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Hide your BBQ shrimp! Kukubura's coming back to town!

When the traffic report on the radio this morning mentioned "debris in the road" I started getting hungry because I'm thinking about all the great food we're going to have when we finally make our long-delayed return to our favorite city mid-December. Last time we were there we did this: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/633414 but now we are far more omnivorous (thanks to my wife's food blog, which was inspired by the last trip and has turned into a full-on obsession) and are armed with a long list of things we plan to eat. So far the rough itinerary looks like this:

Thurs:
Arrive around 11am or so, immediately hit MR. B's for BBQ shrimp (our favorite last time) and gumbo ya-ya (which we didn't have

)

For dinner, either COCHON or GREEN GODDESS maybe? Haven't been to either.

If he's playing, Kermit Ruffins plus whatever he's cooking.

Friday:
Breakfast: THE OLD COFFEE POT?
Lunch: Our traditional Friday COMMANDER'S lunch, of course. VERY much looking forward to that.
Dinner: Whichever dinner we didn't have the previous night, perhaps?

Saturday:
Breakfast: CAFE DU MONDE
Lunch: Po boys at some place out of the quarter, perhaps. Like DOMILISE'S or PARKWAY. Or someplace else?
Dinner: BRIGSTEN'S?

Sunday: The early flight I thought we would take isn't available on Sundays, apparently, so we have an extra meal! Probably brunch at LIL DIZZY'S in Treme, is what I'm thinking.

Of course, much grazing and snacking in between, plus drinks at all the great bars that we love, lots of music, etc... There are so many other places that we want to try as well. Any suggestions? Obviously I'm a regular here but that doesn't mean I know anything at all! And with plenty of time to plan we have plenty of time to anticipate!

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  1. LUCKILY!!! I think there'll still be enough BBQ shrimp to go around for everyone -- unless those silly people squeamish about the heads ever get edumacated, lol... Have only been to GG for lunch but have a friend who raves about the dinner there (different chefs for each).

    Love breakfast at the Coffee Pot -- especially if Shirley is working. One of the few places they still make calas, just wish they would serve them with Steen's cane syrup which would make them perfect instead of just great. And if Shirley is working it's the icing on the cake.

    If you want a poorboy out of the Quarter -- do you have a car? If so, drive way the heck up Franklin Avenue to Merlin's for IMO the best roast beef poor boy in the city. Otherwise, I'd suggest Parkway of the two because if the weather's nice you can include an after lunch jaunt around Bayou St. John or to City Park to walk it off.

    No early flight on Sunday, quel dommage, my heart aches for you! Haven't had Li'l Dizzy's at their restaurant but have had their food off campus so to speak when they have been at events or other places and always been happy.

    Be sure to have a Sazerac at Tujague's on Decatur and Madison - Paul and Michael both know how to make it right, and you will have then fulfilled the first leg of a round the world pub crawl published in Esquire a few months ago.

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    Coffee Pot Restaurant
    714 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

    Tujague's
    823 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

    32 Replies
    1. re: rouxdauphine

      Thanks for the thoughts! Tujaque's is definitely on the radar and we will take your advice on that sazerac (love it)

      We had a very memorable brunch at Lil Dizzy's last time we were there but due to our then-dietary restrictions passed up on some of the loveliness (including what looked like the best fried chicken I've ever seen) but this time all bets are off.

      We won't have a car. Domilise's and Parkway both appearl to us but we don't want to be swarmed with tourists (unavoidable I guess). I've always done Johnny's in the past for the convenience but it's time to try the others. I wish we could also get out to East Nola for banh mi but I don't know how realistic that is. (We've visited the big Vietnamese neighborhoods in Philly, DC and Prague (!) and enjoyed the food tremendously at all of them.) There's a decent banh mi near the FQ, isn't there? Is it worth splitting for a snack?

      Oh! We want to tried the whole grilled oysters thing. Drago's at the Hilton is quite a controversial choice here (let's not turn this thread into a debate on it) so should we have them elsewhere? Felix? I'm thinking of that for a snack at some point.

      Other places that we've mentioned... Elizabeth's, Jaque Imo's (which somehow sounds like it would rub me the wrong way with all its "wackiness"), and Bon Ton. We're definitely open to playing around with it to some extent (minus the ones that are carved in stone, of course, like Commander's)

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      Lil Dizzy's Cafe
      1500 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

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

      1. re: kukubura

        I know some people who are crazy about Jacque-Imo but I am not one of them. I even bailed out on a dinner an old friend had there when he came to town and just met up later.

        Certainly Bon Ton would be a good outing. they've done a good job with the cajun stuff for 40+ years. Its a comfy place.

        Grilled oysters have become such a fad that it is hard to give any guidance there. I've seen bars retro-fitted to include a grill just becuase of the soaring popularity of the things. And everyone is trying to perfect his own secret sauce. I've encountered feta, bleu, US Govt cheese, jalepeno, American White, havarti...you name it. Most of them ain't worth shooting. I do like the ones at Drago's in Metairie for a change of pace. the derided ones at the Hilton I cannot speak to since I have never had them (and it may well be that the famous Bill Hunt horror show was something else...jury's out). I think simple is best with that attack. For years we just grilled them in the backyard and had them with garlic butter or some variation. And sometimes the grill guy cooks the things to hell and back which ought to be an indictable offense.

        I don;t think you;ll have much tourist trouble at Dom's but maybe some visitors at Parkway.
        The latter will give you a broader choice of quality stuff. Most people get the shrimp (only) at Dom's

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

        1. re: hazelhurst

          Thanks Hazelhurst. Bon Ton definitely a strong contender. Although they are weekdays only, right? Could be Thursday dinner.

          As for grilled oysters, all those combinations don't sound too appealing to me. I want to just try the classic combo but getting out to Metarie ain't happening. Maybe we'll just belly up to the bar at the Hilton and give 'er a whirl. What have we got to lose?

          Sad that we likely aren't getting in a Galatoire's visit. I've spent much time thinking about making a triumphant return after that controversial visit two trips ago but this trip is a few days shorter than our usual NOLA trip and I don't know if it fits in. Never give up hope, however! Could still sneak in.

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

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

          1. re: kukubura

            I eat the chargrilled oysters at Drago's--both locations--quite often. I've never noticed any real difference. The places are different, but the oysters are pretty much the same--delicious. Obviously, atmosphere, experience, and all sorts of things can affect one's enjoyment of food, but in a blind taste test, I doubt anyone would know a Metairie Drago's char-grilled oyster from a Hilton Drago's oyster. Given that you haven't tried either yet, I can't imagine you'll be disappointed w/the Hilton oyster.

            1. re: kukubura

              I couldn't tell the difference between metairie and hilton locations either.

              Parkway is probably your best option for poboys. Domilise's fried stuff is good, but definitely steer clear of the roast beef. You might also consider Tracey's on Magazine.

              1. re: N.O.Food

                Tracey's eh? First off, that's my wife's name (plus they spelled it right...) The website makes it look like a very local places, which I like. Tracey's and Mahoney's are a nice walk from Casamento's. Would we be foolish if we skipped Parkway and got our poboy fix at one of those two places, so we could do a Magazine street sandwich walking feast? (Also, Domilise's is nearby as well and fried seafood is where my poboy tastes lie anyway...)

                How's the bread at Tracey's? And is Mahoney's good these days? I remember reading about awful, overly slow service. Bread is key since we can't get anything close to your bread up here.

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                Casamento's Restaurant
                4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                1. re: kukubura

                  Tracey's is everything but the name from the former Parasol's. Someone bought the Parasol's name and building, but the Parasol's folks left and started Tracey's. Parasol's had become my fav roast beef, and I haven't eaten at Tracey's enough to really comment, but the food seems nearly identical. Bread at Tracey's is good. Probably Leidenheimer's like most places, but not sure.

                  I ate at Mahoney's 4 or 5 times when it first opened, trying different things each time, and was not impressed at all. For example, I got a regular shrimp poboy and it had 4 shrimp on it. They were larger shrimp, but the sandwich was mostly bread. Not sure they make it like that anymore, but it was not acceptable. I also remember a cochon de lait that was dry as hell. Only things I felt were good were the meatball poboy and the onion strings. It may have changed since then, but I haven't been back. I gave it enough tries, and there are plenty of good poboy places around.

                2. re: kukubura

                  Why donl' you just go to Galtoire's Thursday night? Or afternoon? Hit up the Oysters at Mr B's, then wander over at about 3:00 or 4:00. Other very good possibility is Sunday afternoon. For waiters I could recommend any number but I'd guess you'd like Billy or maybe Tony(but Tony's schedule is varied...he might be off calling steeplechase races somewhere...I go months at a time without seeing him)

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    Man, you're making it tough to pass up...

              2. re: kukubura

                Greetings Kukubura! Good to see you start a thread! I know that many times the anticipation for a long awaited return is half the fun. In terms of the chargrilled oysters at the Hilton outpost of Dragos - go there - eat them. If my memory serves me right, Hunt had a less than stellar experience at the Hilton location with his MIL - which led to the initial discussion. I have been to the Metarie location twice & have eaten chargrilled oysters at acme, felix's, desire and I'm sure several other places. Let me assure you that Drago's definately have the best & there is no distinguishable difference between the ones found in Metarie/Hilton. They are absolutely delicious - make sure to get some extra bread to sop of the juices - being a lover of Mr. B's bbq shrimp sauce, I know you understand the joy of the sop - this will not disappoint.
                For the best po'boy, go to Parkway. There are good/very good/great po boys all over the city - but for my money, the ones found at Parkway cant be beat. You may have to wait in line, but, there are definately as many locals as there are tourists like myself. Oyster/shrimp/roast beef are all top notch - if you're feeling extra naughty, try the fries with cheese/roast beef gravy & try to save room for the turkey & alligator sausage gumbo - its terrific.
                I personally love the atmosphere at Jacque-Imo's - but I do understand that its not for everyone. Its a great place to go if you plan on making a night of eating & music @ the Maple Leaf next door.
                Brigtsens, to me, is a real toss up. I've had a couple of truly excellent meals there & a couple of disappointing ones. With only being in town for 4 days, I dont know that I risk it. Hopefully the advice for that dinner will start pouring in & I'll chime in when my memory is jogged - its too early & my coffee hasn't taken hold. Have a great day.

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

                1. re: GDPhalp

                  Ok, my brain is definitely sliding towards Parkway, but obviously this isn't the sort of decision that needs to be made months out. I'll let the choices dance around in my head a while longer.

                  Brigsten's is very attractive to me (moreso than, say, August or Stella!) but I have seen a few less enthusiastic opinions. Hmmm...

                  1. re: kukubura

                    Check out One Restaurant & Lounge or Dante's Kitchen in the riverbend if you are not going to Brigsten's. I have never been to Brigsten's, so no opinion on that. The other two are fantastic. A forty minute ride from the FQ on the streetcar (very scenic of course so it doesn't feel like a long time), get off right after you turn on Carrolton, and walk up Hampson for One or Maple (and then left on Dante) for Dante's Kitchen.

                    One has an amazing happy hour with food and drinks half price, so if I were you, I'd get on the streetcar at 4:30, hit up One for the first course (an interesting take on chargrilled oysters, gnocchi to die for, crab cakes, its all good), and then head to Dante's for dinner. Do it.

                    Also I think you should expand your barbecued shrimp horizons - what about Pascal's Manale?

                    1. re: lawstudent

                      Although Manale's is the originator, I wouldn't suggest going there for BBQ shrimp. I did so recently, and they were no where near as good as Mr B's. The ouster bar is good though.

                      1. re: expatorleanian

                        Dante's Kitchen is strong contender, although I don't know if we'll be getting bbq shrimp anywhere but Mr B's.

                2. re: kukubura

                  I have had Felix's chargrilled oysters on numerous occasions. One time they were meh, the rest of the time they were just dandy. Not an inspired presentation, but the flavor delivered. Classic old oyster saloon where if you order raw oysters at the oyster bar, they literally open them and set them down in front of you, yes, on the bar. You could start with some raw at one end of the bar, then move to the other end or a table for some chargrilled. BTW, Lee Harvey Oswald once worked there as a busboy.

                  1. re: rouxdauphine

                    Well the last detail is a big selling point for us for sure. But my wife, despite the fact that she is a brilliant cook and food writer, isn't an oyster fan. She's down to try the chargrilled ones for the flavor combinations but raw oyster eating isn't likely to happen. By the way, how is mid December for Oyster season, anyway? A little late?

                    1. re: kukubura

                      For gulf oysters, the colder the weather the better, thus Feb the best, but December is dandy as well. Try them at Casamento's

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                      Casamento's Restaurant
                      4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Wouldn'tcha know it, I was just coming back to mention that? I was re-reading my old trip report and got to the part where I was advised to come back during cold weather and go to Casamento's for the oyster loaf. Going on the list!

                        It also reminded me that I need to bring my paint box with me...

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                        Casamento's Restaurant
                        4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                        1. re: kukubura

                          Oyster loaf isn't my preference at Casamento's, because I don't care for the thick toast they use. You may feel differently of course. I would absolutely put Casamento's fried seafood up against anywhere else in town though. The BF and I have our standard order: 2 dozen raw, an order of crab claws, and a shrimp and oyster plate. In fact we ate there last night and the oysters were splendid.

                          -----
                          Casamento's Restaurant
                          4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                          1. re: uptownlibrarian

                            I wonder where the oysters are coming from (as in the zone, not the vendor). I talked to a friend whose family has been oystering for 100+ years and he said the situation is pretty dismal. They were trying to get the state to open some beds over at Sabine.

                            1. re: hazelhurst

                              I don't know, I didn't think to ask. They were seriously good though.

                            2. re: uptownlibrarian

                              Agreed. Casamento's has the best fried seafood. It's the lard I suppose. Is that true that they cook in lard or just a rumor? I've always heard it (and repeated it) but never confirmed it.

                              -----
                              Casamento's Restaurant
                              4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                                1. re: uptownlibrarian

                                  Thanks. Thought so. Their fried stuff is definitely great.

                                  1. re: uptownlibrarian

                                    Haha, nice. When we were still non-meat eaters we were thrilled to find a vegetarian lunch in Budapest (langos, fried potato dough topped with all sorts of great stuff.) Then we come home and read about it... it's fried in lard. Oopsie! No wonder it tasted so good.

                                    Well either way Casamento's has jumped to the top of the list.

                                    -----
                                    Casamento's Restaurant
                                    4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                              1. re: kukubura

                                Still owe you for leading me to Degustation in Prague. Will be following you to N.O. in January, so report back. l am doing Casamento's, Mosca's, Brigtsen's, and Commander's Palace.

                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                  Indeed! We definitely have some similar tastes. And I'd forgotten about Mosca's! What's the iconic dish there again? And is it accessible without a car?

                                  -----
                                  Mosca's Restaurant
                                  Hwy-90 W, Westwego, LA 70094

                                  1. re: kukubura

                                    Not really. It's a ways out of town. There are too many good places in town to worry about Mosca's.

                                    -----
                                    Mosca's Restaurant
                                    Hwy-90 W, Westwego, LA 70094

                            3. re: kukubura

                              Mid-December is prime oyster season, not late at all.

                          2. re: kukubura

                            Felix's only for 1/2 shell, w an Abita, standing at the bar. Jacques' food is mediocre at best. you'll fare better at Herbsaint than Cochon. Consider: August (m-f lunch is a steal. $20.11, 3 courses), Coquette offers 3 courses, $20, $5 specialty cocktails all day thurs. Lunch is a great deal, however my prefernce is dinner. Lilette for an all appetizer dinner. Emeril's for dinner.....Commander's food used to be this good. I agree that lunch in the garden room is a great time (good, not great food). Kind of like Galatoire's lunch. It's about the experience not necessarily the food (which I do like).

                        2. Kukubura, like you NOLA is one of my favorite towns and we visit frequently. I've been to all of the places on your list above except for the Old Coffee Pot and Lil Dizzy's (next time!).

                          Agree with Parkway as the best poboy accessible easily without a car (just take the Canal Streetcar to Jefferson Davis Hwy stop; it's divided so walk down the right side about 4 or 5 blocks to Parkway.) They are closed on Tuesday.

                          Might I suggest you branch out a bit for dinner or lunch choices? I know you have favorites, but there are so many wonderful restaurants in NOLA! Coquette has a wonderful lunch special, $20 for 3 courses, I think it's Weds-Sat. Patois is also great; I've had fabulous brunch there and dinner; I think they only serve lunch on Friday. Great cocktails at both, as well.

                          Enjoy, and know we will be sharing your fun vicariously, so be sure to post your experiences.

                          -----
                          Lil Dizzy's Cafe
                          1500 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

                          Coffee Pot Restaurant
                          714 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Niki in Dayton

                            I like the way you think but relatively few of my preliminary choices are old favorites. I've just read so much about them that I FEEL like they are. Commander's, Mr B's and Lil Dizzy's (the brunch steal) are the only repeats (well, and Cafe Du Monde.) The rest are all new. We're forgoing old faves like K Paul's, Joey K's, Napoleon House (although probably still on for drinks), Gumbo Shop, Johnny's, Clover Grill, Bennachin, Pelican Club, and others in favor of new experiences. But there are a few that cannot be skipped. That said, Patois and Coquette are definitely worth adding to the possibilities!

                            -----
                            Lil Dizzy's Cafe
                            1500 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

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

                            Clover Grill
                            900 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116

                            Joey K's Restaurant & Bar
                            3001 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                            Bennachin Restaurant
                            1212 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116

                            1. re: kukubura

                              Echoing a rec for Coquette; ate there again yesterday for lunch, which is very reasonable whether you go for the 3-course deal (which is indeed a great deal) or not. Great cocktails too. Coquette never disappoints.
                              Patois is pretty great too.

                          2. I would take the Canal St. Streetcar and head to Katie's on Iberville.
                            http://www.katiesinmidcity.com/menu.htm

                            order The Barge and The Boudreaux.

                            10 Replies
                              1. re: mrsfury

                                You guys are hitting me with reqs for places I've never heard about. Exciting! Tracey's... Katie's... very intriguing.

                                Looking at that menu it looks like the Barge + the Boudreaux is enough to feed a small army. Still, interesting (even though it sounds like Guy Fieri ate there, which is not a selling point). So if we were going to only do one meal of poboy type stuff which one would it be? Katie's? Parkway? A Magazine pigout of Casamento's + Domilise's or Tracey's?

                                1. re: kukubura

                                  Casamentos - yes

                                  Parkway - yes

                                  Come on kuku, you can fit them both in...

                                  Its so funny, when I am getting ready to head to new orleans, I get so wrapped up in talking/obsessing about the food that my wife asks "Are we planning on doing anything other than eating??" ...I bow my head & walk away...she just doesn't get it ;) I'm glad there are boards like this for people like me

                                  -----
                                  Casamento's Restaurant
                                  4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                                  1. re: GDPhalp

                                    Luckily for me my wife may in fact be more food obsessed than I am! (although I beat her on volume)

                                  2. re: kukubura

                                    For me, for po-boys, Parkway over Katie's anyday. And yes to Casamento's. Your next visit may come at a time of year when they're closed. Then you can check out Domilise's. I haven't been to Tracey's.

                                    -----
                                    Casamento's Restaurant
                                    4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                      This is actually our first oyster-season visit together. We usually come down in the hottest times of year (and getting married at VST on Rampart in June guaranteed that our anniversary visits would stay that way) but this year we're switchin' it up. Out with the creole tomatoes, in wit dem ersters!

                                      1. re: kukubura

                                        Then, by all means, make it to Casamento's.

                                        P.S. What is your wife's blog address?

                                        -----
                                        Casamento's Restaurant
                                        4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                          tastytrix.com
                                          Make sure to check out the New Orleans recipes under the world cuisines drop-down. (and watch as the photos get worse and worse the further back in time you go...)

                                    2. re: kukubura

                                      Katie's also does chargrilled oysters. Find them on Fb to see their daily specials. I will be back down in a few weeks and will be getting that Boudreaux and the St. Chuck duck at J"Anitas at the Rendon Inn.

                                      -----
                                      Rendon Inn
                                      4501 Eve St, New Orleans, LA 70125

                                2. If you hacen't been, Coquette is several blocks from Commanders on the corner of Washington and Magazine. Lunch w-sat, dinner every night. Thursdays (all day) speciality cocktails are $5. Perhaps brunch at Patois. Herbsaint (imo) is far better than Cochon. I prefer Parkway to Domilises however, if you want oyster poboys, go to Casamentos for an oyster loaf. Miss Mae's two doors down ( on the corner) has the cheapest drinks in town. Their bloody mary is pretty good. If you cross Na poleon and walk a few blocks, you'll se La Boulangerie's bright blue awning. Stop in for some dessert. Looking for good fried chicken, try Darians chicken and waffles w/Krystal syrup at Emeril's. Lunch only m-f. They offer a 3 course prix fixe for $19.50. Bon Appetit!

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

                                  La Boulangerie
                                  4526 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                                  Casamento's Restaurant
                                  4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

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

                                  Herbsaint
                                  701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: JazzyB

                                    Miss Mae's will give us the sustenance to continue our fried seafood feast! Thanks!

                                    I don't know if Coquette will make it this time because we're already going to the area for lunch Friday (CP) and Saturday (Casament's/Domilise's) but who knows!

                                    Thanks for reminding me of Herbsaint. Man, narrowing down dinner options for Fri and Sat is going to be tough! Herbsaint and Green Goddess might end up being the choices but there are so many others...

                                    -----
                                    Herbsaint
                                    701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                    Green Goddess
                                    307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                  2. We're heading to New Orleans tomorrow, too! We'll compare notes!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: FoodChic

                                      Sweet! Looking forward to reading about your trip!