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Dec 11, 2011 10:52 PM

Very Belated NOLA Trip Review

My wife and I enjoyed a week's vacation in NOLA back in May, and we had a great time thanks to the great posters on this board! Ever since, I've been meaning to post about it, and never got around to it. Though memories fade, there's still a lot that I remember about our meals, so here goes.

Brigtsen's -- This was our first night's dinner. Best dish was a fantastic fried soft shell crab appetizer. Very generous portion and it was delicious. Duck entree was a bit disappointing, though.

Cochon -- Had a lunch here. Enjoyed the hush puppies and boudin balls. Had a pork dish that was just OK.

Patois -- Foodwise, this was probably our best overall meal of the trip. The gnocchi appetizer were probably the best gnocchi I've ever had. The pork belly/scallop app balanced sweet and fatty beautifully. The Gulf fish was just perfectly cooked. The "snickers" dessert was creative but accessible and tasty. Unfortunately, service was a disaster. I overheard someone say they were down a server that night, but still no excuse. On the plus side, I emailed the restaurant after returning home and received a gracious reply from one of the owners offering to make up for it the next time we were in NOLA.

Drago's -- Lunch. Chargrilled oysters lived up to the hype. Entrees were OK.

Lillette -- Had an early dinner here, so we ordered a bunch of small plates in lieu of entrees. Gnocchi here was also excellent, as was the signature truffled toast. Enjoyed the setting outside on the porch.

Galatoire's -- Friday afternoon lunch. Really enjoyed the "show". Very old school. oysters en brochette was solid, as was the trout meuniere. By the time we finished, it was late afternoon, and things were pretty slow. Went to the bathroom before heading out, and just inside the doorway outside the dining room I passed a waiter fast asleep on a chair. Some might have been offended, but I loved it. Part of the charm of Galatoire's is seeing the restaurant go through its routine, same as it ever was.

Coquette -- Very modern, sophisticated food, but in a comfortable relaxing environment. Beef short rib was particularly good. Wine was excellent.

Green Goddess -- Lunched here late one afternoon. This is the kind of place that makes New Orleans what it is. It's in the French Quarter, but not OF the FQ. Bourbon St. feels like it's miles away.

Mr. B's -- Gumbo ya ya was good but not the best we had (more later). BBQ Shrimp was a fun mess, definitely worth it. How often do you get to eat a nice place with a bib on?

Commander's Palace -- Jazz Brunch. Loved the bright sun of the Garden Room. Atmosphere with the jazz trio was great. It felt like genuine old school new orleans, not a Disneyfied version. Loved the 1-1-1 soup deal. The gumbo and the turtle soup were excellent. Seafood bisque was the du jour that day, but didn't quite hit the mark. Cochon au lait was fine. Bread pudding was good, but my wife's strawberry shortcake was great. I don't usually like strawberries, but these tasted like they'd just been picked at their peak ripeness, which they probably were. They were bursting with flavor.

Emeril's -- Sat at the chef's counter, and was glad I did. Fun to see the bustling kitchen in action, and the chef at the station nearest the counter was friendly. Angel hair pasta app was great. I appreciate those who recced it; it's not something I would have ordered, and it doesn't look like much, but it has a ton of flavor. Andouille crusted drum was also superb. Didn't have room for the pork chop, but it looked spectacular, and the gentleman sitting next to us said that it was. Somewhere between rustic and refined, Emeril's is just straight ahead New Orleans style food done really well.

August -- I enjoyed August, but I'm also very glad that we had lunch here and not dinner. I can't say I experienced dinner, but based on my experience I don't think I would want to spend what one has to for dinner here. It was good, but not necessarily worth that top tier price, esp. when so much great food is available in NOLA for cheap. The hyped gnocchi was very good, but not quite as good as the other two gnocchis we had on our trip. In general, it felt very much like a lot of fine dining places here in New York, and that approach felt out of place in New Orleans, even if it was in the CBD. For those interested, my wife spotted Chef Besh in a meeting room somewhere in the back of the house, though he did not appear in the dining room while we were there.

Herbsaint -- Dinner our last night. Gumbo was great, maybe the best we had. Pork Belly was HUGE, and very tasty.

Thanks again NOLA Hounds! Can't wait to go back.

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  1. I feel the same way about August. I've been for both lunch and dinner and it is delicious, the setting is beautiful but I just always feel like it's not what I come to New Orleans for; it's food you could get in New York, Chicago, SF, etc. I think it is probably ideal for the lucky people who LIVE in New Orleans and get tired of the amazing food that we travel to get to !
    That being said, sometimes we'll just go in and have a drink at the bar; it's beautiful and the staff is so nice.

    1. In june, my only problem i had at all the restaurants i ate at was my service at patois. i may or may not give them another chance. i spent allot of money that night, food was great, but i feel that bad service is on of the worst things in one's dining experience.

      2 Replies
      1. re: califkatie

        Fair enough, but the food is Patois is SO good, and the way they handled my complaint was so sympathetic that I'm going to give them a second chance.

        1. re: califkatie

          I have the same problem with Patois. I sent my wife and her 2 girlfriends there for her birthday lunch. Had flowers delivered to the table. Ensured it was 2nd seating so that they could take their time and relax/chat. They said the service was crap, everything was rushed. They gave an attitude about the flower delivery, even though all was cleared prior when I made the reservation.
          I wrote them a nice letter just to let them know that there are plenty of restaurant in nola to choose from and bad service will deter customer no matter how good your food is. No reply.
          I would love to go and try the food as all review that I see are great, but I refuse to. Especially since I continually read random reviews about bad service.