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Sep 30, 2012 09:04 PM

Thanksiving in NOLA

Heading to the Crescent City for the holiday (five nights total). Have a T-Day reservation at Cafe Adelaide (Commander's Palace was booked already!). Any other restaurants I should consider for Thanksgiving Day?

Also have a list of restaurants for the other days:

Mr. B's Bistro
GW Fins
Maurepas Foods

...and let's not leave out bars:


Is there anyplace crucial I'm leaving out? (I'm thinking of K-Paul's and Galatoire's--are they worth it?) Are there restaurants you'd remove from this list?

Thanks for your advice!

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  1. I'd check with R'evolution for Thanksgiving or Domenica. In any case, I'd add both to the list and drop Jacques. No to KPaul's. Galatoire's for th experience. The food is old Creole and not great although it can be expensive. While Brigtsen's and Clancy's are nola institutions, that does not necessarily equate to the best dining. It all depends upon your palate and preferences.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JazzyB

      This is where I would disagree, but then, it IS all about taste. Galatoire's does "old New Orleans cuisine" better than any other restaurant, IMHO. In the decades, I think that I have had only one dish, that was less than very good, and most are excellent, for that culinary genre.

      Yes, there IS a "show," but I have done that so many times, that I only go for the food, and do reservations upstairs, as I do not need to be part of the tableau any longer.

      If one wants to sample the full range of New Orleans cuisine, I would not recommend missing Galatoire's, at any cost - but again, that is just me.

      "Best dining" is such a highly personal thing, as you note, that it is totally impossible to be 100% specific. I have had serious problems with some of the most vaunted locations, recommended many times on this board. They have let me down, and are just NOT to MY tastes. Also, I have had outstanding meals at restaurants, that get zero love on this board. It happens, and with some regularity - different strokes for different folk.


    2. FYI, I had an exceptional 3-course meal Thanksgiving meal starring Turducken (plus .50 oysters) at Luke a few years ago and recommend it highly if they're doing something similar this year. The food and service were impeccable and such an exceptional value that we felt obligated to order one of their special reserve wines in thanks. Just another option for you..

      Also, it was very busy the time I tried it so it must have plenty of fans (my 70ish parents who recommended it included), but I don't think GW Fins belongs on the hit list of someone who wants to go to the good neighborhood places like Clancy's and Brightsen's and the smart newcomers like Maurepas Foods and Bellocq. They've got an ok wine list depending on what you like, but to me it feels like a non-chain version of McCormick and Scmick's, with their lobsters from New England, snappers from New Zealand, and other versions of all the same stuff you can eat in any other city in the New World with an airport.

      Speaking of my parents, they also like Galatoire's (as do most people, I think) but no matter how many times I've tried for both lunches and dinners, it always feels like eating at someone else's country club on a Saturday night - where the food is competent/inoffensive but sort of beside the point to both the clientele and the establishment. If I lived in New Orleans and had friends sitting at the next table or got a kick out of having the same waiter who'd served me since birth (or had any interest in the gimmickry of needing that waiter to tell me what's edible on a given night), I'd probably feel differently...but as a frequent visitor I think its kind of an expensive and dull spectacle which is best endured only if you're burdened by a boss or father-in-law who insists on going AND insists on paying. Just my opinion based on your other choices and in response to your question: is it worth it?

      Also, Tamarind is a good restaurant with good drinks, but I'd nonetheless recommend sampling two different cocktails at the excellent Bellocq next door rather than one there and one at Tamarind (unless you're eating at Tamarind or staying at the Modern). Lastly, in the spirt of not leaving out bars, try to work in drinks at Bacchanal and/or Elizabeth's while you're in the Bywater to dine at Maurepas. Have fun!

      1. If I were anywhere other than The Fair Grounds for Opening Day (Nov 22 a/k/a Thanksgiving) I'd feel cheated. The food is better than racetracks elsewhere although not something you'd fly across the world to try, but watching your money fly away on a day of Olive Green and Sky Blue in Mid City is one of the delights of life.

        1. Timely thread - I am going to be in NOLA over Thanksgiving as well. Haven't been in a few years but I do make a point of going to Cochon.

          Any other options for the Thanksgiving meal? Preferably not a hotel restaurant - unless the dining room doesn't feel like a hotel restaurant...

          From 2011 I've seen this:
          From 2010 I've seen this:

          1. Thanks for the great tips, everyone! Will definitely check out Cochon and R'Evolution--and cross GW Fins off my list.

            12 Replies
            1. re: slandau6

              Of those three, Cochon, R'evolution and G W Fins, I would opt for G W Fins.

              Cochon is great, but is very "down-scale," with a somewhat limited menu. At the end of July, R'evolution was still sorting out the kinks (maybe they have got things in order by now), but G W Fins has always come through with local seafood done with mostly local recipes.



              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Unless you consider Cajun cuisine (or restaurants without a dress code) inherently "down-scale", there's nothing downscale about Cochon in my opinion (although I agree that it's great). Its a stylishly-designed and dimly lit contemporary space with an open kitchen and attractive and friendly young servers clad in black. The menu is one full page of well-curated and uniquely prepared dishes specific to the region (plus their excellent house-made charcuterie) - representing, to me, a New Orleans example of the inspired brand of localized, chef-driven cooking that a discerning foodie/traveler seeks in any city. However, someone who is vegan or kosher (or desires a perfectly nice air-mailed Pacific tuna steak or New England lobster risotto when vacationing in New Orleans) may indeed find a restaurant whose name means "pork" to be somewhat limited. Assuming none of those apply to slandau6, check it out and report back so it gets some more love on Chowhound...although presumably the two owners (one of whom cooks in the kitchen most every night) take some solace in their respective (and un-downscale) James Beard Foundation Best Chef awards.

                Also, I didn't find any kinks at R'evolution last month, although there was a sociable alt-looking couple at the bar who seemed like they might be a little kinky.

                1. re: Omniverous

                  Cochon has always seemed to me to fill a niche for visitors--or locals for that matter--who don't get out to Acadiana. I am curious to know if his Lafayette shop is any different since theoretically, he is serving to people who ought to know what this food is all about. They seem to be dressing up food that is essentially country cooking (or smoking). Since everyone wants to stand out, I wonder that they do not feature brain or ponce on the menu. As "daring" as they seem to get is tongue.

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    Yes, that's exactly what it is - a thoughtfully upscale and perfectly executed (at least in my experience) version of country cooking for locals and visitors alike who don't get out to Acadiana for dinner on a given night and appreciate the distinctions between a James Beard Foundation Award-winning restaurant/chef and a country meat market or gas station (both good, both different, and the fact that you choose the former doesn't mean you're ignorant of the latter - although I personally am ignorant of what ponce tastes like, so please tell me if I can try it someplace locally). Dining at Cochon is comparable to enjoying places like the superb Torrisi Italian Specialties in New York, a Michelin-starred destination despite the fact that its menu is an elevation of the same food my Italian-American grandmother cooked with considerably less fanfare, or The Walrus & The Carpenter in Seattle, which serves up perfect platters of the same oysters that local beachcombers armed with a trowel, a pair of wading boots, and an oyster knife can slurp on their own a few miles up the Washington coast.

                    And I don't think there's much demand for pig's brains since there was a mad cow-like disease contracted by inhaling their mist making the rounds a few years ago...although the presumably non-brain homemade head cheese at Cochon is the best version of that less-lethal delicacy that I've ever had on this side of the Atlantic.

                    1. re: Omniverous

                      I have never seen ponce for sale in New Orleans although I have often brought it back with me from my forays. You see chaudin sometimes across the river en route to Terrebonne and that area and you can also buy it at The Best Stop. I bet Hungry Celeste can tell you somewhere not too far away that has it.

                      Scrambled eggs and brains was once a popular breakfast.

                      Sometime take a run to Ville Platte and try the headcheese there. It is lighter colored that the stuff you usually see and is great. Also, Armonds in Slidell has superb headcheese

                        1. re: Omniverous

                          Thanks, everyone. Cochon is for sure on my list, and I'll report back on my impressions. Now I have another dilemma, thanks to Omniverous. :-) Do I stick with my Cafe Adelaide reservation for Thanskigiving dinner, or do I switch to Luke's, because they'll serve turducken, which I've never had before?

                          1. re: slandau6

                            They're both good choices - either way, you're fishing in the right pond. I'd decide based on whichever of their actual Thanksgiving menus most floats your boat. If there's Turducken, I'd go for Luke as discussed. If you need a non-food tie-breaker, I'd say if you'll be drinking wine, choose Luke because they have a wine list full of reasonably-priced French and German choices that'll pair nicely with turkey (or turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken). If you'll be drinking cocktails, which isn't such a bad idea either for a Thanksgiving in New Orleans, then lean towards Cafe Adelaide for its superior cocktail program (although the A-team may not be behind the bar on a holiday...but you'll likely be too drunk to care after a few drinks). Have fun.

                            1. re: Omniverous

                              Thanks, Omniverous. Good advice. Tempted by the turducken, but I think I'll stick with my Adelaide reservation. I do enjoy my cocktails. Might try Luke's for lunch or breakfast one of the days, though.

                      1. re: Omniverous

                        "Dining at Cochon is comparable to enjoying places like the superb Torrisi Italian Specialties in New York, a Michelin-starred destination despite the fact that its menu is an elevation of the same food my Italian-American grandmother cooked with considerably less fanfare, or The Walrus & The Carpenter in Seattle, which serves up perfect platters of the same oysters that local beachcombers armed with a trowel, a pair of wading boots, and an oyster knife can slurp on their own a few miles up the Washington coast."

                        Cochon represents an indigenous cusine from Acadiana? Check!

                        Torrisi Italian in NYC represents your grandmother? I'll take your word for it.

                        But the oysters at Walrus and the Carpenter represent some indigenous tradition of "beachcombers" on the Washington Coast? Mmm.....Not so much.

                        Oysters in Washington have always been a commercial enterprise. Seattle is on the inland Puget Sound, not the Pacific coast. Oysters are not harvested "up the coast" from Seattle. Washington's oyster beds are on tended tidal bays and inlets, well south and east of the city. Beachcombers can't access the same beds that fill the (agreeably) "perfect platters" at Walrus & the Carpenter. Most beachcombers in Washington are rightly more than happy to harvest a bucket of razor clams.

                        Most importantly with respect to your analogy, Washington oysters as served at Walrus & the Carpenter are not part and parcel of a traditional non-commercial cuisine (gathered by beachcombers in wading boots), ala the great traditions of the Cajun populations of Louisiana. Northwest oysters have always been a commercial enterprise.

                        That tangent aside, I love Donald Link's work (at every location) and I'd agree that anyone who can't enjoy the freedom to explore Acadiana would benefit from an evening at Cochon.

                        1. re: Omniverous

                          I think that you and I have totally different views of what "up-scale," and "down-scale" are. Just a difference in "frames of reference."


                      2. re: Omniverous

                        I consider any restaurant with "lawn chairs" down-scale.

                        Now, we have had great meals there, and have enjoyed their limited, but well-paired wine list, to go with the menu.

                        Just not sure what your "real" point is, but then maybe I do not wish to know.

                        As for Restaurant R'evolution, it could well be that they have been working on the "kinks" that we found at the end of July. As I stated, we found them to be a "work in progress." As we are now several months beyond the end of July, much work might well have been done, and perhaps you benefited from the "maturity?" I reported on what we found, and did give them "the benefit of the doubt."