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Apr 3, 2012 05:21 PM

my New Orleans trip report (late March 2012)

My wife and I were in New Orleans the past week (we live in NYC) during Final Four weekend, though we were there for a wedding rather than basketball. We had wedding stuff to do on THURS night and FRI night, so we didn't hit as many spots as we normally would, but we still made the food rounds, so thought I'd jot down my trip notes to pay back to the lovely CH community that is always so helpful. To wit:

WED Lunch: Green Goddess. We walked in just after opening, no one was there yet, so we grabbed a table outside. I had the bahn mi, my wife had the pork belly with egg and truffled grits. Both were very, very good, with distinctive and unusual flavor combinations. We had a few cocktails as well (natch) - they are very creative, and the ones I tried were delicious. This place has a great vibe - it is nice and relaxed, the outdoor seats are perfect to enjoy a nice day, and the people are friendly and accommodating. The food isn't "traditional" New Orleans, but the distinctiveness of it, and the FUN of it, fits perfectly.

WED Dinner: Lilette. OK I know this place gets a lot of props on these boards, but we were both disappointed. Part of it was that there was a well known actor/comedian sitting at the table behind us, so they weren't paying much attention to us, nor the delivery of our plates. I found the food quite... boring. It wasn't bad, it just didn't do anything for me. We split a bunch of appetizers, and we each had a main. I was really looking forward to the boudin noir app - but found it bland and unremarkable. The truffle parmigiano toast was pretty good though. I see no reason to go back though, for the food or the service.

THURS Lunch: Parkway. This place also gets a lot of props on these boards, and I'm glad it does! This was an awesome poor boy place - nothing fancy mind you, just good bread and good fillings. I had cold roast turkey and my wife had the roast beef and gravy. I thought they were both awesome, and can't wait to go back next time. The potato salad was rockin' too.

FRI Lunch: we liked Green Goddess so much that we went back! What more can I say? The people are great, the food is delicious and just so INTERESTING, and did I mention the cocktail list? My wife had the belly again, but I went with the Cubano sandwich (not the veggie one) - I wasn't sure what to expect with the pineapple and pickled peppers and all but: wow. Just an enjoyable place all around.

SAT Lunch: My first trip to Commander's Palace (actually the first trip there for all 4 in our party). We did the jazz brunch, and we didn't get the Garden Room, but I don't care. This was probably the best meal of the trip. We dressed up properly, suits and dresses and all that. There were several people there considerably more casual (a few jeans, shorts here and there) which was kind of disappointing. But the food... I had the shrimp and tasso Hennican, the Islander eggs, and pecan pie. I can eat a LOT, and I couldn't finish this meal. I force fed myself the pecan pie, which was REALLY good, but I just couldn't finish it (I devoured everything up until that point though, quite happily and probably too quickly). My verdict: excellent service, cool waiters and waitresses, and very well prepared, very well presented, memorable food. I'd go back without hesistation. They have really nice cocktails too. The Saint 75 was delicious (thanks to Mary and Marek for a great experience).

SAT Dinner: Herbsaint. Our last meal of this trip. Part of me is sad that I did Commander's and Herbsaint on the same day. My appetite still hadn't fully returned from lunch, so dinner was a bit tougher on us. But. I like this place. I'd hit Cochon and Cochon Butcher on my previous visit, so I knew the food would be good, and it was. Service was a bit cold, but the food was very good. I had the chicken/andouille gumbo (nice and dark and nice bit of kick) and the fried oyster special, plus the duck confit (which I had decided on WEEKS before). The meal was worth the while, but I think I'd go back to Cochon before Herbsaint.

Hope this helps some others out!

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  1. Nice report. I also visited NOLA last week from New York ( I posted a report over the weekend) and also had a great meal at the Green Goddess. I love Herbsaint, Parkway, and CP--all great. I've never tried Lilette (though I visit NOLA about twice a year) and your post reinforces my reasoning. It just doesn't seem that interesting. Sounds like you had a great time. And I applaud you for having the cajones to go to the same restaurant twice in one trip--I can't bring myself to do that.

    1. Sorry about Lilette. We had a similar exprience at La Petite Grocery when Elvis Costello walked in. Managment was totally unapologetic about the two hours we sat without food. So needless to say, we've never been back.

      When you get into the end zone, act like you've been there before...someone should tell this to these restaurants

      7 Replies
      1. re: FoodChic

        Well stated, FoodChic! And I agree, it felt rather amateurish. I find it curious that in a city like New Orleans one would run into starstruck restaurant staff so easily - I would think they'd be used to that sort of thing and would handle it gracefully. But as you said with your experience with Le Petite Grocery, we won't be going back to Lilette and I won't be recommending it to anyone. Plenty of other places to try out, or to enjoy again.

        On a separate note though, I get the feeling that at a place like Commander's, if someone "notable" walked in, you wouldn't notice a thing from the staff - you'd continue to be treated awesomely.

        1. re: jerico

          I think that's absolutely correct. Commanders does service better than most any other restaurant. I've found the same to be true of August.

          1. re: jerico

            You're right about Commander's. One Mother's Day when I was there Sandra Bullock was there too. You'd never know it by the way they treated us (except one waiter telling us who the nice/bitchy celebrities are - which was fun!).

            1. re: txgrl99

              The servers at CP somehow manage to balance an extraordinary level of professionalism with a winking insider friendliness. I don't know how they do it and I haven't seen it quite like that anywhere else. It's definitely a unique place.

              1. re: kukubura

                That "winking insider friendliness" is a great description. I'd go so far as to saym, thoughk that Commander's doesnlt have a lock on it but I am speaking from a local's perspective. I think you get the same thing at Clancy's and, depending on the waiter , at Galatoire's (Imre will be crisp and professional but if he knows you you get the latest jokes and wisecracks. John will give anyone the latest ribald yarn.) I was at Antoine's last Saturday night and it was the same thing as you describe even though I did not know that waiter. By the way, the raiment of many folks in The Barn was appalling.

              2. re: txgrl99

                I was there that day, too! Same thing with the waiter, too! Also, the waiter we had at domenica one night handled Michael J Fox being there in a similar manner. Very professional.

            2. re: FoodChic

              Last time we were in town, we had lunch at Coquette and sat next to Jesse Eisenburg. The service was as professional as ever; the staff never missed a step. It was a friend's birthday, and we asked the server to take a pic of us toasting her so we could text it, and at that moment, Jesse leaned forward to talk to his friend , so he's in the pic too! The food was wonderful, as always; DH ordered shrimp and grits after ogling Jesse's plate.

            3. Jerico which would you recommend Cochon or Cochon Butcher?

              1 Reply
              1. re: benila

                Hi Benila,

                That's a tough one. If I could only choose one, I think I'd go to the butcher though, as I love casual lunch type places. I'd get the muff with a side order of boudin, and a beer, and I'd be a very happy guy.

                (Of course then I'd try to go to Cochon for dinner that night...)