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Sep 18, 2012 01:43 PM

Suggestions for dinner 20-25 men near Quarter

Hi there, I mostly lurk, but have been around a bit, and this will be my eighth or nineth trip to NOLA.

I typically end up making the eating arrangements for a couple of large group meals, and this board has been invaluable, thank you.

This year we're probably a bit larger than in years past, I am anticipating at least 20, more likely 25 men for dinner on a Thursday night in early November.

We stay near the French Quarter and so ideally would have something in walking distance. No problem going outside if it is well and truly worth it...

We don't need to be seated all at one huge table, or even all at one time, as long as there's a bar. Groups of four to eight would be totally fine. We're flexible on start time as long as it's not too early, typically we start anywhere from 7 PM to 8:30 PM. Don't need to finish up at once, either, and don't need a bunch of separate checks... basically we're willing to do whatever we can to make it easy.

We are on vacation so some guys have resisted dressing up. We can handle business casual as long as it's not ridiculously rigorous i.e. if someone is wearing clean $100 tennis shoes, that can't be a problem.

Price point, something on the order of $35ish for an appetizer and entree would be fine. Obviously those who drink will spend quite a bit more... we do require beer, wine, cocktails.

Here's a list of places we have used in the recent past and thoughts on each. We like to try to go somewhere new every year...

2011 Dante's Kitchen -- people loved the food, and we had no issues, slightly expensive, quite a distance from the Quarter, probably worth the effort

2010 Cochon -- a repeat, many people love this place, long walk from the Quarter but doable

2009 Bayona -- great food, some guys really enjoyed an expensive bottle of wine, our group was probably a bit rowdy for the overall tone of the place but conversely the environment probably lightened up and got energized by us, it's not like we felt like we had to really self edit all that much

2008 Pelican Club -- food was OK, not great, we were seated at one huge table, which was kind of nice, but overall was probably more dressy, more expensive, and less hearty than we like

2007 Cochon -- a favorite

One place that comes up in discussion periodically is NOLA. We haven't made it there on a Thursday dinner yet as a big group, but various of us have eaten there and enjoyed it. My records say 2004 for my last meal there. So, that's one possible contender.

We'll be at Commanders for lunch Thursday, so a contrast with their food would be good. (Haven't checked, but am assuming they still do the .25 martinis limit three. Garden room rocks.)

We do tend to get a bit raucous, but we're not a bunch of crazy drunken young guys... average age is 45.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have!

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  1. I think you should talk to chef Duke at Cafe Giovanni. He has a room you could use and he will work with you on pricing. He is a great guy and will , well I was going to say bend over backwards for a group like yourselves, but that might be misconstrued, so suffice it to say, good food, great bar, and really friendly atmosphere.

    1. I have been with a larger group to Cafe Giovanni and it wasn't bad. We were put in a room off to the side and still enjoyed a bit of classical music.

      But one of the first one's that came to mind for your specificationa was NOLA. We've done a number of tables of 4 to 6 on the third floor and took up one of the semi private rooms. Having your own bar up there also facilitates things.

      1. Cafe Giovanni looks interesting but it seems weird to me to travel to New Orleans to eat Italian food. Am I missing something?

        NOLA does seem like a good match, but looking at the menu, it's a bit -- just a bit -- expensive, probably, given where we've been in the past.

        Anyone want to recommend an old favorite, perhaps outside the Quarter that's worth the trip? Something new, in the Quarter, that I might not know about or have missed?

        Thanks in advance for any other suggestions... I'm going to go over my notes, and read the board a bit, and see what else I can turn up on my own, too.

        5 Replies
        1. re: rramstad

          I have not tried it for a group event, butIi had a very nice special occasion dinner at Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House. The location is in the heart of the FQ, the menu is classic New Orleans, the food is well prepared, the pricing would be moderate, and (in my experience anyway) you should be able to expected friendly and personalized service. Plus they have a world class collection of small batch bourbon & rye, which might be a bonus for some, and they make a delicious bourbon milk punch.

          Have a look:

          1. re: Gizmo56

            Good suggestion or Mr. B's maybe. Lively and great food. Gumbo ya ya

          2. re: rramstad

            You are not missing anything. If you live somewhere with good Italian food, don’t bother with Cafe Giovanni. If you want an unforgettable experience, make a reservation at Jacques Imos and enjoy the show. Stop next door at the Mapleleaf after dinner for some live music. They take reservations for parties of 5 or more 30 days in advance. If you call exactly 30 days before, they might be able to accommodate your whole group at one table in their 2nd dining room.

            1. re: shanefink

              Last year from Dante's we walked over to Mapleleaf and enjoyed it quite a bit.

              Also last year, someone suggested Jacques-Imos and I happened to mention that I really like Coop's Place and another couple of board members said JI was overrated, expensive, and the food wasn't as good as Coop's. I haven't eaten there because of that exchange... Coop's is of course impossible for our group, but it was a point of reference, I guess, as a number of people said "eh, you're eating at Coop's while you are here, no point in going to Jacques Imos" basically.

              Anyone else have an opinion on Jacques Imo's?

              1. re: rramstad

                Not even close. Coop’s is a bar with good fried chicken, jambalaya, red beans and fried fish. Jacques Imos is a restaurant with Shrimp & Aligator Sausage Cheesecake, Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade and the Carpetbagger Steak. It’s well within your price range and if you are ok with the trip, it’s a fun place for 40 year old guys to gather.

          3. I second Jacques-Imo's. I know I will get skewered by some on here, though. I personally like the sometimes raucous dining room. It's loud but I think the prices aren't bad and I think the food's great! But to me, JI's is the ultimate "going out for a good time" dinner place. The wait staff is lovely.

            1. I am in the home stretch and was wondering about opinions on the following for our group (24 people at this point) for Thursday dinner... mostly men, 40-50 years old, loud but not ridiculous.


              I am also very seriously considering Jacques-Imo's, and would love any further opinions on them.


              1 Reply
              1. re: rramstad

                I believe most of your options are too small for your group. Coquette has the upstairs and Jacques Imos can accommodate, but the others I don’t think so.