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Mar 21, 2012 03:45 PM

Closest alternative to Commander's Palace Brunch

My daugher and I will be in NO for one night after visiting colleges. Before heading home, I wanted to take her to Sunday Brunch at Commanders' but they are booked. What would be the closest altenative with similar level of service, elegance, and over all experience.

I was wanting to try Ralph's as I haven't been there yet. What is the level of dress for their Sunday brunch?

We also don't want buffet style, so Court of Two Sisters isn't an option and neither is the Crystal room.

Thanks for any advice.

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  1. Have only been to dinner and lunch at Ralph's, but based on those experiences, I would think their brunch would be a nice experience. My choice second to Commander's would be
    Arnaud's, Brennan's and Muriels's. I have not been to Atchafalaya, but hear great things
    about it. Hope the college search goes well.

    1. I don't generally recommend Ralph's, but it would be a nice brunch alternative. Also, you should check back with Commander's -- perhaps they will have cancellations, or perhaps they will take your name on a wait list.

      1. Brennan’s is probably closest to Commander’s except that I find it to be so overpriced and the service isn’t nearly as good. If you have the money to burn, I guess it would suit your needs though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: shanefink

          Arnaud's would be the closest as they have jazz too. Brennan's is not very popular with locals but I always had a great time there when I was living there. It's such a lovely restaurant.

        2. We have done several Sunday Brunches, and my two, alternative recs., would be Brennan's or Ralph's on the Park (both within the Brennan family, but different).

          Each has a charm, and a different menu.

          Now, many here dislike anything "Brennan's," with the exception of CP's, and I feel that it has slipped greatly, over the last 15 years, but I am a "lone voice" to that. Others feel that CP's is the ultimate NOLA dining experience. I felt that it once was, but feel that it has declined greatly, over those years. We keep trying, and hoping, and are always disappointed.Other than cheap martinis, I question what they now do well.

          For the "dress code" for Ralph's on the Park, for Sunday Brunch, I always wear a blazer, though sans tie. Wife normally does a St. John's suit, with pants, as we are often flying out, just hours away. There will be gentlemen in suits, but a sports coat, or blazer, for gentlemen, will be just fine. For the ladies, a nice dress, or suit, will fit in very well.

          NOLA is a bit more of a "dress-up" city, than some others. It all depends on what one is comfortable with. For a NOLA Sunday Brunch, my blazer is probably a the upper-end of things, even at Brennan's, or Ralph's on the Park.



          9 Replies
          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Thanks, everyone. We've had dinner at Brennan's a few times so think I'll make reservations at Ralph's. Looking at the menu, she wants to try their version of chicken and waffles.

            We were wanting a place with a dressier feel. Glad to know we won't be out of place.

            1. re: pyescamilla

              Ralph's has a niice brunch, and most people will be dressed "up." If you haven't already made your reservation, ask to be seated downstairs at Ralph's, in the main dining room. (If you have, call them back.) We were seated upstairs once for brunch; the room isn't nearly as festive.

              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                Thank you for the note. We were in NO yesterday and had brunch at Ralph's. Unfortunately, it wasn't as positive of an experience as w had hoped. Though my reservations had requested that we be seated in the main room, when we arrived they stated the only table available was in the bar area right next to the piano. The service was much more casual than I expected and I believe our waitress might have been stretched. I had to request a spoon for my coffee twice to her and once to another server before receiving one. The food was fine, but nothing memorable. My daughter thougt her crab meat omelette to be slightly overcooked as it was dry.

                My biggest suprise was in the dress of the other diners. I wasn't expecting male diners dressed more appropriately for breakfast at Denny's in jeans, flip flops, shorts, and t-shirts. One diner who seem to be friends with several of the restaurant staff kept his baseball cap on the entire time. When we arrived for our 11:30 reservation, I'd say more than half the men were in jackets or button down shirts. By the time we left around 1:30, that had switched to less than a third of guests.

                Maybe we just hit them on an off day.

                1. re: pyescamilla

                  How very dispiriting. A friend from LAfayette was in town on business for a few days and said that almost everywhere he went he was the only man wearing a necktie. I don't expect Ralphs to be very dressy. Dry crabmeat is a crime.

                  1. re: pyescamilla

                    Sorry to hear that. While I've had mostly positive experiences at Ralph's brunch, it's not a favorite restaurant: the food (selection/preparation) is inconsistent. But it tends, at brunch anyway, to attract people who dress up--or at least it always seemed that way to me. However, we're entering festival season, and where there are no dress codes, almost anything goes . . .
                    Although I like the idea of brunch, I don't think it's done all that well here. I resent paying a premium unless the food is fantastic. I'd just as soon go to Cafe Degas for their Eggs Benedict and a Bloody Mary. I don't really care how folks dress; I want the food to be good.

                2. re: pyescamilla

                  Just did Ralph's for dinner, for the first time.

                  I was in my travel blazer, but most gentlemen had coats, and about 35% (just a guess) had ties. About the same for suits.

                  Ralph's is "medium-dressy" by my parlance.



                    1. re: noradeirdre

                      I was, back in November, and then in February, but not now.

                      Hope to sneak my wife back, without any of the family knowing about it, but we'll have to see how that goes.


                3. re: Bill Hunt

                  Agree with Hunt here on Ralph's. We took a party of 10 there for bruch before Jazz Fest last year because CP was booked on Mother's Day and it was great. Personally I think Brennan's is way overpriced for the quality.