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Upperline-Yes? No? Maybe?

Hungry4Good Sep 22, 2011 12:15 PM

I haven't seen much here about Upperline, lately, post-succession of new chefs. Anybody have any reports? Now on their third since Ken Smith. Maybe 3's a charm?

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Upperline Restaurant
1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

  1. l
    Littleman Sep 23, 2011 01:07 PM

    Upperline is fine. I like Cafe Atchafalaya also. My favorite there is Clancy's. Coquette is nice also. Good luck.

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    Upperline Restaurant
    1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

    Cafe Atchafalaya
    901 Louisiana Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

    1. j
      JazzyB Sep 28, 2011 07:10 PM

      No, but I've necer been a fan.

      1. whs Sep 29, 2011 06:13 PM

        Yes - we enjoyed much more than Brigsten's, which we thought was over-rated.

        12 Replies
        1. re: whs
          s
          steakrules85 Sep 30, 2011 12:15 PM

          I'll be there tonight so I will let you know. I plan on having the duck so it will be interesting to see how it stacks up with Brigtsen's.

          Like you, I was underwhelmed by Brigtsen's also.

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

          1. re: steakrules85
            k
            ktbear7476 Sep 30, 2011 12:20 PM

            I hope it is still good. When we were in New Orleans 8 years ago it was phenomenal. I still think about that duck.

            1. re: ktbear7476
              j
              JazzyB Sep 30, 2011 02:43 PM

              Here's the thing; restaurants like Upperline and Brigtsen's rarely change the menu. Good for visitors, stale for locals. Brigtsen's seems a bit more seasonal, rotating a solid collection of favorites.

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

              Upperline Restaurant
              1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

              1. re: JazzyB
                s
                sanglier Sep 30, 2011 07:42 PM

                Brigsten's, overrated?! Well, last night's meal, as all other, dispels that notion. Lack of specials? For sure. Utterly consistent and delicious! Always.

              2. re: ktbear7476
                s
                steakrules85 Sep 30, 2011 10:37 PM

                Upperline was superb and so worth the trip. Every course was beyond delicious and the staff was so gracious and attentive. I had the spicy shrimp with jalapeno cornbread, fried oysters with remoulade, and the signature roast duck. Everything was scrumpdidly. The duck and basically the whole entire dinner blew the doors off of Brigtsens. The next time I come back Upperline is definitely a must to return to. Other plates looked awesome also.

                Unfortunately Joann had to be at a convention but I had a great talk with her husband while I was waining for my can back to the hotel. He was a wonderful nice man and I made sure to tell him how great the restaurant is and not to change a thing. He said even though the restaurant is in flux with the changIng of the chef he made sure to drive home that the menu will be the same as it's always been. Which is to say classic and out of this galaxy!!!

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

                Upperline Restaurant
                1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

                1. re: steakrules85
                  s
                  sanglier Oct 1, 2011 12:08 PM

                  Upperline "blew the doors off" Brigsten's! Not on their best day...

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                  Upperline Restaurant
                  1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

                  1. re: sanglier
                    s
                    steakrules85 Oct 1, 2011 02:10 PM

                    Believe me they did and it honestly was not even a little bit close.

                    1. re: steakrules85
                      s
                      sanglier Oct 1, 2011 08:40 PM

                      I like them both and am not trying to take away from your feelings for both places, preferences are preferences. But I've been eating at both for the entirety of their existences since the early/mid-1980s, back when JoAnn had her son Jason as the inaugural chef. So my comments are based on some 25 years of comparative meals, and over this span, IMHO, Brigsten's wins. It may be comparing 9.5 to 9.7, but there it is. Wonder what other long-time natives think of this comparison...And BTW, glad you had a nice time here, Steak!

                      1. re: sanglier
                        s
                        steakrules85 Oct 3, 2011 10:25 AM

                        Thanks a lot sanglier! Yeah, I hear you. Everyone has difference food preferences, experiences, etc. I am only speaking on my one experience at each place and judging on that Upperline was the favorite for me. Like I said, it wasn't that Brigtsen's was bad. It just didn't wow me like I was hoping. Could have been an off night, or a product of me ordering the wrong thing, etc. But I did go with the signature duck.

                        As for Upperline on the other hand, it got far less press but it was special in every way. On my next trip to NOLA I am definitely returning.... I'd give Brigstsen's another shot at some point but probably not on my next trip since there are so many restaurants I haven't tried yet that are on my list for next time.

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

                        Upperline Restaurant
                        1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

                        1. re: steakrules85
                          s
                          sanglier Oct 3, 2011 03:17 PM

                          Are you as amazed as I am that a city this size has so many restaurants, and how many are so damned good?! Hurry back Steak, we love having such foodies in our midst!

                          1. re: sanglier
                            s
                            steakrules85 Oct 3, 2011 06:24 PM

                            it is awesome.

                  2. re: steakrules85
                    c
                    califkatie Oct 2, 2011 01:10 PM

                    thanks for the review. i have been wondering how it was going with the chef changes. can't wait to go on my next visit.

            2. h
              hjacmc Oct 3, 2011 11:54 PM

              I have found these posts to be a bit amusing, especially about the Brigtsen's vs. Upperline duck offerings. Each is special in its own way, but for my part neither can hold a candle to Greg Sonnier's version at the sadly late Gabrielle.
              Nevertheless, both of these establishments are grand, and I wonder if the preferences are not to be found in the diner him/herself? If I want an intimate dinner I go to Brigtsen's; something more cosmopolitan - Upperline (just for the artwork alone, but also the hospitality); if I want to see lots of friends and hobnob with people it's Clancy's; want to see new people, Patois, or a dozen other new places.
              I think it finally boils down to this: rather than trying to set up a competition between these fabulous restaurants, shouldn't we just be celebrating the fact that we have wonderful choices?!!

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

              Upperline Restaurant
              1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

              1 Reply
              1. re: hjacmc
                s
                sanglier Oct 4, 2011 06:18 AM

                Well put.

              2. e
                ElizabethAnnEats Jun 13, 2012 07:22 PM

                I realize how old this thread is but I stumbled upon it as I got curious and began looking around for reviews of Brigtsen's. We spent last week in Nola, part fun -part biz (mostly fun). Some reps had planned to take a few of us out to dinner on Friday and turned to me for suggestions on where to go. I have a NO restaurant bucket list and Brigtsen's as well as some of the others mentioned in this thread are on that list, with Brigtsen's being highly recommended just a few months prior by a good friend. I provided links for several sites and Brightsen's was agreed upon based on the menu selection (a party of 7, we opted for diverse variety to please everyone). I ordered the pulled pork over maque choux griddlecake and had to restrain myself from licking the plate clean. I truly dislike posting negative reviews, however I must say that sadly my appetizer was the only good part of my whole Brightsen's experience. For one, the flow between courses seemed off. Long periods of time would go by and we'd all be sitting there with empty glasses before she would come back around, and even then some would be offered more drink and some weren't. As I said, my app was delicious and everyone else seemed to enjoy theirs also. But then came the entrees. My husband and I both got duck, not the same duck dish but both duck nonetheless (this irks me because usually we get different dishes so we can try different items), and one other in our party got the duck as well. Amoung the others were the tuna, veal, another fish dish, and something I can't remember. When I took a piece of my duck meat I was so disheartened. It was cooked to death, dry, and quite hard. It was difficult to pull the meat apart and it had no flavor. My duck was literally inedible but I didn't want to call any attention to my situation. All i ended up eating was the cornbread dressing under the meat (which wasnt great) and my mashed potatoes. The mixed veggie side looked so ho-hum i didnt even touch it. A bit later my husband leaned over and whispered to me that his duck was horrible. By the end of our meal no one wanted to attempt dessert. When all of our plates were cleared, the third duck recipient proclaimed for the whole table (and everyone else in the room, which thank goodness wasn't many) that "that meal was about on par with McDonald's". I felt horrible. When we got back to the hotel, the person who ordered the tuna told me how much his "sucked". People were talking about that meal days after, and just today at work someone came up to me and said, "heard you got a really crappy dinner in New Orleans". I'm apparently the one responsible. And I feel horrible for the reps who paid to provide a nice dinner for everyone.
                The point of this post is that I see so many rave reviews on this place, even within this thread, I just can't see how a restaurant that's so well established with such a following can turn out to be such a nightmare on my first time getting to experience it. I want to chalk it up to it just being a bad night (on a Friday no less, but I did find it odd that they had very few diners on the evening we went), or that we just got the wrong thing, but I will never be able to convince my hub to go back. I guess the moral is that regardless of the reviews and individual tastes aside, you never truly know about a place until you go there. I will never again recommend a place that I haven't already experienced.

                11 Replies
                1. re: ElizabethAnnEats
                  c
                  collardman Jun 15, 2012 04:14 AM

                  Your party has provided the first poor review of Brigtsen's that I can remember. Don't be so hard on yourself. Just about every "name" restaurant reviewed on this board has local fans and panners. There are a few N.O. restaurants that most people love that I have tried and dropped to the bottom of my list to be eventually given a second chance.

                  Just because you've tried it and liked it doesn't mean everyone in your party will agree the next time you go.

                  1. re: collardman
                    s
                    sanglier Jun 15, 2012 06:31 AM

                    'Liz, I gotta say, if there is one dish from one restaurant that gets universal praise, it's Brigsten's roast duck! So you and your party certainly should've been not only safe, but delighted. The fact that it was off so badly is a shame. What other dishes were ordered? Did your whole group dislike all that was served, save for the pulled pork app?

                    1. re: sanglier
                      Monch Jun 15, 2012 11:18 AM

                      I'm a devotee of Brigtsen's and a purchasing professional "in real life".

                      My mantra is: "Give a seller a hundred chances to thrill you and they'll SURELY disappoint you once or twice...98% ain't bad."

                      A bad night is inevitable. I'm saddened that ANYONE had a bad experience at Brigtsen's.

                      We've never had anything but solid to excellent food and excellent to fabulous service.

                      1. re: sanglier
                        e
                        ElizabethAnnEats Jun 18, 2012 01:32 PM

                        The tuna was ordered also and I was informed after we got back to our hotel how awful it was. Plus, when I got back to work the next week, a co-worker walked up and said "I heard you all had a really crappy dinner," so it wasn't just me or the duck. I can say another in our group got the veal and practically wiped the plate clean. The others had some kind of fish, not tuna, and never really commented. Maybe we should have all gotten the veal :)

                      2. re: collardman
                        k
                        kibbles Jun 15, 2012 11:36 AM

                        we arent crazy about Brightsen's -- it's a "meh" for us. been there a handful of times, had the duck, had the soup, etc. i found the same, sad vegetables sides on every entree to be an unfortunate throwback to the '80s. i saw little innovation going on the plate -- and im not referring to molecular gastronomy. just...effort, really. a desire to create. im not seeing that on their static menu.

                        are you? have we managed to go on the nites where it's alway the same old recipes from twenty years ago? or maybe he's too busy w/ other business endeavors?

                        cute space, and very friendly staff (the sisters hail from minnesota, my home in another life)...but when it comes to the food i just think theres much more interesting (and delicious) options than Brightsen's.

                        1. re: kibbles
                          j
                          JazzyB Jun 18, 2012 04:16 PM

                          Exactly. The old "don't fix what isn't broken" philosophy at work. Same can be said about K Paul's, Upperline, Herbsaint, Cochon and on.

                          1. re: JazzyB
                            s
                            sanglier Jun 18, 2012 05:33 PM

                            I know of few restaurants that don't keep their core stuff and change around the edges. Who has a different menu daily/weekly?

                            1. re: sanglier
                              j
                              JazzyB Jun 18, 2012 06:42 PM

                              Some seem to have a rotating core rather than actually adding new dishes. Yes, the menu changes but it's still the same old .

                              1. re: sanglier
                                k
                                kibbles Jun 19, 2012 12:44 PM

                                but does Brightsen's even change around the edges? and is it truly "not broken"? i know its a running gag on here, but c'mon those veggie sides (attached to multiple entrees) are 1980s dining...and not in a good way. they arent designed to compliment the main.

                                i guess i expect at least seasonal offerings. see Coquette or GW's -- i know what the chef can do and what to expect of him, but i never know what that will be on any given day. perhaps thats over the top, and i dont expect daily menus from everybody. but i do expect them to invest thought (and hopefully creativity) into the plate.

                                first world problems, i know.

                                1. re: kibbles
                                  j
                                  JazzyB Jun 19, 2012 01:23 PM

                                  I've been saying that exact same thing about Brigtsen's for years. He does not serve a cohesive plate with complimentary components. Yes, mashed potatoes and veggies are not only dated but lazy. Funny thing, years ago he had softshells on the menu ? Thesese are excellent with the meuniere and pecans. Anyway, I ordered two. One as my app, the other served when the other entrees came out. The waitress asked if I'd like them to make the softshell an entree for me. Why not? What arrived was the app softshell with mashed potatoes and veggies. Yum!

                                  1. re: JazzyB
                                    s
                                    sanglier Jun 19, 2012 02:08 PM

                                    That has driven me nuts for years! I agree, so lazy, especially when you think of the various sides available: coucous, Israeli couscous, dirty rice, wild rice, brabant potatoes, and 10,000 vegetable sides. Clancy's is about as equally side-dish lazy. Don't get it.

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