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Trip Report – Johnny’s Po-Boys, K-Paul, Atchafalaya, Sylvain, Domenica, Rib Room, Mr. B’s Bistro, Luke, American Sector, Emeril’s, Cochon Butcher

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Hello all. Long-time lurkers of Chowhound here…we’re from New York and just spent a few days over the Christmas holidays in New Orleans. Wanted to report on our trip since we ate so well due to the wonderful posts on this board. Thanks for all your help!

JOHNNY’S PO-BOYS – lunch(es). On our first visit, we got the roast beef po-boy and shrimp po-boy. We much preferred the shrimp…the breading was light and the shrimp tasted very fresh. We came back a few days later for more shrimp (po-boys and platter). Restaurant was crowded both times but manageable (seats opened up by the time our orders were ready).

K-PAUL – dinner. Apps were good – the gumbo and turtle soup were tasty while the fried oysters were delicious (breading not too heavy, oysters plump, dipping sauce very good). The entrees were on the pricey side with no dish under $30. Definitely worth it for the blackened drum and not so for the blackened filet mignon (they were both recommended dishes by our server). Cocktails were overly sweet in my opinion.

ATCHAFALAYA – brunch. Overall a solid meal. We had eggs Atchafalaya, grillades and grits, and a special that I think consisted of a shrimp and alligator sausage omelette. The eggs Atchafalaya was great and the other two dishes were decent. Also got a side of bacon that was okay. Live jazz music playing at the front of the restaurant added to the ambiance. The Bloody Mary do-it-yourself bar was fine but I think I prefer the restaurant make the drink for me (I ended up randomly putting things into my drink that probably didn’t quite work together).

SYLVAIN – dinner. Tried two cocktails (Aunt Rose’s Gingered Boom Boom, Vesper’s Whisper) that were okay. Two of us got the Chick Syl-vain and one got the pan-fried pork shoulder. All the dishes were fine, but nothing special or different from what we can get in New York. However, it was a nice break from our other heavier meals.

DOMENICA – lunch (Christmas). Restaurant was packed. We did not have a reservation but were able to grab seats at the bar. The Basin Street Blues cocktail was absolutely delicious. Really great food including the Clams pizza, Bolzano pizza, and the wild mushroom soup. The Margherita pizza I ordered another night for takeout wasn’t very good though (burnt in a couple of spots, crust had some powdered flour in others). This restaurant doesn't really offer food unique to New Orleans but was very very good.

RIB ROOM – dinner (Christmas). Disappointing meal. I had read that this was a nice restaurant for a Christmas meal and the room was indeed nicely decorated. However, the food was not good. As apps, we had a salad, fried oysters, and the lobster bisque. They were adequate. For our entrees, we had the bone-in rib (significantly undercooked below our requested medium-rare and had to be sent back; and even after it was cooked appropriately, you could tell the meat just wasn’t very good quality), seasonal gulf fish (amberjack that was slightly overcooked), and salmon (just okay). Admittedly prices were reasonable and menu offerings were varied for a Christmas meal (I think ~8 options each for appetizers and entrees with prices in the $23-38/entrée range; wine list also very reasonably priced).

MR B’S BISTRO – lunch. Restaurant was crowded when we arrived at 12:30pm. We did not have a reservation and were probably lucky to get a table immediately for the three of us. Appetizers were good – the seafood gumbo was very good, the gumbo ya-ya was decent, fried oysters were okay (almost too much breading, oysters themselves were small). We all got the BBQ shrimp as our entrée due to recommendations on this board and they were wonderful! Shrimp were well-cooked and the sauce was delightful as we soaked it up with the accompanying bread. A little messy but fun with the bibs tied around our necks.

LUKE – dinner. Service was horribly slow. However, the food was delicious. In fact, I think the jumbo louisiana shrimp en cocotte may have been my favorite dish of the trip! We also enjoyed the drum almondine and the etouffee of blue crab and brown shrimp. The St. Charles Streetcar cocktail was a little two sweet for my taste. I came back another day on my own for happy hour oysters – the P&J oysters were so good and only 50 cents each. I also tried the Fannie Mae (?) oysters that were nowhere as good and far more expensive. The French 75 cocktail was delicious.

AMERICAN SECTOR – lunch. Got here when the restaurant opened which was probably a smart move since there were people lined up just an hour or so later. Delicious food including the fried oysters, spicy garlic glazed fried chicken, and gumbo. The shrimp po-boy and sloppy joe were alright but we probably wouldn’t order these again. Convenient option as we were visiting the WWII Museum/Beyond All Boundaries film.

EMERIL’S – dinner. For this meal, I can only report on what others had (I became ill just before dinner and was not able to make it). They came back very disappointed with the meal. Dishes were either too smoky with an overbearing hickory smell/flavor (lamb ribs and chicken) or too sweet (pork chop). They did however enjoy the banana cream pie very much. This was the meal I was most looking forward to (and it was probably the most expensive as well) so I was unhappy to hear the meal wasn’t good.

COCHON BUTCHER – plane ride home. Picked up a couple of sandwiches for our plane ride home. Got the Gambino and the Mulfaletta. Both sandwiches were delicious with their house cured meats. Accompanying chips and pickles were also very good.

MISCELLANEOUS – All worthwhile: cocktails at the Sazarec Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel; beignets and coffee at Café Du Monde; cocktail tour through Muriel’s, Court of Two Sisters, Arnaud’s, Pirates Alley Cafe

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  1. Odd about the Rib Room. A freind of mine is a regular there and tells me that it is much improved over hwat he thought was perfectly decent(although "not what is was in 1975" to use his term). He tells me that it has returned to glory days. I'll try it out later in January. I can only hope Xmas was an off day. I'd not bother with lobster bisque or salmon on a visit to New Orleans: as a local, I might have those as a change of pace but even as I write this I think I wouldn't bother.

    The positive remark on Court of Two Sisters is a surprise. I've remarked before that it has done decent wedding receptions...I honestly think that if you took the trendiest Manhattan chef and let him run the kitchen there anonymously it would still get a bad rap.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hazelhurst

      Re Court of Two Sisters, I believe the OP was simply saying it was a stop on the cocktail tour they took. I went to an event there a couple years ago which was a local tourism industry networking event and everything was staunchly mediocre. If there's any time you'd think you'd want to put your best foot forward ...

      Having said that, they really do have a good turtle soup which they sell at their booth on Jackson Square at French Quarter Fest.

      1. re: rouxdauphine

        Yes, I meant I visited the Court of Two Sisters as part of a cocktail tour. No experience with the food. The tour was fun by the way as it took us through several restaurants that I would have never visited otherwise and they were very beautifully decorated inside (Muriel's and Arnaud's in particular). I can see coming back for drinks at the bar if that's possible...not sure if bar is just meant for people waiting for tables.

    2. I'm sorry to read this about Rib Room. We dined there during our first visit to New Orleans, a whopping 16 years ago. We haven't eaten there in at least 10 years, as other restaurants have become priority. But I hate to read about it being poor quality.

      1 Reply
      1. re: FoodChic

        It really is a beautiful room and gave off a warm feeling (service was great too). Too bad food was only so-so for my meal. Maybe it was just off because of Christmas day...highly possible that the "B" or "C" team was cooking that day. Though that doesn't explain our prime rib being poor quality. I guess thinking about it a bit more, with options so limited that day, if atmosphere is a priority, I would probably dine here again for Christmas. If food is a priority, I would go to Domenica or Luke which were also open that day...they are much more casual but food was a lot better (based on my limited experience).

      2. French 75's are delicious. I didn't think I liked gin. Guess I do. Nice report!