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John Besh

Going to New Orleans for a long weekend in July and want to try a John Besh restaurant. I love great food, but I am not one for stuffy and formal. I like a lot of energy, and I want to feal comfortable in jeans or a sundress. Which one would be right for me. Thanks in advance for all of your suggestions.

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  1. Sounds like Domenica. Service can be inconsistent, but the food has never disappointed. Casual too. Happy hour, half off drinks & pizza.

    1. Doesn't he also own Luke? It's a lot of fun, not stuffy at all. Domenica is Italian, Luke is more mittel European, which is where he had his training. Nice raw bar too. http://www.lukeneworleans.com/

      1. Either Domenica or Luke, plus Borgne has been getting good reviews. As whs says, Domenica's italian [have only ever had their happy-hour pizza, which was great], and Luke's more a bistro. Borgne is Besh's new seafood restaurant. Although if you're up to packing one somewhat formal outfit, August's prix-fixe lunch is an amazing deal.

        1. Now, I must be an iconoclast, as I think that you should go to Restaurant August. It is a tad more "formal," then the others, BUT it is NOT "stuffy." A jacket for the gentlemen would be appropriate, but ties would be optional.

          Chef Besh rather "turns loose" with the Chef's Tasting Menus, and they are well worth the trip.

          Most of all, enjoy,

          Hunt

          12 Replies
          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Go to August for lunch (m-f). It is less formal in the afternoon. A sundress will be perfect. Don't restrict yourself to just one Besh rest. Domenica is really good. Clam and mushroom pizzas are delicious. Mushroom soup, lasagna bolognese, squash blossoms, veal chop...it's hard to go wrong. BTW, sundresses are the way to go, all day, everyday during our very hot, humid summers.

            1. re: JazzyB

              Dang! Here I traveled in my blazer, when a sundress would have sufficed... [Grin]

              Hunt

                1. re: LaLa

                  No jeans till probably November. I've worn sundresses (during the day) to Voodoo, and that's Halloween.

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                A sundress would certainly work at August. Go there for lunch.

                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  as for August's tasting menus -- two reviewers recently posted their reservations about it. i cant really infer whats going on, but its worth mentioning. one of the diners is experienced w/ tasting menus and had some good points (no cleanser, etc).

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/853455
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/853344

                  ...in that second post they also detail a phenomenal experience w/ R'evolution, citing it above their August experience. we've been for a few bites at Rev, but are quite interested in their tasting...

                  1. re: kibbles

                    Tasting menu lunchtime is usually good. Last had it in April. We both enjoyed.

                    1. re: kibbles

                      In July, we will be doing Restaurant August, and my intention is to do the tasting menu, but much will depend on what each offers. I will dutifully report.

                      Last time there, the wine selection was my only complaint. Things have changed.

                      Hunt

                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Sadly, Luke is a shadow of its former self. For years this was a consistent go-to for me and my family as we often host visitors to New Orleans and Luke was perfect for groups. For years it was a consistent fan favourite, in weekends that included all kinds of great stops. But that is all over now.

                        The service is at this point a joke. I personally had 3 bad experiences in a row before calling it quits. My brother held out for six strikes, but even he has given up now. One night they brought oysters after our entrees and rather than just apologizing or saying they were backed up the server began an argument, claiming this is how it is with oysters -- they come when they come. Twice we showed up and they didn't have our reservation in their system, or made it for the wrong time (like 11pm on a Sunday instead of 11am). Lost orders, wrong orders, mystery items on checks, sloppy attention to the table, long lapses with no service, etc. Perhaps most damning, the food isn't as good as it used to be. So it isn't even worth the service gaffes (slightly less egregious) with small groups anymore. I'm really sad about this.

                        1. re: johnstubbs

                          i work near by and go there often - have noticed the service is usually sub-par. figured its the besh training grounds...

                          1. re: kibbles

                            Really? I'd give that distinction to Domenica. Granted, service at Luke has always been slower than their oyster shucker and thats s....l...o...w.

                          2. re: johnstubbs

                            This is bad news indeed. We had planned on working Luke into the mix on our July trip, as we actually have several days "off" from familial duties.

                            Sorry to hear that.

                            Hunt

                    2. Thanks everyone! I thought I had settled on Luke, but the last couple of posts have changed my mind. I admit I am even more overwhelmed by all the choices (I know, everyone should have such problems :)) I am sure I will have a great time and have way too much great food while I am there. I notice no one mentioned his steak house in the Casino (my husband loves to gamble) is it any good???

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mlmarek08

                        It 's good. It's also the most expensive steak in town with the strip running around $65. Mr. John's Steakhouse serves great USDA prime for much less. Thre is a " Living Social" deal available today priced at $25 for $50 certificate. Mr. John's is located on St. Charles streetcar line
                        It will be on your R heading uptown.

                        1. re: JazzyB

                          despite the two-day duration the Mr. John's coupon sold out in record speed. sadly for me.

                      2. My vote is for Domenica or Borgne (haven't been to August - hope to soon!). I completely agree on the points regarding Luke's food & service although I think the worst service out of all his restaurants is American Sector. I've actually made comments in the past that clearly it doesn't take much to get hired as a server by Besh's corporation. BTW, there's a great happy hour special at Domenica - 1/2 priced pizzas, wine & beer . The pizzas are delish as are many other items on the menu (cauliflower stuffed w/goat cheese, squid ink pasta, ricotta w/pecan & date pesto...)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ktroia

                          I moved to New Orleans after accepting a sous chef job at one of its busiest restaurants and was very excited to try John Besh's restaurants. I first tried Domenica, and while the pizza was so-so, the octopus carpaccio and squash blossoms were delicious. Then we waited. And waited. Forty-five minutes after our mid-course was cleared they finally brought our pasta course. The cheese sprinkled on top of mine began to get crusty and the pasta was a starchy ball. Based on experience it was very clear to me that my pasta had been sitting under the heat lamp for quite a while before it was served and was rendered essentially inedible. I will not return.
                          I then tried Lüke. For my app I got head cheese. It, and the condiments, we're delicious. Next was the blood sausage with apple, fried potato and caramelized onion -- delicious. Then the server -- who was essentially worthless in his role -- brought out another plate of head cheese. When I pointd out that I had already had it he picked it up and scurried back to the kitchen. He returned with my entree -- the choucroute garni -- which was anchored by a pork shank SO dry that I couldn't even cut it with a steak knife. Amateurish.
                          I decided to return to Lüke to try the burger. I ordered it medium rare. It came out well done. While I hold an extremely low expectation that a burger will be cooked properly I found it extra-insulting at Luke due to the way it is presented. At Lüke they cut the burger in half in the kitchen before they plate it. So this means that the line cook, expeditor, and server all saw that it was well done despite a MR order and brought it to me anyway. After many years of cooking professionally this tells me that they are either incompetent or don't care because no chef worth his salt would overlook something like that. Once again, the service was amateurish.
                          Then came August. This was the single best meal I have eaten in New Orleans. They hit the highest mark on every level from service to food. For an app I had sweetbreads and crawfish fricassee with fregola Sarda and a nice veal reduction. Absolutely perfectly executed, from the cooking of the sweets to the seasoning to the sauce. Next, because they knew who I was, they sent us out the gnocchi with truffle and crab. Absolutely delicious, with perfectly executed, light and fluffy gnocchi. Next was the very large locally-sourced, dry-aged cowboy ribeye which they cooked sous vide, then seared and covered with a smoked bone marrow crust. This was served with pommes aligot. Absolutely freakin' ridiculously delicious.
                          We had to rush outta there so didn't get dessert, but from start to finish both service and food were world class. As for Lüke and Domenica, they couldn't pay me to go back.

                          1. re: BewilderedLineCook

                            Service had been a problem at Domenica for quite awhile. I have dined there 15-20 times and can honestly say that while it is not perfect, it has greatly improved. We were there Saturday and it was fast and attentive. I suggest trying the mushroom soup, clam pizza, lasagna bolognese.