4 days in NOLA - review
I recently returned from a four-day trip to New Orleans and I wanted to share my experience with other 'Hounds who search out this board for recommendations. About a month prior to arriving in New Orleans I sought out various threads on this board to get an idea on where to eat. The challenge we had was we were with a group of 12 so that made things a little challenging when setting up reservations.
Day One - we arrived late afternoon and since I was the only one in our large group who had been to New Orleans, I thought hitting up Pat O'Briens would be a great start to the trip. Is it a foodie destination? Of course not. But sitting in that courtyard slamming back Hurricanes is a great way to start your vacation.
Day Two - A little groggy from the Bourbon Street festivities from the night before, we made our way to Johnny's for po boys. We waited in a 40 minute line before we were able to order but all that tells me is this place is the real deal. I got the surf and turf po boy and it was an absolute mess (in a good way). The roast beef (and debris) pretty much made the bun inedible but I was not complaining. For dinner we did not have any reservations so we wandered around Decatur after the French Market and came across Landry's. I probably would not seek that restaurant out but when you have a group of 12 without reservations on a Saturday night, you can't be too choosy. All in all it was a pretty decent meal but nothing that stood out.
Day Three - Lunch at Acme Oyster Co. Half the group we were with didn't feel like waiting in line but for those who did, it was worth it. Great spot, lively and the fresh oysters on the half shell were superb. For dinner, our tour guide from a Bayou airboat tour we took the day before recommended Mulate's for some good Cajun food. I wasn't too sure what to expect, the place seemed a bit touristy but afterall, we were tourists so go figure! Anyways, there was over an hour wait to seat our party of 12 so we went to lounge area, had a few pecan ales and waited. Once we were seated, the food came out fast and no one at our table complained about the food. I ordered the blackened fish of the day (red snapper) and it was sublime. Really, really good piece of fish. The jambalya that came with the fish was really good as well.
Day Four - Jazz brunch at Arnaud's. Wow. Such a fun room and the food was outstanding. Oysters on the half shell for an appetizer, soft shell crab for main and banana's foster for dessert. What a great start to our final day. For dinner, we made reservations at Commander's Palace. Our group had an 8:30 reservation so we left the Quarter early and wandered around the cemetary across the street from CP before heading into the restaurant. Without hyperbole, this was right up there for the best meal of my life. Most of our group opted for the chef's three course menu. I did the turtle soup for appetizer, shrimp and grits for main and the bread pudding souflee for the dessert. Every single person out of our large group left that restaurant beaming with happiness.
I just wanted to thank the regular posters to this board for keeping the threads updated with great suggestions. It certainly helped in making most of our dining decisions easy and contirubuted to a very memorable trip.
It sounds like you had a great visit and we're glad it worked out for your large party.
The lines are a problem with Johnny's and Acme. If I really want Johnny's I'll try to hit it for an early lunch. The problem is that there are no real substiutes for such a po-boy place in the Quarter. Not to say that there are not a great number of other sandwich type lunch places, some with good po-boys. As for Acme, if there is a line, as there usually is, I just cross the street to Felix's and get just as much joy.
It's great that two classics, Arnaud's and CP worked for your group.
I enjoyed your review, because it sounds like you didn't just blindly follow CHers' collective advice, but incorporated it into your own desires, personal taste and sense of adventure. Well done.
Trying to wrangle a group of 12 (if I read you correctly), is more than any one person should be sidled with. My Panama hat is off to you. You are a better person, than I am. While I have had such a "posse," I only have gotten them seated, and they are then, on their own. I do not think that I would ever do that again. [We had to get one gentleman into a jacket (he was slight of build, and one of the ladies had a blazer), so he made "the cut."] Still, I had to do even more work, than to get a table for 13 into Commander's Palace on a very busy night. Never again for me. You are a saint!
Thank you for the reviews.