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Galatoire's POOR service and CANNED Peas!

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jsfoodchat Dec 28, 2011 07:02 PM

We went there in NOLA for my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary dinner due to the wonderful reviews we had read. BIG MISTAKE!

We found the service to be lacking - not because they were slow or absent but because they were plain old rude. Is this style of brisk, curt service in style? The almond fish was good the rest was plain or even bad. Overall a number of things happened that made it UN-recommendable:

A few things happened:

On arrival, my husband who was wearing DKNY jeans, an Ed Hardy t-shirt and an Armani jacket was told he was not dressed correctly to enter. He was told gentlemen had to have a COLLAR on their shirts. Really? I knew the place needed a jacket but T-shirts and Suit Jackets are all the rage - since when do you need a collar? Worse - the man behind us wearing a STAINED, FADED, black "mock neck" T-shirt was admitted no problem! But he was old and "stately looking" (and not pushing a stroller...) go figure!

When my cousin ordered a Caesar (a Canadian favourite made with vodka and Clamato juice) the server said "I've been doing this for 20 years and nobody has EVER wanted THAT before" in a condescending tone like we were ordering something from the moon. Yes, we Canucks know that the American version is a Bloody Mary with Tomato juice but we sometimes forget to call it that. We didn't need to be raked over the coals for it!

Next, I had my four year old daughter present. She can sit like an angel through a dinner with her ipad and headphones - you wouldn't even know she was there BUT she does need a kid friendly meal. As such, I inquired about the kids menu. I was told that there was no kids menu that my best bet was to order something she could eat from my dinner (i.e. to share). I was also told that they could accommodate by preparing a plain chicken dish but that I would be charged full price - ie. $17 or so (the average entree price). I agreed to pay the full price and get my daughter her own dinner. I ordered a plain chicken of some kind and asked that they put a simple vegetable on the side (i.e some peas or carrots or something). The server made it clear that this was troublesome as they charge another fee for a side of veggies. I said "Really, she eats maybe one carrot - can you just put one on the side??" She agreed that she could do something for the full entree price. I was thankful but she was not gracious at all. Very snooty.

Next point is the fact that this James Beard Award winning restaurant uses CANNED PEAS in their entrees! Yes folks they are CANNED!!! I couldn't believe it so when my Aunt said she wasn't enjoying her dinner on account of the fact it was covered in mushy, flavourless, GROSS, canned peas, I was shocked (and embarrassed for the restaurant selection). I asked the server if they were canned as I was hoping they were just "mushy peas" like the kind the Brit's eat. She came back and reported that "yes they were canned BUT we aren't charging you for them anyway!" She assumed I was complaining about the "FREE" peas she had put on the side of my daughter's $17 entree plate!!! Wow! Nervy!

I explained that I wasn't concerned about my daughter but rather about my two aunts who had both ordered a dish covered in canned pea monstrosity. She said "that is the way that dish has been made for 50 years - to use fresh peas would RUIN the flavour." There was no offer of a new meal, no apology, nothing. Clearly we were wrong for questioning their use of canned peas!

Really? Would any true chef every advocate for a canned pea??? Seriously! That is rubbish!

I had several LOVELY dinners in NOLA - Galatorie's was NOT one of them. For the kind of money you will spend in this lined up, loud, crowded place - GO TO COMMANDERS PALACE - now THAT was a great meal in a beautiful setting with first class service! Give Galatorie's a miss!

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  1. pikawicca Dec 28, 2011 07:30 PM

    I have eaten at Galatoire's many times over the past 50 years. Never had anything approaching bad food or bad service. Can't imagine what your aunts ordered that was covered with peas, canned or otherwise. Don't know why you expected them to have a kiddies' menu -- not that kind of place. There are many items on the menu that my kids enjoyed when they were young.

    I hasten to add that I am by no means a "regular." The older gentlemen in tattered raiment who obviously got you bent out of shape no doubt was. Probably eats there a couple of times a week, as did his father, as did his grandfather, etc. Tourists cannot expect to be treated the same way. That's just how NOLA (not just Galatoire's) operates.

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    1. re: pikawicca
      j
      jsfoodchat Dec 28, 2011 07:54 PM

      Don't get me wrong on the "kiddie menu" we thought we were going out "upscale" as it was a 50th wedding anniversary dinner for 8 people and I didn't want to get a sitter for my daughter so I wasn't expecting crayons. Also, I have absolutely no problem paying the entree price (and she liked the plain chicken breast too) - but for the server to insinuate I was complaining about my "free" side of canned peas with my $17 chicken entree was a bit over the top for me. Especially on the heals of the rest of the snobbery.

      You are right about the old boys - the place was full of loud men who looked like they were holding court and busty women spilling out of their too tight dresses looking like they wanted to "be discovered." This is not a place for a table of Canadians wanting a fine dinner of southern style food with great service and ambiance to celebrate a special occasion. I am deeply sorry we didn't go to Commander's Palace.

      Very simply, I chose wrong.

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      1. re: jsfoodchat
        kukubura Dec 31, 2011 07:41 AM

        Your final statement is the most important one. Galatoire's is not like other restaurants. My now-wife and I had a disastrous dinner there in 2008 but I realized later that it was our fault because we didn't know enough about the place. We stumbled into a situation that we weren't prepared for and everything that came after was easily predictable to people in the know. We went back again recently (as I'll detail later today in my trip report) with a better understanding of what to expect - and a better plan of WHEN to go - and had a lovely time.

        Another note, New Orleans is a place that you need to do right. Wear the right clothes and the restaurants will see that you respect them, so they'll show you a very high level of respect in return. Walk in to Galatoire's with an Ed Hardy monstrosity on and you'll get the shaft up and down. Similarly, go into a restaurant with a long and intricate history of making regional cocktails and order some obscure Canadian drink, and don't be surprised if they turn their nose up. You can like it or not, but that's the way it is. If you figure out how to dine in NO you will have the best experiences of your life. But if you do it wrong it can be an out-and-out disaster. I kind of love that about it!

        (A little more about our first trip there: We were dressed to the nines and didn't receive any rude service. However, it was Friday dinner and the place was a madhouse. There was a table of overgrown local fratboys celebrating a birthday and they made a complete mess of the place, screaming, going from table to table, and doing other things that I don't want to mention any more. They caused so much confusion that our server spilled a bottle of red wine on my jacket. It was just straight up chaos. We had no idea about the whole Friday thing. Now we know.)

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        1. re: kukubura
          h
          hazelhurst Dec 31, 2011 08:01 AM

          You cannot imagine my delight to hear that you have enjoyed the old place. I do so hope for people to revel in it. It is unique to The City.

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          1. re: kukubura
            texasredtop Dec 31, 2011 08:34 AM

            haha, who enjoys a place that spills red wine on their jacket? Only at Galatoire's!! So glad you buckled to tradition and had an unforgettable time.

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            1. re: texasredtop
              kukubura Dec 31, 2011 01:13 PM

              I'm nothing if not persistent in my seeking of culinary pleasure!

              edit: Also, that disastrous earlier visit was followed by many, many cocktails at the Carousel Bar with a family who had just been through the same ordeal and then asking my gal to marry me out on Royal Street in the middle of the night, so it was certainly a memorable evening, from beginning to end. The Gal's craziness will definitely be seen through the kind prism of memory considering the rest of the night!

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            2. re: kukubura
              c
              CanadaGirl Dec 31, 2011 11:02 AM

              I am not in agreement with everything the OP said, but, in Canada a Caesar is in no way an "obscure drink" but is actually one of the most commonly ordered drinks. For many Canadians, I would think they wouldn't realise it isn't common everywhere.

              In any event, specifics of this situation notwithstanding, I think that it is unreasonable to expect a first timer anywhere to be aware of any norms specific to a particular restaurant. Should one of these norms be broken, I believe it is up to the establishment to communicate this respectfully, and for the patron to then go with the flow.

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              1. re: CanadaGirl
                kukubura Dec 31, 2011 01:12 PM

                Right, but to be fair, New Orleans isn't in Canada. ;)

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                1. re: kukubura
                  c
                  CanadaGirl Dec 31, 2011 01:31 PM

                  I know! :) That's why I said some of us wouldn't know it isn't common everywhere - I meant outside of Canada.

                  Because there is nowhere in Canada where it isn't common! It is a pity for the rest of you ;)

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                  1. re: CanadaGirl
                    z
                    zin1953 Dec 31, 2011 03:16 PM

                    Actually, it's not.

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                    1. re: zin1953
                      kukubura Dec 31, 2011 03:21 PM

                      Hey, I'm up for trying some uniquely Canadian cocktails (in Canada, of course) but they may have lost me with Clamato.

                      Regardless, the point has been made: The ordering of a Canadian cocktail in one of the seats of the indigenous cuisine of the USA's most unique culinary destination (and the home of the invention of cocktail itself) was one of many mistakes made by the OP's party. Like I said earlier, Galatoire's is a complicated restaurant and frankly it should come with a instruction manual. I've chalked my first experience there up to "user error" (although it was less about what we did than what we expected) and I suggest the OP of this thread do the same.

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                      1. re: zin1953
                        FoodChic Dec 31, 2011 04:16 PM

                        Nope, not at all.

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                        1. re: zin1953
                          texasredtop Dec 31, 2011 04:50 PM

                          Not in this lifetime anyway :-)

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                    2. re: CanadaGirl
                      Bill Hunt Jan 3, 2012 08:41 PM

                      When ordering a cocktail, though I am much more a wino, if the server is not familiar with my nomenclature, I never have a problem describing it to them.

                      Not that long ago, we hosted a board dinner in London, and one board member ONLY drinks Margaritas. The bartender was unfamiliar with that drink, though I see them on many continents. He was kind enough to let me behind the bar, and we mixed up some - he learned, and helped me with what he had, and that board member allowed as how they were the best that she'd ever had - totally a win-win.

                      Hunt

                      PS - had I been tending bar, I would have had to ask for the ingredients to a "Caesar" too.

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              2. texasredtop Dec 29, 2011 06:10 AM

                There is certain etiquette in the deep south that you might not have been aware of. For places that require a coat for dinner, that does not mean a tee shirt and dress coat as they may allow in the more trendy cities. It means full dress, traditional. NO is not NY or Toronto. I think the subject has been discussed here at length and perhaps you missed that when you were doing your research.

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                1. uptownlibrarian Dec 29, 2011 07:09 AM

                  As this doesn't appear to be made up and posted as a joke, which was my initial suspicion, all I can say is yes, you chose wrong.

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                  1. f
                    fat harry Dec 29, 2011 07:11 AM

                    You said enough when you showed up wearing an Ed Hardy t-shirt.

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                    1. re: fat harry
                      twyst Dec 29, 2011 07:19 AM

                      "You said enough when you showed up wearing an Ed Hardy t-shirt."

                      This. I think Galatoire's is vastly overrated when it comes to the food, but how can anyone who is not a cast member on the Jersey Shore be upset about being told that an ed hardy t shirt is not appropriate for a jacket required fine dining restaurant.

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                      1. re: twyst
                        texasredtop Dec 29, 2011 07:34 AM

                        I've eaten all over western Canada and they are not strict on their dress codes in the fine dining establishments that I've been to or anywhere that I've ever been. There is a lot of leeway and loose interpretation of the rules so that is probably where the diner thought it was okay.

                        Who the heck is Ed Hardy? I don't even own a tee shirt.

                        Oh, wrong. I sleep in my LSU Tee shirts. But don't wear them out of the house.

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                        1. re: texasredtop
                          j
                          jsfoodchat Dec 29, 2011 08:21 AM

                          Yes, and I will add that this place is a one star (?!?) on Burbon Street not a 3 star! Also the front reception has a dusty display case (1/8 of an inch of dust on that James Beard award they so proudly display), rude staff and serves canned peas in a crowded room that you practically have to yell across the table in while the servers are indignant and rude! What a joke!

                          And as for the T-shirt (which was changed about 1 minutes after arriving as he ran back to the hotel and changed) I guess in the south with your "fine manners" and "yes ma'am's" you think that rudeness and bad food is justified if the patron wore a t-shirt under his jacket?

                          I suppose that in Western Canada, Calgary, in particular where I am from, we do have a looser dress code - I really can't think of anywhere you can't go to dine when wearing your Armani jacket - regardless of what is underneath it! That being said we have dined in fine restaurants all over the world and for food and service alone Galatoires is vastly overstated and nowhere I would ever recommend anybody waste a penny - regardless of what they were wearing to dinner!

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                          1. re: jsfoodchat
                            texasredtop Dec 29, 2011 01:45 PM

                            I've never been treated with anything even resembling rudeness there or had anything less than above average food there either so I can only assume that it was either a bad day or something you may have done to aggravate the server. Still, the server has nothing to do with the food preparation so it's a mystery. I had a terrible meal at August and spent more than twice as much as my meals at Galatoire's and I seem to be the only one on earth that doesn't like August. It happens and at over $250 for 2 people, I'm not likely to give it another shot.

                            Normally southerners are very easy going people but we aren't pushovers and will respond to attitude.

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                            1. re: texasredtop
                              t
                              txgrl99 Dec 31, 2011 05:40 PM

                              You aren't the only one that doesn't like August. I had a nice lunch there, but horrific service (and chewy duck) one dinner. I didn't post much about it, because I thought maybe it was just an off night, and they were clearly in the weeds (we waited one hour after our reservation time for a table). Still, after what we paid and the fact I had to beg for a wine list, we won't be back either.

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                              1. re: txgrl99
                                texasredtop Dec 31, 2011 07:18 PM

                                It was a year ago it happened to us and for that price it should have been perfect and it was the worst meal we'd had all week. It was twice what we spent at Galatoire's. I am giving in a bit here lately. I will not go back to August but I'm considering Stella on my next visit. Or is it Luke? Someone was giving them a good review here a few days ago so I'm going to consider putting it on the list.

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                                1. re: texasredtop
                                  twyst Dec 31, 2011 10:25 PM

                                  Both stella and luke are great places. For my money, Stella is the best restaurant in new orleans right now.

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                            2. re: jsfoodchat
                              Bill Hunt Jan 3, 2012 08:46 PM

                              Sorry that you had a bad experience, but I have been dining at Galatoire's since the mid-50s, and have never had either a bad meal, or rude service.

                              Now, from about 8 years of age, I was apprised of the dress-code for gentlemen, and have never deviated from that, though it has been relaxed in recent years. I am usually the bearded gentleman in the white linen suit (with over 50 years of dining there, not one drop of red wine has been spilled on any of my jackets, thankfully), often sitting upstairs, as I have schedules to keep, and have done downstairs, and find the tableau a bit loud and not so much to my liking now.

                              I wish that you had dropped by here before the meal, as many could have helped you a bit.

                              Hunt

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                        2. re: fat harry
                          r
                          Rosedale Dec 30, 2011 06:47 PM

                          I agree, bad fit for your family apparently. I've never had a bad meal or bad service at Galatoire's. I'm sorry you did because it's a really an awesome place.

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                          1. re: fat harry
                            MandalayVA Jan 2, 2012 08:54 PM

                            The truth, it has been spoken.

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                            1. re: fat harry
                              u
                              ultimatepotato Jan 5, 2012 05:10 AM

                              Says it all.

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                            2. j
                              jsfoodchat Dec 29, 2011 08:18 AM

                              I see. So in the south with all your fine manners you all think that it is appropriate to be rude to the customer because he wears a trendy t-shirt under his jacket? Last I checked rude service staff and bad food have very little to do with what the patron wears to dinner (especially after he ran back to the hotel and changed!)

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                              1. re: jsfoodchat
                                j
                                JazzyB Dec 29, 2011 08:35 AM

                                Rude is never appropriate. The offending t shirt was likely seen as insultingly rude thus causing someone to reply in kind. Perhaps when traveling you shoud research appropriate dress for the region you will be visiting. That being said, Galatoires is the only restaurant in town strictly adhering to a dress code. BTW, the price of the garment is irrelevent, it's how it looks. Sorry, Ed Hardy t shirts don't look any better than what souvenir shops sell. They just cost more.

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                                1. re: JazzyB
                                  Bill Hunt Jan 3, 2012 09:00 PM

                                  I actually had to look up Ed Hardy t-shirts. Even after viewing their Web site, cannot say that I have ever noticed them. Were I at the door, I would not have been impressed, and even if they cost 100x what they do.

                                  As you state, JazzyB, it's not about the cost of each piece of apparel. There are standards, and I, for one, am glad that some places still adhere to those. I have a hand-crafted, exotic leather flip-flops, that cost me US$300. I liked them, because they were very comfortable and stylish on the beach, but would never think of wearing them to Galatoire's, or really any place other than a beach bar. Maybe I get too hung up on clothes and dress-codes, but there are many things from my closet, that I would never even consider wearing to a restaurant, like Galatoire's.

                                  Hunt

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                                  1. re: JazzyB
                                    r
                                    RGC1982 Jan 4, 2012 02:21 PM

                                    +1 on your response.

                                    In my experience, Southerners are usually much more polite than US-born Yankees. I should know, as I am a native Yankee who relocated here a decade ago. What I have found is that Northerners, and this includes Canadians, who have their own subtle way of doing things, have not a clue about what Southerners consider impolite. It is often little things, like speaking to someone without giving them a chance to make eye contact first, or sometimes just not saying "Ma'am" and "Sir". It took living among my new neighbors to get this, and I find that I frequently have to coach visitors before business meetings. On the other hand, Southerners often seem to talk and act more slowly, or even indifferently, as they tend to observe first, and speak second. This frustrates Northerners sometimes. It's just different ways and cultures, that's all. These are generalities that do not apply to all, of course, but I can only imagine the whirlwind of your outgoing Canadian family, dressed a bit too casually for the restaurant's taste, and their interactions with the waitstaff. It may have been English that you were all speaking, but it probably wasn't the same language.

                                    I am not making excuses for rude behavior by any means, but I think it needs to be said that the obvious cultural differences between Western Canadians and Southerners are more than a little likely to leave each of you not particularly in love with the other. Nothing that more familiarity wouldn't cure.

                                    Now, the use of canned peas, OTOH, I can't get my head wrapped around. That said, they do have a distinct flavor, and I have seen cookbooks that have insisted that these be used in recipes.

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                                  2. re: jsfoodchat
                                    penthouse pup Dec 29, 2011 01:46 PM

                                    Very curious: with which entree were you or your family member served peas?

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                                    1. re: penthouse pup
                                      pikawicca Dec 29, 2011 01:51 PM

                                      Chicken Clemenceau. I've never ordered it, but apparently canned petits pois are traditional.

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                                      1. re: pikawicca
                                        h
                                        hazelhurst Dec 29, 2011 01:55 PM

                                        I wasn't gonna step in with the name and ruin the fun....and the peas are LeSeur which are widely admired in town.

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                                        1. re: pikawicca
                                          c
                                          Clarkafella Dec 29, 2011 02:16 PM

                                          I just googled the recipe- and this was the first link! Be sure to read the description preceding the recipe...

                                          http://www.nolacuisine.com/2005/12/27...

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                                          1. re: Clarkafella
                                            twyst Dec 29, 2011 09:39 PM

                                            "Really? Would any true chef every advocate for a canned pea??? Seriously! That is rubbish! "

                                            Yep, le seur petit pois are used in TONS of kitchens in new orleans.

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                                            1. re: twyst
                                              FoodChic Dec 31, 2011 10:29 AM

                                              Le Sueur peas are quite lovely.

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                                      2. re: jsfoodchat
                                        nomadchowwoman Dec 31, 2011 02:41 PM

                                        "I guess in the south with your "fine manners" and "yes ma'ams" "

                                        "So in the south with all your fine manners"

                                        You reveal much about your own manners (and prejudices) in those statements--those and your repeated references to your husband's expensive labels and belief that they trump Galatoire's well-known rules (no matter how old and tired they are).

                                        I'm no big fan of Galatoire's, but wouldn't expect it to be anything other than what it is, ever has been--regardless of how much my clothes cost or how far superior I considered them to those of the next patron.

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                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman
                                          r
                                          rouxdauphine Dec 31, 2011 02:56 PM

                                          Good point. And besides, New Orleans is not a southern city, it's the northernmost city in the Caribbean! ;)

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                                          1. re: rouxdauphine
                                            kukubura Dec 31, 2011 03:17 PM

                                            Or the westernmost city on the Continent!

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                                            1. re: rouxdauphine
                                              N.O.Food Dec 31, 2011 10:44 PM

                                              New Orleans is certainly a southern city, at least people from here consider it to be. There's a giant statue of Robert E Lee in the middle of town, lest you forget. New Orleans is more metropolitan than most southern cities but that doesn't make it any less southern. the presence of tulane and it's students doesn't make it unsouthern either.

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                                              1. re: N.O.Food
                                                N.O.Food Jan 1, 2012 10:03 AM

                                                Two types of people live in new orleans: southerners and those who wish they were.

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                                              2. re: rouxdauphine
                                                Bill Hunt Jan 3, 2012 09:02 PM

                                                Or the Western-most city in France (or maybe Spain, or maybe... )

                                                Hunt

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                                              3. re: nomadchowwoman
                                                texasredtop Dec 31, 2011 03:56 PM

                                                I think there are a lot of travelers and diners that are used to restaurants accommodating their whims, whatever they may be and they get huffy when they cannot bend the rules as they do in other places. Most places will bend the rules to get the business and lose loyal customers for doing so. That is why Galatoire's has so many loyal customers and has been there for so many more decades than these other trendy places. I was quite upset when dining at August one evening and was told on the phone when making my reservation that coat and tie was required and they seated a table of people in sweat suits and tennis shoes next to us. While waiting for my table at Galatoire's a few days before Christmas, I saw her turn away about a dozen people for not being properly dressed. This was at almost 2PM.

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                                              4. re: jsfoodchat
                                                Bill Hunt Jan 3, 2012 08:53 PM

                                                Now, there ARE places in the South, where service is often rude, just like many other places around the globe, but I have NEVER encountered that at Galatoire's. As a matter of fact, the waitstaff at Galatoire's usually treats all diners as family, and gladly accept the reciprocity from their diners. That reciprocal arrangement has served me well for half a century.

                                                Sorry that this all happened to you.

                                                Hunt

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                                              5. c
                                                Clarkafella Dec 29, 2011 08:29 AM

                                                I know that it is done pretty often- hell, half the people on this board were brought up in Galatoire's dining room- but I would never even consider bringing a 4 year old there. The place just doesn't seem geared to be kid friendly. Just my opinion though...

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                                                1. re: Clarkafella
                                                  Bill Hunt Jan 3, 2012 09:05 PM

                                                  Now, if my feeble memory serves me correctly, my first Galatoire's experience was at about age 7, or 8. That was when my parents deemed me "ready" for the experience. As I recall, the servers did some special things, regarding portions, for me, but I was more than happy to be ordering from the "adult menu." At 4, not sure that Galatoire's would be the correct choice on any level, but that is just me.

                                                  Hunt

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                                                2. s
                                                  smoot60 Dec 29, 2011 08:37 AM

                                                  A child and a tee shirt. I stopped reading at that point.

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                                                  1. re: smoot60
                                                    c
                                                    caviar_and_chitlins Dec 29, 2011 02:26 PM

                                                    ditto this. and "DKNY jeans" ugh.

                                                    Galatoire's is a "when in Rome" kind of place. I am delighted to play by their rules, and am richly rewarded every time. The OP was clearly not interested in embracing what Galatoire's IS, which is what so many of us love about it.

                                                    It's like going to a chinese restaurant and bitching because there's no pizza.

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                                                    1. re: caviar_and_chitlins
                                                      r
                                                      Rosedale Dec 30, 2011 07:05 PM

                                                      "It's like going to a Chinese restaurant and bitching because there's no pizza."

                                                      When I turned 21, I was taken to a wonderful Japanese restaurant in Chicago. The only wine I'd ever had up to that point was Lambrusco ( and maybe Boone's Farm!) so I ordered one. The waiter did not speak English as his first language. When he said they didn't have Lambrusco, I assumed he misheard me and repeated the request, a little slower and louder.

                                                      In turn, he repeated a little louder and slower they didn't have Lambrusco. Then he said, "You wouldn't expect to find to sake at an Italian restaurant, would you?" I got the point loud and clear. When in Rome............

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                                                      1. re: caviar_and_chitlins
                                                        FoodChic Dec 31, 2011 01:35 PM

                                                        So true, caviar_and_chitlins! I'm amazed the OP didn't do any research. Galatoire's is an experience from beginning to end. Getting off on the wrong foot (jeans and a t-shirt) set the tone for the evening. The traditions of Galatoire's are set in stone, and it will not conform to others or their idea of trendy.

                                                        Truthfully, I'm sorry for the OP and the money wasted. A little bit of research could have made all the difference in the evening.

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                                                      2. re: smoot60
                                                        w
                                                        Westy Dec 30, 2011 01:26 PM

                                                        A child I can completely see. I had my 8 year old niece and nephew over from Taiwan a year or two ago, and we took them everywhere. Fine dining included. Not once did we ask for a kid's menu. We just asked for an extra plate and they learned to eat what grown-ups ate. The only thing I really remember was that the waitstaff INVARIABLY said that they were the best behaved kids they had seen. At most, my niece and nephew would want to sit near a window so they could see boats (we went to SC).
                                                        As far as Galatoire's....I am no local but i think I could figure out that it is not a t-shirt and jeans place. More amusingly, i can't help but wonder if the OP expected the staff to read clothing labels. And mroe amazingly...and think it mattered. A t-shirt is a t-shirt. I own great and I own cheap t-shirts. love them. That being said, i don't think I own one I would wear to a nice restaurant.
                                                        I am all for customer service, and I am sorry they had a bad time in NOLA, but I gotta chalk this one up for Galatoire's.
                                                        Finally, I would rather have well canned peas than out of season ones.

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                                                      3. a
                                                        a213b Dec 29, 2011 11:38 AM

                                                        I'm just curious where else you ate on your trip - I'm assuming CP - and your impressions of those spots?

                                                        As for Galatoires, it does seem that it was not the right spot for you. I can certainly understand your frustrations, though I will also echo what texasredtop posted above and restate that in the future the prudent thing to do is double-check your research about dress-codes, customs, etc when dining outside your normal sphere of restaurants/locations.

                                                        I do hope you enjoyed your time in NO. It's such a lovely city.

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                                                        1. m
                                                          mstacey42 Dec 29, 2011 02:26 PM

                                                          I think that we might consider the wisdom of cutting the OP some slack. Before I visited Galatoire's for the first time, I was very nervous about the rumours I had heard (here, on chowhound!) about non-regulars being served rather ordinary food, and being given brusque service. I scoured the internets for every piece of info I could find about the proper way to dress, behave, the right questions to ask. Of course, it was great fun, and I learned that I (mostly) hadn't needed to be so nervous. One has to make allowances that most of the world does not nervously, obsessively, (and in a spirit of due humility), prepare themselves to encounter a restaurant; most restaurants neither require nor reward such preparation. Part of what makes Galatoires so delightful is that it doesn't work like any other restaurant, and part of what makes it so frustrating for many newbies is that if you treat it like any other restaurant, it sometimes doesn't work.

                                                          21 Replies
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                                                          1. re: mstacey42
                                                            uptownlibrarian Dec 29, 2011 02:40 PM

                                                            Yeah, except 1) OP didn't appear to prepare by dressing [her husband] properly or figuring out that it's not really a great place for kids and 2) OP was unwilling to cut anyone else any slack, like the man in the turtleneck, or the restaurant for using canned peas in a recipe that calls for canned peas.

                                                            I don't think most people nervously, obsessively prepare for Galatoire's, and I never have. I anticipate it with excitement, because it's always its same old reliably fun self. It's not a damn temple to gastronomy, it's an interesting old restaurant that people like me go to on special occasions when we would be dressed up anyway. It's just a restaurant. It IS like other restaurants, where properly dressed adults gather for rich food and decent wine. People overthink it, and this cult of Galatoire's stuff is getting out of hand. Now I'm guilty of overthinking it too!

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                                                            1. re: mstacey42
                                                              texasredtop Dec 29, 2011 02:40 PM

                                                              Very well said. It is a very traditional establishment and the OP seems to be a very contemporary person. That is likely where the clash came in.

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                                                              1. re: mstacey42
                                                                sarahvagaca Jan 3, 2012 02:23 PM

                                                                What did you find in your research, mstacey42? We are going there tonight for the first time, and now I'm a bit nervous! Ha! We will be dressed appropriately, no children in tow and arriving early so that we may sit downstairs...but we aren't locals. Any etiquette or ordering advice is welcome!

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                                                                1. re: sarahvagaca
                                                                  h
                                                                  hazelhurst Jan 3, 2012 02:40 PM

                                                                  Relax...it is a relaxed place. Just tell them at the door that you've never been and can whoever is on the door (arnold maybe) recommend a waiter. You can build your own rapport that way. Take your time. I like to order course-by-course. Be sure to have the shrimp remoulade..best in the universe.

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                                                                  1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                    sarahvagaca Jan 3, 2012 03:16 PM

                                                                    Will do! Thanks, hazelhurst!

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                                                                    1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                      pikawicca Jan 3, 2012 03:28 PM

                                                                      Tell your waiter if there's anything you don't like, then put yourself in his hands. Souffle Potatoes, Brabant Potatoes, anything with Hollandaise. I am very partial to their fish meuniere preparations, especially if they're topped with crabmeat. Have a super time, and please report back!

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                                                                      1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                        texasredtop Jan 3, 2012 04:04 PM

                                                                        +1 on the shrimp remoulade.

                                                                        A suggestion about eating there. Do not walk in and expect them to rearrange the furniture for you (figuratively speaking of course). They are not there to cater to you as most restaurants do, they have all the customers they could possibly want and have for decades so enjoy but do not think that you will change their ways. I never miss a chance to eat there, it's a one of a kind place. Please let us know how your dinner goes.

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                                                                        1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                          Monch Jan 3, 2012 06:52 PM

                                                                          Yeay! HH has weighed in!

                                                                          I STILL have a Perlis white linen suit hanging in the closet...a WISCONSIN closet...waiting for JUST the right opportunity...

                                                                          The Meyer's Panama hat is being broken in and I'm slimming down to fit the damn suit!

                                                                          The regalia is ready to give proper respect to this bastion of old-guard protocols.

                                                                          Just have to have the stars align.

                                                                          I'm the polar opposite of the OP....put much investigation into the rituals and ALSO put weight on the social value of preserving the (perhaps antiquated) values of the niceties.

                                                                          ....And still have not made it through the doors.

                                                                          With no offense to the OP, knowing more about the ethos of the establishment would have served all...much better.

                                                                          It's just different than most any place we've all experienced.

                                                                          Now, all we need is for Hunt to weigh in....

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                                                                          1. re: Monch
                                                                            kukubura Jan 3, 2012 06:56 PM

                                                                            I've got my sharp seersucker ( \/ that one \/ ) just waiting for a seasonally appropriate visit. December was just not the time, much to my chagrin!

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                                                                        2. re: sarahvagaca
                                                                          sarahvagaca Jan 3, 2012 07:25 PM

                                                                          Just in from dinner and...we loved it! I absolutely adored the place and really liked almost everything we ate. I love good food but I don't always love very formal atmospheres. In the case of Galatoire's, it felt like sort of a game to try to fit in and I appreciated the very old school feel.

                                                                          The meal started off funny--I didn't notice my boyfriend taking off his jacket when we sat down, but I did notice a couple across the dining room giving us the evil eye. I noticed my bf and told him that the jacket needed to stay on! He put it back on and I saw the glaring man say to his wife, "I think she told him." Ha! The woman was wearing fur, so they were very...old school. Ahem.

                                                                          Our waiter was Sean and he was very nice but not overbearing. The dining room was very quiet when we got there at about 6pm, but it livened up as we were there. We started with the shrimp remoulade (thanks hazelhurst!) and the pommes souffle and loved both! I've never had potatoes like that before--SO good! My bf had the duck and I had the red fish with crabmeat Yvonne. Both were excellent! Oh, we had another fried potato dish (a weakness of mine), the potatoes Brabant. Essentially, just fried potatoes, but they were really good! For dessert, my bf had the bread pudding with a banana sauce and it was really good. I had the key lime tart and it was the only bad dish of the night. Well, not BAD, just not very good. The key lime filling was much too firm for me. It had a very thick, odd texture. I'm a more knowledgable baker than I am cook though, so I'm probably a little tougher on desserts.

                                                                          So all in all, a good meal and a great experience. Great for people watching and definitely unique to New Orleans. Thanks to everyone for your input and interest!

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                                                                          1. re: sarahvagaca
                                                                            lynnlato Jan 4, 2012 05:56 AM

                                                                            "In the case of Galatoire's, it felt like sort of a game to try to fit in and I appreciated the very old school feel."

                                                                            This was how we felt when we went for Friday lunch a couple of years ago. Fortunately, the folks on the NOLA boards had schooled us well so we knew in advance when to get in line, how to dress, and also to enjoy a bloody mary while standing in line. We knew what to order, how rowdy the scene was (which was all the more fun for us) and we loved every minute of the whole "scene".

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                                                                          2. re: sarahvagaca
                                                                            Bill Hunt Jan 3, 2012 09:19 PM

                                                                            I agree - RELAX, and just be prepared to enjoy, provided that you enjoy great, NOLA cuisine, in a grand style, that has existed for many decades.

                                                                            Dress for the occasion, greet your server cordially, put yourself in their hands, and sit back, then enjoy.

                                                                            Though formal (well obviously NOT "formal") in some respects, and definitely "old-school" regarding the cuisine, it is actually quite laid-back in most other respects. Just do not expect the latest cryo-technique, or dining in total darkness, but just a great example of "old-school" NOLA cuisine, that has not changed much in the last 50+ years.

                                                                            Enjoy,

                                                                            Hunt

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                                                                          3. re: mstacey42
                                                                            Bill Hunt Jan 3, 2012 09:14 PM

                                                                            Though I cut my "fine-dining" teeth on Galatoire's, and Antoine's, and did live in New Orleans for many years, I am now anything BUT a regular, or even a local. I am now a "tourist from AZ," and have never had anything but great food, in the Galatoire's style, and excellent service. I am hard to please, but they always have managed, without hesitation, or even hiccups in the service.

                                                                            They might overlook some things, for the true "regulars," but that happens. Personally, I feel that it is incumbent on the "regulars," to set, or help maintain, a "standard," though at Friday lunches, some could use a nanny with a firm grasp on their ear... One reason that I do not normally do that meal - been there - done that, and like Mardi Gras, after a bit, it does tend to wear a tad thin. For me, it's about the dining experience, and the "show" is not where I am now. Actually, I'd just as soon NOT be seen, and be given the opportunity to dine with my wife and my guests, away from prying eyes, and others. Maybe I am alone in that feeling?

                                                                            Hunt

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                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                              texasredtop Jan 4, 2012 05:01 AM

                                                                              I think my husband is growing weary of "the show" downstairs so we may try dining upstairs next visit. He would miss those shrimp remoulade for anything in the world so Gal's is a must.

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                                                                              1. re: texasredtop
                                                                                kukubura Jan 4, 2012 05:09 AM

                                                                                Is the bar worth a visit? I've never been upstairs.

                                                                                (I'm shameless... I wanted reply #100!)

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                                                                                1. re: kukubura
                                                                                  Bill Hunt Jan 4, 2012 07:32 PM

                                                                                  Dang, I tried to rattle my feeble brain, and do not think that I have ever been to the bar - maybe there are police photos to disprove that, but I have not seen them - yet.

                                                                                  Hunt

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                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                    texasredtop Jan 4, 2012 07:34 PM

                                                                                    The photos were destroyed during Katrina. ;-)

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                                                                                  2. re: kukubura
                                                                                    texasredtop Jan 4, 2012 07:33 PM

                                                                                    I've never been upstairs. At least not that I remember.

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                                                                                    1. re: texasredtop
                                                                                      pikawicca Jan 4, 2012 07:35 PM

                                                                                      Is there a bar? I've never been upstairs, either.

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                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                        texasredtop Jan 4, 2012 07:36 PM

                                                                                        Yes, there is. We've been told we could wait up there but never have. It's much more fun sitting in the entrance way watching all the traffic coming in in tee shirts and standing there in disbelief when they are told they are not dressed properly. Last time there was a woman in there, she was well over 80 if she was a day and she was going to town on her crackberry texting someone. I was cracking up. She didn't put the thing down for about 15 minutes. She had to be assisted to her table by her dining partners she was so feeble yet she could text up a storm.

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                                                                                  3. re: texasredtop
                                                                                    Bill Hunt Jan 4, 2012 07:31 PM

                                                                                    I can understand. Sometimes, one wants to be down on "the floor," right in the middle of things, and sometimes one just wants to enjoy a great meal with spouse, or friends. As I have mentioned in several Galatoire's threads, we are often on a bit of a "short leash," where time is concerned, and reservations fit that bill. Other times, we just want to be "above" the fray. Sort of like why I do not sit in the "student section" at Tiger Stadium - been there - done that, and let's just say that I would likely not enjoy the game from there anymore. [Grin]

                                                                                    Still, if one has NOT done a Friday lunch there, I would never hesitate to recommend it, so long as they have been properly warned. It CAN be great fun, but for a real dining experience... well, would not be my first choice.

                                                                                    I agree with your hubby. If you've done it a couple of times, why not kick back with the spouse, the servers and the food, and let the "newcomers" fight for downstairs?

                                                                                    Hunt

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                                                                              2. c
                                                                                CanadaGirl Dec 29, 2011 02:35 PM

                                                                                I've watched this thread with some curiosity. While I wouldn't think that adding a jacket to jeans and a t-shirt would meet a "jackets required" dress code, they did. I don't think she is complaining about the outfit requiring a change so much as the way this change was communicated. Her description of the service is frankly unacceptable. I would expect to be treated with a greater deree of respect by a McDonald's employee than they received at an award winning restaurant.

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                                                                                1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                  pikawicca Dec 29, 2011 02:39 PM

                                                                                  We're missing the other side of this story.

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                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                    c
                                                                                    CanadaGirl Dec 29, 2011 02:54 PM

                                                                                    Absolutely. Which is why I said "her description". I'm a firm believer in the "3 versions of every rule". Each side, plus the truth that is somewhere in between.

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                                                                                  2. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                    c
                                                                                    Clarkafella Dec 29, 2011 02:47 PM

                                                                                    I'm wondering if maybe the jacket/jeans and t-shirt thing might have set the tone in the poster's eyes for the entire evening, and in so doing might have made some of the others words and actions seem "haughty"...

                                                                                    The few times that I have dined at Galatoire's they have gone out of their way to help me have an enjoyable evening. They will provide you with a jacket if you forget.

                                                                                    Once, a friend of mine and I were eating dinner there and he had snuck in a Hubig's fried pie in his pocket as a joke. After supper, he pulled it out and said "now for dessert!" . Our waiter spotted him doing this and ended up taking the pie back to the kitchen where they heated it up and added some ice cream for fun! It was delicious!

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                                                                                    1. re: Clarkafella
                                                                                      s
                                                                                      shanefink Dec 29, 2011 06:46 PM

                                                                                      That is exactly what I was thinking. Sometimes it is impossible to turn around a meal that gets off to a rocky start. And obviously the OP seemed obnoxious when questioning them on a recipe that they’ve done properly for 50 years. I don’t love the food at Galatoire’s, but I always have fun there and I can’t imagine that bringing any of my 3 little kids there would enhance that experience. I think Hunt said that he used to go there as a kid and I reminded him that times they are a changin’.

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                                                                                    2. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                      c
                                                                                      collardman Dec 30, 2011 12:04 PM

                                                                                      It could be simply that G's blew it. It happens and we read reviews every day where someone goes to one of the "Holy Grail" places and the service, food, or both, are poor. I've certainly had my share.

                                                                                      Depending on the level of the place and/or the aggregiousness of the problem it gets struck off the list or waits awhile before it gets back into rotation.

                                                                                      This post has gotten a bit more attention because of the sacred cow position of G's and the tone of the complaint. Remember the waiter "issue" and the ice "issue" at G's became front page news!

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                                                                                      1. re: collardman
                                                                                        pikawicca Dec 30, 2011 01:13 PM

                                                                                        This is an amusing read on the subject.
                                                                                        http://www.gcpress.com/letters/letter...

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                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                          texasredtop Dec 30, 2011 02:58 PM

                                                                                          Loved that article - especially this part "Not only is tradition difficult to establish, but once lost or destroyed, it can never be regained".

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                                                                                    3. N.O.Food Dec 30, 2011 02:39 PM

                                                                                      This will be a chowhound classic!

                                                                                      FYI, it clearly says "no t-shirts" on the front page of their website.

                                                                                      http://www.galatoires.com/index.html

                                                                                      Sorry you had such a bad experience, though.

                                                                                      1 Reply
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                                                                                      1. re: N.O.Food
                                                                                        h
                                                                                        hazelhurst Dec 30, 2011 03:02 PM

                                                                                        A "minor classic" in my view. No one cares for anyone to have a poor experience but the point has been made that other factors may be in play. My best advice to the OP is to come back down and have trout meuniere, crabmeat Yvonne and, for the less-seafood inclined, a lamb chop bearnaise. Come in, relax, and join in the fun. You get from it what you take to it. It is not a "cult" although I understand the use of the term. It is a family joint and everyone is welcome. I try to emphasize this point in my comments. I only want for people to love the place as I do. I have had success in winning-over disappointed patrons in the past.

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                                                                                      2. Terrie H. Dec 30, 2011 03:17 PM

                                                                                        Not sure that the staff is equipped to discern what is a $60 tee shirt and wants to check the label in the "Armani" jacket to decide if it overrides the tee shirt problem. There are places that have dress requirements and you may be used to other ones, but you don't rule the world. Old style place, old style rules, old style food. Not a farm-to-table menu. I'd probably push the peas aside myself but I'd also have known what I was looking forward to - you know, all that Internet research.

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                                                                                        1. j
                                                                                          jsfoodchat Dec 30, 2011 03:28 PM

                                                                                          I am amused to read all the posts! Thank you all for your comments!

                                                                                          I would like to clarify, I was not opposed to the dress code to begin with - I understood jacket required so my husband wore a jacket. At the time, the service issue was not that I was offended by the jacket requirement but rather with how rudely it was communicated AND the fact that the T-shirt rule was NOT strictly in force as the mock neck got let in while we waited for my husband to change. A rule should apply to all patrons - not to only one group and overlooked to another. It is this inconsistency that makes me feel that the place is snooty and rude.

                                                                                          Also, to the people who say "not a place for children": I did not expect this restaurant to be a "place for children." My child has lots of practice dining out in a variety of situations and we know the correct formula for appropriate behavior on her part. My problem was with the begrudging nature of the accommodation for a veggie to be included on a FULL PRICE entree and then followed by the response to the pea issue was that I had no right to even INQUIRE or care because "they were free." It matters very little that the plate was for a four year old or a forty year old - an accommodation is an accommodation. I paid full price without a problem - to include a protien, a veggie, and a "certainly ma'am" is not out of reason!

                                                                                          Further for the server to say that my taste is "wrong" because it has been that way for 50 years is silly. In a proper service establishment, if the patron is dissatisfied an accommodation is made. Period. Nothing was offered only the snooty attitude that started at the door, to the drinks, to the ordering of the main, to the food. In my opinion, that is poor service.

                                                                                          To the poster that wondered what else we ate - we did CP's and loved it. They slowed the pace of our meal to accommodate our more Canadian preference in timing and gave a lovely tour at the end of the meal. Every single dish was stunning. The best was the stuffed soft shell crab and a close second and third to the turtle soup and the bread pudding souffle.

                                                                                          We also ate at many other NOLA traditional places including Johny's Po Boys, Cafe du Monde and Red Fish Grill. I really enjoyed all of those - of course they are not "fine dining" places but they know what they are and do it well!

                                                                                          And, for the record, I love dining in NOLA - I just think this place has poor service and canned peas and tourists looking for a special meal should give the line at the door a miss and keep walking!

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                                                                                          1. re: jsfoodchat
                                                                                            pikawicca Dec 30, 2011 04:13 PM

                                                                                            1. A mock turtleneck is not a t-shirt.
                                                                                            2. In an a la carte restaurant, sides are extra, whether it's for a 40-year-old or a 4-year-old.
                                                                                            3. Simply because a diner does not like a dish prepared in the manner it's supposed to be prepared in is no reason for an "accommodation."

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                                                                                            1. re: jsfoodchat
                                                                                              texasredtop Dec 30, 2011 04:18 PM

                                                                                              Everything I've ever ordered there was a la carte. The entree is just one dish, no sides included.

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                                                                                              1. re: jsfoodchat
                                                                                                n
                                                                                                n.o.lover Dec 30, 2011 04:28 PM

                                                                                                I was at Galatoire's just last month. It wasn't my favorite meal from a strict food perspective, but I have eaten there many times and always have a great time. It is funny to imagine that a child with an i-pad and headphones is now considered appropriate in a fine dining establishment. I guess that times are changing, and I love that Galatoire's upholds its standards.

                                                                                                As a funny note, my daughter met us in NO last year - she and her fiancee arrived the day before us. She told him to pack a jacket so that they could have dinner at Galatoire's - they arrived the day before us. He had a jacket, along with a fancy pants t-shirt and sneakers. She was not so happy with his packing, and knew that Galatoire's would not be appropriate.

                                                                                                Last funny observation, canned peas are everywhere in Paris and Nice. Just sayin.

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                                                                                                1. re: jsfoodchat
                                                                                                  Terrie H. Dec 30, 2011 04:36 PM

                                                                                                  Thanks for your feedback, even though you still insist everyone else is wrong. Hope it all helps you the next time you research your trips.

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                                                                                                  1. re: jsfoodchat
                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                    caviar_and_chitlins Dec 30, 2011 04:41 PM

                                                                                                    Here lies the problem- you expect the restaurant to bend to your many provincial demands, and that's what pleases you.

                                                                                                    Galatoire's asks that you play by theirs, which you find unacceptable. I find traditions charming and do my best to understand them, you find them rude and condescending and complain when you are unwilling to even try to grasp them.

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                                                                                                    1. re: caviar_and_chitlins
                                                                                                      N.O.Food Dec 30, 2011 09:35 PM

                                                                                                      Pretty much agree with caviar. Gal's has standards and upholds them. Most places don't, so I can see how it can be upsetting to encounter a place that will not bend or break its own rules. If they didn't enforce them, however, they'd be just like everyone else, and who wants that?

                                                                                                      This is new orleans. We don't like change, and we don't like eating next to people in ed hardy (or any other) t-shirts or kids looking at ipads. And it certainly doesn't matter what's "all the rage" in other parts of the country.

                                                                                                      Speaking of t-shirts, there's one produced by local company that says "New Orleans. So far behind, we're ahead." And someone on their website made this comment: "Out of all the designs we have produced this has the strongest concept I think. It has so much meaning that only a New Orleanian can truly understand. And it continues to prove itself as a truism. While the rest of the country "progressed" and moved to the burbs, tore apart its historic city centers, pushed for big business, we stayed the same. And now everyone wishes for what we have... the walkability, the authenticity, the creative class."

                                                                                                      Gal's, like so much of new orleans, is fiercely protective of its traditions and the old ways. That's what makes it special. You and your group were seen as a threat and were treated accordingly. You are not the first and won't be the last. Sorry you had to encounter this phenomenon in this manner, but that's what's going on here IMO.

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                                                                                                      1. re: N.O.Food
                                                                                                        i
                                                                                                        irishnyc Dec 31, 2011 09:11 AM

                                                                                                        I completely agree.

                                                                                                        A tee shirt is a tee shirt. The rules say no tee shirts, and you showed up in one. No one cares how much it costs or how trendy it is. In fact an Ed Hardy tee is probably more offensive to most than a plain black Hanes tee, but that's neither here nor there, because neither would be allowed.

                                                                                                        I also don't think that just because your child can be entertained with an ipad they should go to an establishment that isn't for children. I don't bring my child to fine dining establishments, and I don't want to see anyone else's there. I don't want to see anyone of any age playing with an ipad, iphone, dvd player, or any other things like that that don't belong in a restaurant. Everyone is there to eat and enjoy conversation and company, not play with electronics.

                                                                                                        As for the drinks... why would you order a regional specialty that isn't of the region you're in? That's just poor choice on your part.

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                                                                                                        1. re: irishnyc
                                                                                                          k
                                                                                                          kibbles Dec 31, 2011 10:17 AM

                                                                                                          or even the same freakin' country. it'd be like me going to Canada and ordering a Southern Jezebel, to which they'd say "Whaaaa?"

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                                                                                                          1. re: irishnyc
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                                                                                                            irishnyc Dec 31, 2011 10:58 AM

                                                                                                            To add to my own reply: I have a child that is very well behaved in restaurants, but we don't bring her anywhere that isn't child friendly... to the extent that DH and I didn't even bring her to New Orleans at all earlier this year. It's not a child-friendly city, IMO, and having her there would have taken away from our own experience in a city we've visited many times and will continue to, sans-minor(s).

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                                                                                                          2. re: N.O.Food
                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                            kibbles Dec 31, 2011 10:16 AM

                                                                                                            "While the rest of the country "progressed" and moved to the burbs, tore apart its historic city centers, pushed for big business, we stayed the same. And now everyone wishes for what we have... the walkability, the authenticity, the creative class."

                                                                                                            beautiful....that nails it on the head. +1

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                                                                                                            1. re: kibbles
                                                                                                              Terrie H. Dec 31, 2011 11:56 AM

                                                                                                              +1 as well

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                                                                                                          3. re: caviar_and_chitlins
                                                                                                            FoodChic Dec 31, 2011 01:41 PM

                                                                                                            Right again, Caviar!

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                                                                                                          4. re: jsfoodchat
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                                                                                                            kibbles Dec 31, 2011 10:07 AM

                                                                                                            1) "jacket required. no t-shirts" means....no t-shirts. regardless of afore mentioned jacket requirement.

                                                                                                            2) a mock turtleneck is not a t-shirt.

                                                                                                            3) canned peas are a normal part of the specific dish you ordered.

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                                                                                                            1. re: jsfoodchat
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                                                                                                              a213b Jan 2, 2012 10:10 AM

                                                                                                              Well I'm certainly glad you enjoyed the rest of your restaurants and time while visiting. I do wish your Gal's experience had been better, though I will admit it's not necessarily for everyone.

                                                                                                              And don't pay most of the posters here much mind (if you even are); everyone's just pulling your chain a little bit.

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                                                                                                            2. z
                                                                                                              zin1953 Dec 31, 2011 08:26 AM

                                                                                                              I live in Berkeley, California. NO place is more "casual" than Berkeley -- one can go to Chez Panisse in jeans, upstairs at least, and though I have no doubt some will wear jeans *downstairs,* I know that I never would. (I shall remain mute on the topic of Ed Hardy t-shirts.) I am an aging hippie, I own two suits and wear jeans everywhere. But I will always wear a coat and tie to a place like Gary Danko's, and when I see someone in jeans, I shake my head in disbelief.

                                                                                                              OK, what does this have to do with Galatoire's?

                                                                                                              Well, as you have already gathered by now, jsfoodchat, I, too, believe it was your expectations that were off, not Galatoire's. There are some restaurants that stand alone, in that they are institutions -- places of (perhaps) a by-gone ear, but they remain standing, they remain popular, *precisely* because they are uncompromising, unchanging, unmatched in what they are.

                                                                                                              I have eaten at Galatoire's numerous times; I travel to New Orleans at least once, if not twice a year, and always have at least one meal there on every visit. I have never experienced anything remotely like you described. The food has always been excellent -- FOR WHAT IT IS -- and the service has always been fine.

                                                                                                              By "for what it is," I mean for its unchanging, consistent past . . . in other words, "cutting edge cuisine" it isn't, but neither is it attempting to be. You can't fault a restaurant for not serving molecular gastronomic foams when that's not what they do, for instance.

                                                                                                              FWIW, I find Commander's Palace to be the very same way (and I make it a point to eat there on my trips, too). In my mind, and to my palate, these are the two "classic" institutions of NOLA cuisine. Commander's has 25¢ martinis at lunch, as opposed to Galatiore's, which has Fridays.

                                                                                                              FWIW, there are restaurants that I find to be much better than either Galatoire's or Commander's -- or, rather, there are restaurants that I enjoy and would dine at more frequently than either of these *if* I lived in New Orleans and they were always available to me -- rather than what I can make in either seven or 14 days of visiting. But both of these establishments would always remain on my list of recommended restaurants.

                                                                                                              Now, to back up a moment, when "pikawicca" says,

                                                                                                              >>> I hasten to add that I am by no means a "regular." The older gentlemen in tattered raiment who obviously got you bent out of shape no doubt was. Probably eats there a couple of times a week, as did his father, as did his grandfather, etc. Tourists cannot expect to be treated the same way. That's just how NOLA (not just Galatoire's) operates. <<<

                                                                                                              That's very true. Tourists are never treated the same as tourists, and that's pretty much true EVERYWHERE, not just in New Orleans. I get much better service, a better table, etc., etc. when I dined at the now-closed Luminère in Vancouver when my cousin ( a regular) dined with me than when I dined there without him.

                                                                                                              I don't doubt that you were upset. I can hear (read) your disappointment/frustration/anger. But, like several others who have posted, I think -- at the very least -- some of the responsibility lies with you.

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                                                                                                              1. texasredtop Jan 1, 2012 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                I hope you are no more offended by our silliness than we were by your colorful descriptions of Gal's. It's all in fun and nothing personal. I've taken a similar ribbing here for another restaurant.

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                                                                                                                1. re: texasredtop
                                                                                                                  Terrie H. Jan 1, 2012 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                  Well said.

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                                                                                                                2. beantowntitletown Jan 3, 2012 04:16 PM

                                                                                                                  Happened on this thread a couple of days ago. Pretty civilized discussion given the potentially inflammatory subject. It’s been 2 years since our last visit, and I’ve been dreaming about Galatoire’s lately. Gotta work NO into our 2012 plans.

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                                                                                                                    bronwen Jan 4, 2012 08:56 AM

                                                                                                                    Several warning signs went off when I read between the lines of your review. Ordering a Caesar and not a Bloody Mary is rude quite frankly - you seem to have been goading them. I used to go to Galatoire's every Friday for lunch for years and NEVER saw a stroller. It is simply not stroller friendly. That was your problem.

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                                                                                                                    1. re: bronwen
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                                                                                                                      a213b Jan 4, 2012 09:47 AM

                                                                                                                      As I mentioned upthread, it seems Galatoire's and this poster are not a well-made match, but are you serious -- ordering a drink is rude? How laughably preposterous.

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                                                                                                                      1. re: a213b
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                                                                                                                        wyogal Jan 4, 2012 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                        Ordering a drink by its Canadian name (Caesar), instead of the common name in the US (Bloody Mary), expecting someone in New Orleans to recognize the many different names a drink may have around the world, is rude. Rather ethno/culture-centric.
                                                                                                                        Unless, of course, the person ordering the drink is just ignorant, doesn't know that there is the same drink, but with a different, much more common, name here in the US.

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                                                                                                                        1. re: wyogal
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                                                                                                                          CanadaGirl Jan 4, 2012 12:28 PM

                                                                                                                          How her misake of ordering a Caesar ruder or more ignorant than it is for you to insist a Caesar is the same as a Bloody Mary? They are different drinks. By your standards, you are being ethno/culture-centric by calling them the same drink.

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                                                                                                                          1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                                                            kukubura Jan 4, 2012 12:30 PM

                                                                                                                            I think we've beaten this pony to death.

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                                                                                                                            1. re: CanadaGirl
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                                                                                                                              wyogal Jan 4, 2012 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                              Bloody Mary with clamato.
                                                                                                                              If you want a Canadian drink, drink it in Canada. If you want to experience culture elsewhere, then order something familiar to the region of the world you are visiting.
                                                                                                                              Simple, really.

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                                                                                                                              1. re: wyogal
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                                                                                                                                CanadaGirl Jan 4, 2012 12:39 PM

                                                                                                                                Sure. But isn't it possible that either they meant to order a Bloody Mary but slipped and ordered a Caesar or were simply unaware that it isn't common everywhere? Being unaware does not equal rude; insisting that a Caesar be produced anyway would have been rude. Or, being unwillinging to learn is being rude. I know that I have never travelled to a spot and had perfect knowledge beforehand.

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                                                                                                                                1. re: CanadaGirl
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                                                                                                                                  wyogal Jan 4, 2012 12:42 PM

                                                                                                                                  Just reading the OP, it seems there was a bit more to it than being "simply unaware."
                                                                                                                                  That's all.

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: wyogal
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                                                                                                                                    CanadaGirl Jan 4, 2012 12:51 PM

                                                                                                                                    Oh, I agree there is lots in the OP initial description to take issue with. I just think the drink error is a non-issue. Perhaps the only one where I don't see the restaurants point (assuming of course the response to the request for the Caesar was as described)

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                                                                                                                                    1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                                                                      Bill Hunt Jan 4, 2012 07:50 PM

                                                                                                                                      "I just think the drink error is a non-issue."

                                                                                                                                      It certainly would have been for me.

                                                                                                                                      Hunt

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                                                                                                                                  2. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                                                                    bhoward Jan 4, 2012 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                                    Am I the only U. S. Citizen who has known that a bloody mary made with clamato is a bloody ceasar? I absolutely LOVE Galatoire's but would think any half decent bartender would know that. (May not know the drink by the name Ceasar rather than Bloody Ceasar, however).

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                                                                                                                                    1. re: bhoward
                                                                                                                                      FoodChic Jan 4, 2012 12:56 PM

                                                                                                                                      This has been said before, and I'll say it again - Galatoire's (like much of New Orleans) does not conform to you, you conform to it! End of story!

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodChic
                                                                                                                                        bhoward Jan 4, 2012 01:10 PM

                                                                                                                                        And I will say again that I love Galatoire's and NO and agree that there is an attitude there that the visitor must accept (I do WILLINGLY) or stay away. Attitude and tone of voice can be very subjective things to those on the receiving end. I would doubt seriously that Galatoires' hasn't gladly made 100's or more Bloody Ceasars over the years. I agree with those who have posted that Galatoire's obviously isn't a good fit for the OP.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodChic
                                                                                                                                          texasredtop Jan 4, 2012 06:32 PM

                                                                                                                                          Exactly. Well said.

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                                                                                                                                        2. re: bhoward
                                                                                                                                          texasredtop Jan 4, 2012 06:30 PM

                                                                                                                                          Ha! I knew but I guarantee you that over half the people you would ask on the street do not even know that Canada is north of us. Seriously. Not me, I have close friends in Alberta and go there every year. But most Americans are totally clueless about Canada. And all of the Albertans I know are not typical Canadians. They are as down-to-earth as Texans. There are some hoity toity types but aren't there those types anywhere you go? Alberta is not typical to the rest of Canada.

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: texasredtop
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                                                                                                                                            hsk Jan 4, 2012 11:22 PM

                                                                                                                                            Please don't consider OP to be typical of Albertans, most of us are polite to a fault. I loved New Orleans and didn't get to try Galatoire's because they were closed on Mondays. I would never dream of slagging a restaurant because "no t-shirts" meant no expensive t-shirts either. Nor would I order a Caesar anywhere outside western Canada because I know it was invented in Calgary and I prefer to experience the local flavour.

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

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                                                                                                                                          2. re: bhoward
                                                                                                                                            Bill Hunt Jan 4, 2012 07:52 PM

                                                                                                                                            Now, I am a wino, and have not spent much time around cocktails for decades, but that is new to me. I had never heard of it, but have not been around that side of a bar in many, many years.

                                                                                                                                            Hunt

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                                                                                                                                          3. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                                                                            Bill Hunt Jan 4, 2012 07:48 PM

                                                                                                                                            My feeling is that if I order a drink, and get a blank look from the server, or the bartender, then I need to explain it, in terms that will translate. Nothing wrong with that. Happens all the time. Usually, with a few details, the bartender will be glad to accommodate the patron, and especially at a restaurant, like Galatoire's. Faulting them for not knowing every drink under the Sun - ain't gonna' happen, and I would NEVER grade any bartender down, just because he/she did not know MY choice of drink. Now, after a careful description, if they missed it, THEN I might consider that, but if they were on their own, without my interaction, never.

                                                                                                                                            About 25 years ago, I and my motley crew were down in Florida for a week. Our wives were in meetings, so we spent most days, haunting ALL of the bars. I had been working on a special Margarita, that featured Midori (Melon Liquer), and I had to explain it to over a dozen bartenders. About the sixth day, we hit one bar, and upon my description, the bartender commented, "Oh, you mean a Green Iguana Margarita?" Not sure if he had "my" recipe already, or winged-it, but it was 99.9% of what we had been looking for.

                                                                                                                                            Hunt

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                                                                                                                                      2. re: wyogal
                                                                                                                                        twyst Jan 4, 2012 01:24 PM

                                                                                                                                        "Ordering a drink by its Canadian name (Caesar), instead of the common name in the US (Bloody Mary),"

                                                                                                                                        They are different drinks, and 95% of decent bartenders are going to know what a bloody caeser is even if they dont have the required ingredients on hand to make one. I bartended at commanders palace and a few of the other brennans restaurants while in school and someone would try to order a caeser at least once a week (never worked anywhere that actually had clamato so Ive never actually made one). Thinking it is "rude" to order one is laughable.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                          bhoward Jan 4, 2012 01:54 PM

                                                                                                                                          What twyst said....

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: twyst
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                                                                                                                                            wyogal Jan 4, 2012 02:01 PM

                                                                                                                                            When combined with the rest of their behavior and expectations to be treated like they were in their neck of the woods instead of in a different location.... yes, they sounded rude to me. The whole incident about the drink was apparently not in isolation.
                                                                                                                                            If everything else was not a problem, then, I see your point. But to go somewhere completely different from where you are from, then expect things to be like home (like wearing a t-shirt when there was a dress code, child in a stroller/using ipad and earphones in an upscale place), maybe not rude, then, just ignorant.

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: wyogal
                                                                                                                                              FoodChic Jan 4, 2012 02:47 PM

                                                                                                                                              What wyogal said...

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                                                                                                                                            2. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                              Bill Hunt Jan 4, 2012 07:57 PM

                                                                                                                                              Now, if someone approached you, as a bartender, and asked for something, with which you were unfamiliar, would you not ask them for the ingredients, and try?

                                                                                                                                              I have been on both ends, over my lifetime, and having the details, openly offered, is the key.

                                                                                                                                              Have you never encountered a cocktail, that you were unfamiliar with? I know that I have, and then have ordered several, with which the bartender was unfamiliar with. That stuff happens.

                                                                                                                                              Hunt

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt
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                                                                                                                                                Clarkafella Jan 4, 2012 10:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                One thing that might be getting lost here is that the OP was ordering a drink from the server, not the bartender. I would bet that the bartender probably would have known how to make a Caesar and would have known the difference between a Caesar and a Bloody Mary. The server merely commented that he had never heard of it being called that...

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                                                                                                                                                1. re: Clarkafella
                                                                                                                                                  z
                                                                                                                                                  zin1953 Jan 4, 2012 10:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                  The waiters also make the drinks . . . .

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                                                                                                                                                  1. re: zin1953
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                                                                                                                                                    Clarkafella Jan 4, 2012 10:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                    News to me. I always thought that they came from the bar upstairs, but I haven't been there but a few times...

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                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Clarkafella
                                                                                                                                                      z
                                                                                                                                                      zin1953 Jan 4, 2012 11:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                      According to "our" waiter, he makes our drinks . . . . indeed, we don't even order them; he just brings 'em!

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                                                                                                                                            3. re: wyogal
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                                                                                                                                              a213b Jan 4, 2012 02:03 PM

                                                                                                                                              As others have pointed out, they are two different drinks, so I'd be a bit careful in bandying about the ehtno/cultural-centric label.

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: a213b
                                                                                                                                                twyst Jan 4, 2012 02:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                agreed. There are legitimate gripes about the kids and the t shirts, but the whole drink thing is people making something out of nothing. A bloody caeser is a VERY common drink. I spent 7 years behind the bar while getting my uindergrad and masters and people requested them literally HUNDREDS of times. If ordering a bloody caeser is going to be considered rude, ordering anything other than a sazerac in new orleans should probably be considered rude as well.

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                                                                                                                                                1. re: twyst
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                                                                                                                                                  a213b Jan 4, 2012 02:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Agreed.

                                                                                                                                                  Surely this thread has run its course now, though when I jumped in in its very beginnings I had no idea it would run this course, nor suck me back in time and time again.

                                                                                                                                                  I dare say there's probably a lesson or two in here for most everyone ... perhaps quite a few more.

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                                                                                                                                                2. re: a213b
                                                                                                                                                  bhoward Jan 4, 2012 02:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Had the OP, before she made arrangements for this special occasion, posted that she would be dining with her four year old daughter who would be in a stroller and listening to her iPad during dinner, is there a single poster to this Board who would have recommended Galatoire's? I know I would not have.

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                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bhoward
                                                                                                                                                    FoodChic Jan 4, 2012 02:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                    bhoward, I think the appropriate phrase to this questions starts will "HELL" and ends with "NO!"

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                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bhoward
                                                                                                                                                      Bill Hunt Jan 4, 2012 07:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Uh no - not even close.

                                                                                                                                                      Hunt

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                                                                                                                                                    2. re: a213b
                                                                                                                                                      kukubura Jan 4, 2012 02:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                      If I ordered a bloody mary and it had clamato in it... mama mia!

                                                                                                                                                      Although, I was surprised to find out that the bloody mary at Mr. B's has beef stock in it... especially since I didn't eat meat at the time!

                                                                                                                                                      Eddie at Carousel shook his head and said "they should be calling that a 'bloody bull.'" Names matter!

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                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kukubura
                                                                                                                                                        bhoward Jan 4, 2012 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Bloody Mary made with clamato=Bloody Ceasar. Bloody Mary with beef stock/broth/bouillon=Bloody Bull. Bloody Mary without vodka=Bloody Shame or Virgin Mary. Bartendering 101.

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                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kukubura
                                                                                                                                                          texasredtop Jan 4, 2012 06:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Yes, that is a Bloody Bull. I don't care for the Bloody Mary but like the Bloody Bull.

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                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kukubura
                                                                                                                                                            Bill Hunt Jan 4, 2012 08:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                            And then Eddie stuck a long, pickled green bean into the glass... right?

                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

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                                                                                                                                                        2. re: wyogal
                                                                                                                                                          Bill Hunt Jan 4, 2012 07:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                          As there are enough differences to make it a different cocktail, I have no issue with the order, but would have been prepared to explain it. In my very old bartending days, a patron would order an XXXX, and I would scratch my head, but then would usually say, "Oh, you want a YYYY, but with ZZZZ?" Even in the Deep South, there can be different names for similar drinks. That is not at all uncommon, especially if it's some "hot" cocktail, featured in some magazine spread, or nowadays, on the Food Channel. Factor in Canada, and there are likely many more variations. No one can possible know every possibility.

                                                                                                                                                          Hunt

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                                                                                                                                                    3. b
                                                                                                                                                      bronwen Jan 4, 2012 09:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                      You are so freaked out about the peas!!! Also what is "almond" fish - the correct term is "amandine"

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                                                                                                                                                        wyogal Jan 4, 2012 09:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                        http://www.nolacuisine.com/2005/12/27/chicken-clemenceau-recipe/
                                                                                                                                                        http://www.wafb.com/story/8836749/chi...
                                                                                                                                                        So, balking at the canned peas is rather unenlightened. Even if you wear expensive clothes.

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                                                                                                                                                          califkatie Jan 4, 2012 06:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Well, I was going to post about 100 responses ago. I think a well-behaved 4 year old, in her own world with her head phones and ipad is delightful ( i have no kids of my own by the way). She was probably better behaved than most adults. Her mom freaking out about their meal is another story, though. $17 for chicken is actually cheap for an entree at Galatoires. And what's wrong with ordering an Ala Carte veggie for the table, like every one else in the joint? huh, mom? Now, i feel bad you didn't know that the chicken dish had (god forbid) canned peas in it. It is winter after all, no fresh peas till spring, mom. Even then hardly anyone uses fresh peas these days. Just push the peas to the side for gosh sakes. And as for the dress code, it is on the website and it is discussed all over here. I really don't have an opinion about those T-Shirts, I live is L.A. nuff said, have to see that stuff all day. I eat at Galatoires twice a year, never,ever had bad or rude service.

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                                                                                                                                                          1. re: califkatie
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                                                                                                                                                            Edward Tyson Jan 4, 2012 08:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                            No matter what anyone says jsfoodchat believes she had a bad experience @ Galatoires.
                                                                                                                                                            She had unrealistic expectactions combined with poor decisions. Galatoires is old school NOLA and as such not for everybody. The moral of the story is Galatoires has been in business forever, they could care less what jsfoodchat or anyone else thinks. I go to Galatoires and I let the waiter order for my group. There are very few places that I would ever consider doing that.

                                                                                                                                                            Edward

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                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Edward Tyson
                                                                                                                                                              Bill Hunt Jan 4, 2012 08:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                              I agree. I have seen many threads on Galatoire's, where a diner was looking for "cutting-edge" culinary offerings, as one might find at a few Michelin 3-star locations, that are not cooking for the norm - no cryo, and no total darkness - just "old school" NOLA cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                              It is NOT for everyone, and does not try to be.

                                                                                                                                                              Still sorry that the OP had a bad experience at one of my favorite restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                              Hunt

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                                                                                                                                                            2. re: califkatie
                                                                                                                                                              z
                                                                                                                                                              zin1953 Jan 4, 2012 08:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                              I don't know . . . as I mentioned above, I live in Berkeley (San Francisco Bay Area), California. My kids have been going to restaurants like Chez Panisse since they were about 4 or so. Now, one is 17 and the other 15-1/2. The younger one had her 13th (surprise) birthday party at Trader Vic's. The older one wanted to go out for "cocktails" at Cesar's in Berkeley, followed by dinner at Sea Salt for *her* 13th. When asked what she wanted to do for her 16th, she replied "Gary Danko's."

                                                                                                                                                              OK, now *both* are looking forward to going to New Orleans and eating at Patois and Galatoire's -- though, truth be known, they've already had *some* of Galatoire's cuisine at home . . . .

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                                                                                                                                                            3. The Chowhound Team Jan 5, 2012 05:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                              It seems like everything there is to be said on this subject has already been said, and now the conversation is just going in circles, and growing increasingly off-topic. We're going to lock it now.

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