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Lillette or Herbsaint?

As you all know, planning meals for a trip to New Orleans can be daunting. This will be our fourth visit, and we're trying to hit some new spots. I've narrowed down our options, researched who's open on Sunday and/or Monday, and feel I'm pretty close to a solid list. My primary dilema remaining comes down to Lillette or Herbsaint. I've read lots on these boards about each, and I'm expecting someone to recommend Coquette instead. However, if it came down to these two, which would you choose and why? For perspective, this trip will include breakfast/brunch at Elizabeth's, Patois, and Mother's (unless someone has a better option for a Monday b'fast); lunch at Mr. B's, Willie-Mae's, and a yet-to-be-determined po boy; and dinner at Stella! and Jaques-Imo's. Favorites from past trips have included Cochon, Butcher, Nola, Commander's (brunch), Slim Goodies, Cooter Brown's (great time watching games there), and Parkway. Past disappointments include August (probably due to really high expectations), Brennan's, Court of the Two Sisters. Thanks.

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  1. Monday breakfast, I'd do Blue Plate Cafe, Surrey's, Coulis or Camellia Grill before Mother's. All open Monday.

    Lilette or Herbsaint, I could go either way. Right now I'm feeling Herbsaint.

    4 Replies
    1. re: BayouTeche

      Go to Herbsaint and make sure you order the Housemade Spaghetti with Guanciale and Fried-Poached Farm Egg- you will not regret it. I've eaten there twice and loved almost everything I've had.

      1. re: Bdav1818

        Herbsaint is my favorite restaurant. Lilette is quite good, but I give the overall edge to Herbsaint. The duck confit with dirty rice and any fish special are worth keeping an eye on, and the gumbo, whatever type it may be that night, is a no-brainer.

        1. re: sanglier

          I agree, it's Herbsaint. Lillette is nice, but Herbsaint is a cut above. Also agree that the gumbo is one of the best around.

      2. re: BayouTeche

        For breakfast, I would go to the Coffee Pot rather than Mother's. The wait isn't half as long and the food is better. I read horrible reviews about the service at the Coffee Pot but that has never ever been a problem for us. Some of the waitresses can appear to be a bit rude, but they always have a twinkle in their eye and love it when you throw it right back at them. Once that happens it is like being at Grandma's house!

        I don't get that feeling at Mother's. They just remind you that they do expect tips despite the signs on the wall that say "no tipping"...

      3. Seems unanimous. Thanks for the advice. Looks like Herbsaint is the choice, unless all the Lillette fans are remaining quiet in order to keep the place to themselves. And, BayouTeche, thanks for the Monday b'fast recs, too. They look like good options.

        1. Go to both. Skip Jacques-imos.

          4 Replies
          1. re: JazzyB

            JazzyB, please elaborate. I've heard Jaques-Imo's is a must for the food and the experience. What's the counter-argument?

            1. re: erk313

              Jacques is quirky and boisterous. A funky, fun spot to be sure. However, (taking a phrase from Open Table) " not fit for foodies". The food quality is lacking and is at best, mediocre. You will get a far better meal at Coquette, Patois, even a stellar all appetizer meal at Lilette... for a just a tad more. Personally, I would take the opinion of anyone recommending Jacques' food (excluding the fried chicken) with a grain of salt.

              1. re: JazzyB

                I completely agree, for whatever that is worth.

              2. re: erk313

                i will reprise my role as the vocal support of JI's.... it's not *supposed* to be as good as Coquette of Patois. at all. it's a funky place next to the music bars on Maple Street; that's it's purpose. that they have the best fried chicken in town is a plus. a few other good dishes -- the the shrimp-stuffed pork chop, the alligator cheesecake, and the deep-friend roast beef poboy. clearly, this is not a fine dining restaurant, nor should it be compared to one...but it is fun and one of a kind. don't go if loud ambient noise is an issue, and be prepared for a wait if you don't arrive early or late on popular nites. my only complaint -- too many entrees, they should focus on the winners and drop the rest.

                have fun!

            2. I like your choices, they look well diversified, and fun. Jacque Imos is not Stella. It is loud and raucous. I was very surprised by the food. We were a table of 6 and ordered all over the menu. I thought the quality was excellent, my only quibble, portions are massive. Remember that if you go, split entrees! there are alot of different slyles of restaurants in New Orleasn. I like to mix it up with fancy and fun.

              1. For what it's worth, I had the best meal of my time in NO last year at Cafe Atchafalaya (in the Garden District). The shrimp n' grits and the boudin-stuffed quail were two of the best things I ate during the entire trip. If you have time to slot another place in, that's the one I'd personally head back to; I think it's more of a locals place than a tourist magnet, which is also nice.

                1. I've not been to Lillette, but I fawn over Herbsaint -- that place is seriously delicious.

                  1. Hmmm... Well, I will have to be the one to vote for Lillette over Herbsaint. Just better meals all around as well as fantastic cocktails. But I agree with the general sentiment that you are better off doing BOTH and skipping Jacques-Imos unless it's the "experience" you seek and not the food. And I'll agree about Cafe Atchafalaya too. Had excellent brunch there a couple weeks ago. Good live jazz during Sunday brunch too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kate7047

                      Herbsaint by a nose. I too would skip JI's altogether and go to both Herbsaint AND Lilette. I know you said not to, but as an aside, you should also consider Bistro Daisy and La Petite Grocery as two future options if you are willing to venture out of the FQ.

                      Mother's is a tourist trap, and should be avoided. Camellia Grill and Blue Plate are OK, but the food is nothing special. Surrey's is my favorite, but Cake Cafe, Elizabeth's, Ruby Slipper, Red Gravy, or Satsuma Cafe would all be funky, fun, low key alternatives for brunch.

                    2. Put on the big boy belt and do both in one night!

                      1. Herbsaint. And please don't go to Mother's.

                        1. Thank you all for the advice. We've been swayed. I've opted for Lilette in place of Jaques-Imo's for Friday night, and will dine at Herbsaint Saturday. Above all, you'll be pleased to note, we will forgo Mother's for Monday's b'fast. I'm still combing through the alternatives, but I appreciate all the options in place of Mother's.
                          On a somewhat related note - I was able to get a 9:00 reservation at Lilette Friday. I see that Kermit Ruffins is scheduled to play the Blue Nile at 7:00. Does anyone know if that will be the actual set time? In my experience, the time listed is usually for when the doors open, then openers take the stage an hour or so later. However, there's another artist listed as performing the Blue Nile at 11:00. So, is that 7:00 a reliable set time? If we could squeeze in some drinks with the BBQ Swingers before our dinner reservation, I'd be a happy man.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: erk313

                            Since he's started doing 7:00 shows, I've only been to Vaughan's. He'd start around 7:30 or so.

                            1. re: BayouTeche

                              Excellent. I did a bit of research, and came across this: http://www.nola.com/music/index.ssf/2...

                              Finally, a performer who understands!