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Jan 29, 2012 07:40 PM

Help me hone my NOLA Plans

Haven't been there in many years. I'm not going to get too scavenger hunt-ish, will probably throw out most of my notes and just go freestyle, but here are some places I'm hoping to hit (and I'm totally unabashed about going to blatantly touristic places if they're worthy).

Comments? Suggestions?

- Uglesich's

- Tee Eva's (5201 Magazine Street 504-504-899-8350) pralines and pies

- Coops place

- Nola grocery: Debris fries, smoked Boudin balls, po boy (surf/turf po boy with Debris AND fried oyster...cuz I want to try both)

- Adolfos

- Praline connection for soul food

- Snug harbor jazz club - supposed to have surprisingly good food

- secret, unnamed, unmarked place near jazz club (must research more)

- The joint BBQ

- Elizabeths southern breakfast

- Petunia’s for breakfast

For Drinks:
- Napoleon House for drinks
- Pravda mixed drinks
- Kerry Irish pub

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  1. Jim,

    Uglesich's has been closed for some time.

    Good luck and enjoy,


    37 Replies
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      Yeah, I meant Casamento's (though I do prefer to remain in denial about Uglesich's closing).

      1. re: Jim Leff

        Oh so do many of us, Uglesich's is sorely missed.

        Freestyle should not include going without reservations. If something is going on in town, make them early. If nothing is going on, don't wait until a day or two before or you'll find yourself having to settle for whatever is available.

        Atchafalaya Cafe was very good.

        1. re: texasredtop

          Most if not all of the above list are not restaurants that accept reservations.

          1. re: expatorleanian

            Yes, I should have included "if reservations are taken". I almost missed out on Mr. B's at a lunch on a Tuesday because I thought I wouldn't need reservations on a mid week day for lunch. It won't happen again.

              1. re: Jim Leff

                The bbq shrimp at Mr. B's are always the best thing I eat in NO. The last trip the shrimp were not cooked perfectly but as I've said before, the shrimp don't make that dish. Pascal's Manale also has good bbq shrimp, that's where I fell in love with them. Mr. B's are a little different and my preference but I wouldn't be upset if I had to go to Pascal's for them.

                1. re: texasredtop

                  I'm not familiar with Pascal's. Is that a place I could get into with less reservations fuss and expense than Mr. B's?

                  1. re: Jim Leff

                    Pascal's Manale is far less expensive than Mr B's, and is where they invented BBQ shrimp. The BBQ shrimp there are fantastic, and it really is a matter of personal preference (and often not a strong preference) for one over the other.

                    Pascal's does take reservations, but they are certainly not required. It is more of a "neighborhood" or even local place.

                    1. re: tzurriz

                      Cool, I'll do that, then. There will be a time when I'll want to try K-Pauls, Mr B's, and some of the other tony places. But this is not that trip. I go to NOLA so seldom, and there are so many great funky neighborhood places, it just seems like a tourist move to head too quickly to those sorts of magnets.

                      Anything else to try at Pascal's? Hopefully not too much....I don't want to over-consume at any one place.....

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        Oysters, bread, and bbq shrimp are what I always have. This last time (first time with my husband), we had desserts, which were excellent, but IMHO skip-able so I can eat more oysters, bread, and shrimps. :)

                        My DH has a sweet tooth so he insisted upon desert. For me though, one order of beignets, a praline from Aunt Sally's, and a bread pudding souffle at Commander's Palace are enough sweets to get me through any visit to N.O.

                        1. re: Jim Leff

                          That's inaccurate. Manale's is about the same price point as Mr. B's, and you'd definitely want reservations for dinner.

                          1. re: uptownlibrarian

                            thanks, uptown. does this mean I should try to hit them for lunch? Or is Mr. B's easy to walk in for lunch during the week? There's just two of us, so eating at bar is fine. Just want to try those shrimp and get rolling...

                            Edit: I understand that Manale's does the bbq shrimp in a po boy, lunch only. I like the idea of not needing to peel them, and not needing a reservation, but would I miss much from doing it this way?

                            1. re: Jim Leff

                              Manale's is old-school....the BBQ shrimp are far simpler than many updated versions available these days. That can be good or bad, depending on your perspective. Allegedly, Manale's uses margarine, and the spicing is dominated by black pepper.

                              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                I'm not an ingredient materialist. Whatever works is fine by me. And I think I'd prefer to experience the theme prior to the variations.

                                1. re: Jim Leff

                                  I greatly prefer the actual dish to the poboy. Having the poboy would be the variation rather than the theme.

                                  1. re: uptownlibrarian

                                    Ok, thanks. Not sure it's worth the expense and reservations commitment to do a reference dinner, at least not on a short trip like this. Think I'll pass, but keep it on my to-eat list.

                                    1. re: Jim Leff

                                      Get Mr B's in your itinerary. You'll be glad you did.

                                  2. re: Jim Leff

                                    Personally, I like both, but they are different, in some degrees, so one might vote for one, over the other.


                                    PS - both my wife and I, also like Emeril's version at NOLA (the restaurant), but some are not so kind to that version.

                                2. re: Jim Leff

                                  To really experience BBQ shrimp, you really need to get them w/heads on, in a bowl; you'll have to peel them, but that's part of the experience--that and sopping up the buttery elixir in which they'll be bathing. Mr. B's version (very traditional) is excellent. If you don't mind sitting at the bar, you shouldn't have a problem walking in, ordering the shrimp, and getting out quickly most days.

                                  If you must eat BBQ shrimp in a po-boy, try the one at Liuzza's by the Track (much more the kind of venue you seem to want on this trip).

                                  1. re: Jim Leff

                                    They lose a lot in a po boy. Peel them, it's worth the effort. The best part is the sauce the shrimp sit in. You'll miss the full flavor of that in a po boy. If you want to eat at certain places you should make reservations. I didn't make reservations at Mr. B's for a Tuesday lunch in December and luckily we got the last table which was in the back. I won't do that again. If they take reservations, spend the 30 seconds and call them. You can always cancel if you can't keep them.

                                    1. re: texasredtop

                                      Yeah, the back ain't so hot. We didn't have reservations either since we didn't know when our plane would arrive (and we were going straight there) and at first they tried to put us back there but luckily there were some free spots up front and we asked to move.

                                        1. re: Jim Leff

                                          Dark, quiet and out of the action. Close to the kitchen doors too. Nothing's wrong with it but I've never had to sit back there. I prefer out front with all the hoopla.

                                          1. re: texasredtop

                                            Hey, sounds like MY kind of area. We have always dined up front, or at the bar, but maybe I should ask for the back?

                                            I do not need to be in the "action," and actually, as I am trying to sneak my wife into town, having her in a place, where her family will not see her, is an added bonus.

                                            Thanks for that info,


                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              No problem. We never even knew there was a back area until one day at lunch some workers came in in overall uniforms and they escorted them back there to a table - I assumed because of their attire. But we were dressed up and it was just lucky they had a table at all. It's just past the northwest end of the bar and it isn't very big but you might want to make a reservation and ask for that area. The kitchen door is within view too but it wasn't a problem. Our service wasn't as grand back there but it was still good enough.

                                              1. re: texasredtop

                                                I will definitely talk to the host/hostess, and see what it is all about.

                                                Amazing how one can dine many times at a restaurant, and not know the full layout. We had dined at La Mer, Halakulani, Waikiki, HI, about 8 times, and had always done one of the two tables, that overlooks the patio below, where they have wonderful, live Hawai`ian music. At that point, someone mentioned that they had "ocean-side" tables, just around the corner. Heck, who knew? We did those a few times, and while nice, then opted to go with one of the two, overlooking the patio below, at House Without a Key. Guess that it is similar with Mr. B's?

                                                Thank you,


                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                  It's sort of a dark, hidden corner of the restaurant, which makes it sound intriguing, but it's also less climate controlled. Maybe proximity to the kitchen. All that simmering butter adds to the ambient heat I'm guessing...

                                                  1. re: kukubura

                                                    there is nothing enjoyable or intimate about being in the back corner. it happened once; it never happened again.

                                                    1. re: edible complex

                                                      Yeah, we were surprised that they tried to put us back there. We were dressed up fabulously. Sure, we didn't have a reservation, but there were a number of empty tables up front. We aren't usually squeaky wheels but we asked to move immediately and everything was fine after that.

                                                      1. re: kukubura

                                                        It's like you guys are speaking some alien language.

                                                        But, hey, whatever floats your boats! :)

                                                        1. re: Jim Leff

                                                          Well when you go to get your BBQ shrimp goodness poke your head towards the back and see what you think!

                                                          1. re: Jim Leff

                                                            got dat right! whatever floats your bbq shrimp! heads on mo bettah!

                                          2. re: kukubura

                                            It was packed the day we were there and we got the last table available. We'd already tried Galatoire's and it was a 1.5 hour wait at 1:00 so we just went to Mr. B's and went back to Galatoire's the next day.

                                3. re: Jim Leff

                                  Yes, it's not in the quarter so there is less traffic there. But I still make reservations. You never know when something might be going on in any restaurant so I play it on the safe side.

                            2. re: texasredtop

                              You can always eat at the bar at Mr. B's. We actually prefer to do that rather than plan in advance!

                              1. re: CEfromLA

                                I totally agree -- go after lunch, get a seat at the bar, couple of cocktails and water and share the BBQ shrimp and the gumbo ya-ya. It's quieter, we met a few locals who work in the shops who were stopping in for their "usuals" and had interesting talks with them and the bartenders. Splitting those two dishes won't fill you up, either. Just hold you over for dinner.

                                1. re: lsmutko

                                  Yep, I will do this. I'm going to do as many bar meals as I can. No reservation issue, faster in-and-out, and easier to split a single entree in places where I mostly want to try a single thing. Good to know Mr. B has one.


                    2. Petunia's had been under unfortunate new management for a while; I believe they're closed now.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: montuori

                        Thanks, montuori, that had been an older tip.

                      2. I've seldom seen as polarized opinions as re: Coops. Loved or hastily dismissed (on this board as well as other food sites). The lovers don't seem particularly clueless, and the dismissers don't seem particularly savvy.

                        Without staking out a partisan position, can anyone account for this division of opinion?

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Jim Leff

                          That is quite common on this, and other boards. Some folk embrace "sacred cows," which can do not wrong, and then some have a real "hate-on" for the same establishments. It all depends on what one experiences, and what they are looking for. There are a few proponents, who jump onto the bandwagon, because another poster likes it, and some, who side with the detractors, without ever having dined there. It just happens, and this is not the only board, where you see such.

                          Rather than hollow recs., I tend to go with reviews, that go into adequate detail, and then draw my own conclusions.

                          Most of all, enjoy,


                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            I wasn't looking for psychological insight so much as the reason this particular restaurant is unusually divisive. Maybe the good chef isn't always there? Or they have controversial ways of cooking things? Or theyve gone downhill? Or?


                            Ok, I just checked out some food photos from Coop's on Yelp, and I understand. This is the sort of food that radiates a deeper inner goodness, but doesn't particularly impress the palate. It's not all. Slung fast. The sort of cooking that makes some people judge "sloppy" and "inferior". Not me, I'm good with that style, though I also fully appreciate more careful cooking.

                            1. re: Jim Leff

                              It's deeper than that: some people like Coop's jambalaya, but for this native, it's an awful mess. I'm not a tourist, a drunken reveler looking for late night food, or a Quarterite with limited options. I don't like schlocky versions of my native cuisine foisted off on the unsuspecting. It's all about location w/Coop's....if it were elsewhere, it wouldn't merit a mention.

                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                I'm with Hungry Celeste on this. You can find delicious unrefined food all over town. For me, it wouldn't be at Coop's. I'm a native too and even when I lived in the Quarter, I never got Coop's. That said, I know a few Quarterites who love it. Big portions "slung fast"--sure; "deep inner goodness"--not my idea of it. But there are several places in NO that get folks polarized.

                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                  Non-native, here. We hit Coop's once, with less adventurous diners seeking a beer out of the heat with their meal.

                                  We actually liked their fried chicken, but BBQ sauce in the jambalaya was a bit much. The consistency was off-putting. Consistency more reminiscent of oatmeal than paella.

                                  All that said, good food, for a dive bar...if having a bite at a dive bar is what you're seeking.

                                2. re: Jim Leff

                                  Coop's is a dive bar with pretty good rabbit jambalaya. That in itself makes it worth a lunch, or a late-night snack. No refinement whatsoever, one of the pleasures of the place. It's on my Every Time I Visit list, along with brandy-sazaracs-no-sugar, and a chess game with Jude Acers.

                              2. re: Jim Leff

                                In re: Coop's...."and the dismissers don't seem particularly savvy".

                                Besides not being particularly savvy, I dismiss it because the food's not very good.

                                1. re: BayouTeche

                                  I disagree on Coop’s. I like alright, but whenever I send out of town folks there, they absolutely love it. The price is right and if you’re looking for a dive bar with good food, this is definitely a good option.

                                  1. re: shanefink

                                    Again, if I read it correctly, a vote for "personal taste," and at the end of the day, that is what it should be about.


                                2. re: Jim Leff

                                  I wouldn't waste precious time or space at Coops.

                                3. I can't recommend Adolfos. Were you looking for Italian generally, or were you wanting a restaurant specifically in the Frenchmen Street area?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: pizzajunkie

                                    Neither. Just taking tips from reliable sources.

                                    1. re: pizzajunkie

                                      Adolfo's has the best rack of lamb and oysters pernod. can be insanely crowded, if iirc, cash only.

                                    2. adding in from subsequent research:

                                      Casamento's (which is what I meant when I typed "Uglesich's", which is out of biz) for charbroiled oysters, unless it's a serious mistake not to get them at Drago's instead)

                                      - Pascal's Manale (barbecued shrimp)

                                      - Liuzza's By the Track (po boys)

                                      - Domenica for happy hour (pizza, pasta)

                                      - The French Market 1008 N Peters St # 3

                                      Organic Banana stand in French Market for a Dirty Banana and/or a daiquiri made with Old New Orleans Rum .

                                      - Charlies Seafood near airport (for shrimp callas)

                                      - Brigtsen's (will get a bunch of apps just for calibration purposes)

                                      - Cochon Cochon - probably won't, but two people have begged me to go here.

                                      - Finn McCool's sports bar (if they're having any sort of party, so I can experience trafing dishes of homemade food)

                                      19 Replies
                                      1. re: Jim Leff

                                        Finn's only has those parties during Saints games and occasionally special events. They're themed pot lucks with patrons supplying most of the dishes. You'll have to come back during football season.

                                        1. re: uptownlibrarian

                                          Darn it! I've been reading, here and elsewhere about their pot lucks. They sound like the single best way to try a range of real (and real good) homestyle NOLA cooking. I WILL come back!

                                          1. re: Jim Leff

                                            Casamento's: curious to hear your report. As far as I know, they added the charbroiled oysters this year. Only available at night.

                                            Charlie's: Not really near the airport. Just FYI.

                                            For cocktails in the Quarter, I would send you to Arnaud's French 75 or Bar Tonique.

                                            Snug Harbor: Actually never eaten there, but the burger is same as Port of Call. No idea about the rest of the menu. On Frenchmen Street you're better off at Three Muses.

                                            The Joint: It's got lots of fans, but BBQ isn't what New Orleans does. I would call it good for New Orleans. A couple of other BBQ places opened just recently in Uptown and Metairie. Haven't tried them yet, but reports are better.

                                            Pascal's Manale: Not crazy about this place. Original BBQ shrimp. Worth visiting, I guess, as a reference point. Bar is nice and they do oysters on the half shell.

                                            1. re: Frolic

                                              Thanks, Frolic. Cocktail places sound good, though when it comes to drinks, ambiance and general friendliness (i.e. customers talking to each other) rank as high as quality. Are those two good in that category, as well?

                                              CAn you give me names for the uptown and Metairie barbecue? Always fun to get in early....

                                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                                If nothing else, bartender Chris Hannah is wonderful company at Arnaud's French 75. A master at making drinks, but a real old school bartender (although he's young) and a serious student of local drinks history.

                                                McClure's is a BBQ pop-up at Dante's Kitchen Uptown. Lunch Mon-Fri and dinner on Tuesday.


                                                Smoking Buddha is place in Metairie:


                                                Both relatively new. Hearing good things. I just haven't made it yet.

                                                1. re: Frolic

                                                  Thanks. If I get there, I'll post.

                                                  1. re: Frolic

                                                    FWIW, I went to Smokin Buddha the other day, and we all thought the Joint was better. Smokin Budda was pretty good though.

                                                2. re: Frolic

                                                  if you're willing to hit up Charles' Seafood, you might also want to stop at Rivershack Tavern. their lunch chef is killing it with weekly lunch specials. I always had to get there before 11:30am, or else they could sell out.

                                                  and I'll add Katie's on Iberville for their dinner specials and either or both the Barge and Boudreaux.

                                                  Rivershack Tavern
                                                  3449 River Rd, Jefferson, LA

                                                3. re: Jim Leff

                                                  Charlie's Seafood isn't exactly near the airport, though it's closer to the airport than the French Quarter. It's far from fancy; more like a typical mid-century neighborhood seafood joint, with a few slightly nicer things on the menu.

                                                  Domenica's 3-6 happy hour has half-priced pizza & wines by the glass, but the pastas (and everything else on the menu) are regular priced at that time.

                                                  Do make the effort to go to Cochon, or at least go to Cochon Butcher (behind/down the side street from the restaurant).

                                                  I'd forget about Adolfo's, and go instead to Satsuma or Maurepas Foods.
                                                  Satsuma's website:
                                                  Recent review of Satsuma:

                                                  How about Cafe Reconcile? A good cause, and good, very homestyle food. Think fried catfish, baked macaroni & cheese, stewed okra & tomatoes, shrimp & white beans, red beans & rice, mustard greens, etc.

                                                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                    Good idea on Cafe Reconcile.

                                                    Also, if you're Uptown, Dunbar's at the Loyola Law School cafeteria is good. Used to be on Freret Street before the flood.

                                                    1. re: Frolic

                                                      Both look like sensational tips, thanks. Seems to be lots of confusion about Dunbar's have any insight on that?

                                                      1. re: Jim Leff

                                                        Dunbar's is located inside a student activities building on the Loyola Law School they're closed during school holidays, in the evenings, and on weekends, but are open for (greasy, cheap) breakfast. Good fried chicken, gumbo on Fridays. Simple, ordinary homestyle cooking, if your home is in the 700/701/703 zip codes. Fried chicken at Cafe Reconcile is just as good, as is the fried chix at McHardy's (takeout only).

                                                        1. re: Jim Leff

                                                          As far as I know, it's lunch only. Pretty sure they close during school breaks, so that might explain the confusion about hours.

                                                      2. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                        +1 on Cochon Butcher for a sandwich, side, or small plate.
                                                        Very good call on Cafe Reconcile.

                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                          Can you reduce that to two jewel-like item suggestions?

                                                          1. re: Jim Leff

                                                            CB: How about three? Love their version of cuban sandwich w/its spicy green relish-y sauce; pork belly sandwich on white bread (platonic ideal of a finger sandwich). I once had a duck & grilled cheese slider that was oozy, ducky, and wonderful. Sides/small plates tend to change, but I've never had a bad one--still thinking about the charred brussels sprouts I had a couple of months ago. They were jewels.

                                                            CR: menu changes daily, but always some kind of beans (I'm a fan of the limas) and big hunks of corn bread. They always have the fried chicken, I think, which everyone raves about, but they serve only breast, and I'm a dark meat kind of gal.
                                                            (One thing I didn't like was the pork loin--big slab of dry, as pork loin often is.)

                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                              Thanks. With you on the fried chicken, btw.

                                                      3. re: Jim Leff

                                                        You could still stop in for drinks and the drunken spelling bee sounds fun! But yes, you do need to come back for a Saints game. The excitement in there is contagious during a game. For the down home food you could try the buffet at Lil Dizzy's on Esplanade.

                                                        1. re: nolalove

                                                          +1 on Lil Dizzy's, as the gumbo is one of my favorites.