our server(s) of my husband's nut allergy, they still made an appearance on his plate and thus an unfortunate end to our evening was had.

                    Sat promptly for our reservation, greeted warmly and cordially. Service was lovely - attentive but not overbearing. We made my hubby's allergy known, talked about specials, ordered our meal.

                    We started with the gumbo which was a touch watery but flavorful. Followed with the shrimp & grits (with tasso and okra) which was a highlight - enough so that I was willing to overlook the (slightly) overcooked shrimp. Next was spaghetti with guanciale and a fried poached egg...this was beautifully prepared. Followed this with a soft shell crab special that was a standout - perfectly cooked. This was our favorite.

                    Up until this point, we're loving the vibe of the restaurant and the taste of the food but the pacing of the courses was off. We would wait 15, 20, 30 minutes for our next plate to arrive...enough time that we would discuss the lag, look around, notice that other people's meals were arriving.

                    The tables around us received an amuse bouche that wasn't offered to us. The table next to us heard about a pork chop special that wasn't read to us...the extensive length between courses gave us time to notice these details, look at each other, and shrug.

                    What killed us was dessert. Ordered the chocolate pudding pie and asked that the cashew ice cream be left off the plate: nut allergy. Cashew ice cream was removed, caramel corn with nuts remained. Hubby spent the rest of our time at the restaurant in the bathroom before I put him in a cab and got him home.

                    Miserable end to a mostly lovely meal.

                    Otherwise, enjoying our eating very much! Yesterday was lunch at Cochon Butcher (omigod - the duck sliders? pancetta mac & cheese? pork belly sandwich? whole lotta YUM!) and was marvelous.

                    Went to Emeril's today for lunch, sat at the bar at the pass through and enjoyed some very good food, and are returning to Cochon proper tonight for dinner.

                    @edible complex - thanks so much for the great suggestions for tomorrow! I think we'll browse & graze & snack our way through the FQ for po boys, fried oysters & etc. Looking forward to it!!

                    1. re: nycreba

                      Just wander into Galtoire's Subnday afternoon about 3:00 and put yourselvein teh waiter's hands...and stay for several hours. you will be rewarded. I do not think they have many nuts in there, apart from the almonds...and some patrons.

                  2. NOLA recap:

                    Thanks, all, for the great suggestions.

                    As I wrote above, Herbsaint was a miss, but Cochon Butcher and Cochon were really wonderful for lunch and dinner, respectively. We enjoyed sampling small plates at both meals and contemplated going back yet again for our third day out & about.

                    Saturday grazing: started at Johnny's in the FQ for a shrimp po'boy which was...well, pretty good but I'm not sure it was the BEST THING I EVER HAD. But it was an authentic NOLA po'boy and so I suppose that counts for something.

                    Walked about for a bit and then headed to the bar at Mr B's for a ginger beer and the BBQ shrimp which were outstanding. That was a fantastic recommendation. No room for bread pudding, sadly.

                    More coffee at Cafe du Monde in the later afternoon (but no room for beignets after the shrimps...) and then had a later dinner/snack at Napolean House where we split a 1/2 muffaletta (omigod - SO good!), had the requisite Pimms, and tried the red beans & rice and jambalaya. Red beans were pretty good - jambalaya passable. But the sandwich was pretty incredible.

                    Didn't make it to Galatoires or the Monteleone but did hit up Sazarac @ the Roosevelt Hotel for, well, sazaracs and also the Polo Lounge for drinks as well - both well made cocktails.

                    Again, appreciate the wonderful recommendations and will look forward to other NOLA eating in the future!!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nycreba

                      Thank you for taking the time to report on your trip.

                      Glad that most went well.

                      Appreciated,

                      Hunt