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Jul 19, 2011 07:21 PM

Feast closure

So I went to the Feast New Orleans website just now and it says they've closed down as of July 10th. Hate to see that. Do you think there is any particular reason they never caught on here? I think it's what people THOUGHT they'd be getting foodwise and thus staying away vs. trying it and not liking it. Maybe there are just too many other restaurants nearby competing for the discretionary dining out dollar. Thanks for giving it a go, blokes!

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  1. For me, they never really hit the radar screen. I knew they were "out there" but just never thought about going at a convenient time. (If I did think about trying them it was at 3:00 in the morning and then I'd remember I thoght about it while I would be eating at, say, Clancy's.) But we may be at a saturation poiont for the present size of the city and the tourist trade. I thought about this after Smith & Wollensky shut down following Katrina...their pencil-pushers probably were looking for a graceful way out before the storm but the lack of the hotel across teh street didn't help afterwards.)

    I've lived long enough to have a fairly impressive list of restaurants I have outlived. Some of them were just Mom & Dad died and the kids did not want to carry on. Others were location decay and what I always hear described as "change in public tastes." These last have killed some great places.
    In the end, there probably were not enough people dedicated to the philosphy of a place like Feast to sustain it on a regular basis. But who knows?

    8 Replies
    1. re: hazelhurst

      i went on a Groupon, and sorry to say, would not have gone back. I think it missed on many levels. Tying the decor so closely to the food probably wasn't such a great idea either.

      1. re: CharlieH

        I never went in...what was the decor issue.?(I am having thoughts of an abbatoir picture or maybe a rendering plant).

        One of the best sausage makers I know must have two hundred pig figurines around the counter. You do not forget where that stuff comes from.

        1. re: hazelhurst

          It was all large two tone scenes of like the medieval harvest and country life.

          1. re: CharlieH

            The harvest pictures might have fatigued me and thrown me off my appetite. Kinda like that fitness magazine that once ran a cover of someone hiking up a mountain was their worst selling cover so after that they went back to putting perfect-and-unrealistic physiques on the front

            1. re: hazelhurst

              Wasn't that the cover with you and me, in our workout clothes? That was there best-selling edition, IIRC...


        2. re: CharlieH

          we went on a groupon as well -- and loved it. the food was excellent, the atmosphere dark and inviting. sorry to see them go.

          1. re: kibbles

            Sorrry I never made it...I like dark and inviting.

            1. re: kibbles

              A group of 4 of us went on the groupon, were really excited to try it out. Sad to say it just didn't hit with any of us (and i think my uber-buttery, rich vegetarian entree was the best thing on the table). We did enjoy their mint/pea crostini, and am now making it regularly at home (sooo easy!!) but we ordered a lot of things off the menu (two of our diners are extreme hedonists when it comes to dining) and the consensus (of four people who love to go out to eat) was that the food, service and atmosphere were all just "meh."

        3. There are just too many honestly good kitchens in NO for something like that to survive. They put out bland, boring, monocrome plates and sold it at a premium by using a schtick. You can trick the tourists for one meal but the rest of us will go elsewhere.

          13 Replies
          1. re: rabeezbabee

            I was going to not bother, as the place is gone, but this comment is so off base that it can't go unchallenged.

            The food was lovely. It was inventive, traditional, eclectic, and really well done. I went with a group of 4, and everything we had was terrific, from a refreshing gaspacho to pork cheeks, and all for $20 at lunch.

            The flaw of the place lay in it's inability to catch on. The food they served was terrific, but being based in the CBD, and not promoting itself well, they just couldn't survive the Summer doldrums. Many had the perception of heavy English fare - not inviting in the heat. I was pleasantly surprised when I went at how many light dishes they had on their menu, but word never got out.

            This was a genuinely nice bunch of young chefs, with an idea that worked well in Houston. New Orleans is the worse for its failure, and piling on after the fact seems unkind.

            1. re: paz5559

              You're right. My opinion was badly timed and everyone has their own tastes. I hope whoever moves in has more success.

              1. re: paz5559

                I only went once and wished I could have tried it again, but the one experience was a definite miss. That kind of food is definitely in my wheel house but the execution on the day we went for lunch wasn't there. Pork/veal cheeks were swimming in grease and lacked depth. It was served with some root vegetables and some kind of greens. Over salted and again, incredibly greasy....and believe me, I dig greasy food. A friend got the gulf fish and it had a peculiar flavor. I'm sure it was fresh, but it sure didn't taste fresh. Anyway, I wanted to like this place, I really did, but it was a bad experience and I didn't rush to get back. Sad to see it close though.

              2. re: rabeezbabee

                bland and boring? I'm not sure we ate at the same restaurant -- sure you weren't at the fake-Cajun Mulate's across the street?

                Feast put out well executed, but rich and heavy, dishes.

                1. re: kibbles

                  Like I suggested, the shtick was a very easy trick to pull off.

                  1. re: rabeezbabee

                    what was the schtick, and what was the trick? and if it was easy to pull off wouldn't they still be open, with as much acclaim as their other location?

                    really not understanding what you're saying.

                    we had some very rich, heavy dishes that were delicious. while delicious is subjective, im not sure how rich-and-heavy can also be interpreted as bland.

                    1. re: kibbles

                      Sorry, Kibbles, I'm not with you on this one. We went for my birthday in November with 6 guys and my meal was not good at all. It was a while ago and I can't remember what I had, but only one out of six said he liked the food. It was also a Saturday night and dreadfully slow. I also noticed at the time that the bar was only half stocked, missing essential types of liquors. I got the impression that the ownership wasn't really giving it their all. That happens sometimes, as I just experienced in Gentilly. You just run out of money and don't think it's a good idea to sink more into the place. I bet many of the bad experiences were due to short-staffing, which is what you do when you are failing. I would never have given it a second visit.

                      1. re: shanefink

                        but what was the "schtick" and what was the "trick"? still not really sure what that means; that's my question to the fellow who said it was bland food.

                        1. re: kibbles

                          Rich & heavy can certainly be bland...fattiness/heaviness don't contribute much in the way of aroma, heat, nuance, or delicacy. Stick your finger in a carton of heavy & fatty & bland.

                          I made it to Feast not too long before the closing.....I'd heard/read so much copy about the Houston location's nose-to-tail approach, but it wasn't really evident in the late Feast menus. Pork cheeks & neckbones were the closest thing to exotic on the menu. Whoop de doo. I can get more offal at a plate lunch joint in the 'hood than I saw at Feast, and way more variety meats at your average Cajun meat market.

                          Perhaps they simply misjudged their new market....not enough esoterica for the thrill-seekers, yet not ordinary enough for the masses. Practically NO marketing didn't help matters, along with a rather stiff (and bare bones) staff, no buzz in the room whatsoever....

                          Props to whoever at Feast was making that bread. Thick-crusted, chewy, full of flavor....tasted like a wild-yeast, high-hydration hearth loaf.

                          1. re: Hungry Celeste

                            That bread was awesome! Went several times. Sometimes good, sometimes so-so. I remember all the dishes being very similar - same sides, etc. I will say I was surprised to see a Sysco truck out front the first time I went there. Bummer to see it fail though.

                            1. re: Hungry Celeste

                              point taken on the cream; however in our experience the dishes bordered on over seasoned (salt) than non-seasoned.

                              yep that bread was really good.

                            2. re: kibbles

                              My intention was not to reply further, as we are all unhappy about a local restaurant closure. Since Kibbles is so adamant about hearing more, I'll say that my meals there were uninventive, grey, under-seasoned and straight from the English country meals textbook. I'm not sure what your cooking resume looks like but bland and fatty exist in two very unrelated realms of taste and one's under-seasoning can't really be corrected by "over-fattening."

                              I hope my tone comes off well here. I don't mean to be rude but Feast was pretty universally unappreciated by the food community here.

                              1. re: rabeezbabee

                                wellll.... the only thing im adamant about hearing more on is what the schtick was they used as a "trick" to sell expensive food to tourists. sorry but that claim just seems so unusual that until you make it clear ill keep asking. british food? was that the schtick/trick?

                                i joked about Mulate's across the street but that really does fit your description much better -- they use "cajun" to sell over-priced, bland fried crud to conventioners & tourists. i really cant reconcile that same business model with Feast's.