We are so lucky!
Went to Coquette for lunch today. Excellent service and delicious meal at a great price. It reenforced my problem with New Orleans dining. Every time I leave NOLA, I am always disappointed with my meals. Latest example was my trip to Boston. Wife and I saved our last meal for something special and went to Craigie on Main, the James Beard Best Chef Northeast 2011. The meal was a colossal failure, from the service to the ambiance to the execution of the food. So disappointing and the price was ridiculous. The 3 course lunch at Coquette was better than any of the 6 courses we ate there. We are so spoiled here!!!
I am sorry to hear about your experience at Craigie on Main. I was there a little over a year ago and had a fabulous experience. I rarely frequent the same restaurant twice as there are generally so many good restaurants in each city. However, I always thought I would re-visit Craigie's.
It appears I will be in New Orleans for a few days next spring. I believe I'll add Coquette to my list for consideration, alongside Restaurant August, GW Fins and R'evolution.
With a city, like New Orleans, it IS tough, when one does not live there, or no longer lives there. All visits are too short. One is faced with wanting to dine at some number of "old favs," and that is not bad. Then, they will want to try a few new restaurants. Again, not bad. When they encounter a restaurant, that is not good, it might not ever be visited again. There is just not enough time, and often not any inclination.
I feel your pain, but try to add at least one new restaurant per trip. Sometimes, that does NOT happen, though I hope that it does.
Uh . . . (without trying to stir controversy) . . . yes and no.
I, too, go to New Orleans once or twice every year, and have for over a decade. Indeed, I first visited New Orleans in 1970 though, unlike Hunt, I've never lived there. I've lived in the San Francisco Bay area for over 35 years and here, too, we are known as a great food city. So, too, New York. And yet I've had bad meals in all three. Many more GREAT meals, but you can have a disappointing meal *anywhere* -- including NOLA.
For example, my wife and I had a horrible meal at Stella!, of all places, and though every review I read of it is nothing but raves, we've yet to go back. (We should, I know, but . . . ) Same is true of some very famous, very highly regarded places here and in New York. As I say, many more GREAT meals than disappointments, but -- let's be honest -- every chef and/or restaurant can have an "off" night. (That's why I try to give even a disappointing restaurant a second chance.)
That said, I love Coquette
I feel, as you do, regarding certain restaurants. When one has a horrible experience, and are in a "target rich environment," such as NOLA, SF, or maybe Honolulu, there is just not time to give them another go - too many great options available.
Unlike professional reviewers on an expense account, we are not obligated to return 2, 3 or maybe 4 more times, to do the report. We offer comments and reviews on what we encounter.
Yes, it could be their "night from hell," and that is a shame. We, the masses, can only comment on what WE encountered. Our votes must be cast, and it is up to the folk, looking for recs. to filter out, or in, our comments. We can ONLY report the truth, as we encountered it.
While I love Stella!, and have been fortunate to dine there many times, with different parties, I would never discount your report. I would only hope that readers take my reviews of Drago's at the Hilton, or Dickie B's Steakhouse, with the same latitude. I reported on the exact events of those evenings, as objectively, as is possible.
Not made it to Coquette's yet, but hope to do so, as they get some great reviews from folk, who I respect.
OTOH, it will be a very long time, before I have the opportunity to try Drago's at the Hilton again. Too many restaurants, and too little time (on my end). Same for Dickie B's Steakhouse. They are way, way down my list of "must try agains," and even when a favorite nephew was a sous chef there, we just had too many great restaurants to dine at. Maybe one day?
Stuff happens, and that is life in dining.
PS - I feel similar with Brennan's for brunches. They were NOT on our "short list," and then, we tried them again, only to be wow'ed. Same with the Grill Room, that was a horrible disaster, many years ago. After a decade, we went back, and they stepped up greatly. Just dined there early this month, and all was excellent! First visit, they got a 15, out of a 100. Years later, they got mostly 90's, and some of those were in the HIGH 90's. Stuff happens.