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Suggestion for a few more restaurants

We are going to New Orleans next Thursday for four nights. Due to some personal issues I've been very lax on my usual obsessive vacation food planning, so I need your help!

I've only been to New Orleans once and it was during JazzFest, so I've only been to August and the upstairs area at Cochon. My wife has never been. We'd like to get a good sampling of all of the different genres of New Orleans food. Also interested in some of the newer, more cutting-edge places. No real food or budget limitations.

So far, we have reservations at Herbsaint, R'Evolution, and brunch at Commander's. We are staying at the Roosevelt so will probably take advantage of the happy hour at Domenica when we land on Thursday afternoon.

So schedule so far:

Thursday L: Domenica
Thursday D: Herbsaint (though maybe we move this to Friday since we will have a late lunch)

Friday L:?
Friday D: Maybe Root or Maurepas for something new . Is there a long wait at Maurepas?

Sat L: Commander's
Sat D: ?

Sun L: ?
Sun D: R'evolution (Reviews seem good, but is it "New Orleans" enough for a first time visitors? Or it is just a nice place like what we'd find in NYC. Maybe do one of Emeril's places instead?).

Monday L:? 3pm flight so have time for an early lunch. Central Grocery is closed on Mondays.

Places I was looking at to fill in:
Dragos esp for grilled oysters (or casamento's?)
Dooky Chase
Thinking of driving out to the plantations maybe Friday so could do lunch somewhere interesting in that area. Any ideas?
So what are we missing? Any more suggestions? What essential food items are we missing? (I guess po-boys one day for lunch?)
Thanks in advance, and apologies for the lack of research before posting....it's been a rough month.

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  1. You have a good start. You will have to get other's opinion on R'evolution, but it certainly fits cutting edge. In the Roosevelt area consider MiLa and Bon Ton for takes on LA food.

    Emerils or NOLA are another version, all within reasonable walking distance.

    1. "...is [R'evolution] "New Orleans" enough for a first time visitors?"

      I would answer yes to that question. The theme of the restaurant is the seven nations that comprise Louisiana heritage, and so the ingredients (and even the cocktails) are all tied to that theme. The decor in the various dining rooms is imaginative and reflective of Louisiana history. And I don't think you can expect to find dishes like the wonderful "Death by Gumbo" back in NYC. Some report varying issues with the service teams, but I think even with a few service bugs it is a unique dining experience that is well worth having.

      I'd suggest Cochon Butcher for the Monday lunch before heading back to the airport. Their muffaletta is excellent (and travels well), and there are many other sandwich options there. We brought home some of their delicious house-cured sausage and enjoyed Louisiana flavors for a couple of weeks after the trip.

      For the Sunday lunch I'd suggest either Elizabeth's in Bywater or Atchafalaya in the Irish Channel for their brunch menu. Both places serve well-prepared food in a casual atmosphere and will take you into a different neighborhood.

      People rave about the char-grilled oysters at Drago's at the Hilton, but there is almost no love for anything they serve, so it may not be a great stop for anything more than a plate of oysters. If you'd like oysters as the prelude to a seafood meal, I think you'd enjoy GW Fins.

      We really liked our meal at the flagship Emeril's location in the Warehouse District, and their drum was perhaps the single best-prepared dish I was served throughout a week of fine dining.

      Enjoy your trip, and let us know your impressions afterwards.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Gizmo56

        I agree with everything you just said. I might add a trip to Jacques Imos for dinner on Saturday night. It would offset the lunch at Commander’s well with its casual atmosphere and the food is great, but can be a little inconsistent. The wait is usually quite long, but you can walk down the block and enjoy a few cocktails at the Oak Wine Bar. The Shrimp and Aligator Sausage Cheesecake is my single favorite dish in New Orleans. There are so many good Sunday brunch options, but better make a reservation if you want somewhere nice. One of my favorites is Dante’s Kitchen. One other new, really cutting edge place is SoBou in the W French Quarter. It was just named one of the Top 20 new restaurants in the country by Esquire Magazine.

        1. re: shanefink

          Ditto Dante's Kitchen but they do *no*t take brunch reservations. We had no problem getting in on the early side of brunch. Coquette or Patois are other fabulous bistro options for brunch outside of FQ or CBD and they both take reservations through OT. Good options if you want to take streetcar all or part of the way and/or get some walking in. Patois is very close to Audubon Park which is gorgeous to walk around/through. Please give us a trip report.

        2. re: Gizmo56

          I second Butcher. For any lunch, really. We ate at Herbsaint, Revolution, etc on our trip, but the meal we are still talking about? Butcher! The one that cost $15.

          1. re: Gizmo56

            Great description on R'evolution. On our one visit (very soon after their hard opening), the food was good to very good, and the service, though a tad spotty, was good to very good, as well.

            We found enough promise (maybe not fully realized on that visit) to warrant a return trip on our next visit. The word "potential" keeps coming to the fore in my mind, and my wife (the NOLA native) feels the same way.

            Gotta' give them another go, and I feel that the glitches that we encountered will have been ironed out.


          2. I spoke to a man last week who said he enjoyed a swell meal at Houmas House plantation in Burnside so you might want to look into that if you go that far north. Hymel's in Convent, below the Sunshine Bridge, is the usual lunch spot in that area. That would be before or after Oak Alley, I think..

            I think Luke might fit the bill for a tip of the hat to the Old Style. Certainly at Commander's get their turtle soup. Emeril is fairly solid on the standards and you'll get decent stuff there. I had dinner with some friends last week who were raving about August...I have not been there in months, though. The best shrimp remoulade (red) in town is at Galatoire's.

            3 Replies
            1. re: hazelhurst

              I think Clancy’s shrimp remoulade is better.

              1. re: shanefink

                I love Clancy's b ut I'll stick to the old shop on this one.

                Somewhwere in my treasures I have the 1960s version in Mr Justin's own hand. They changed it around the time he died.

            2. A few suggestions--all outside of the French Quarter and/or downtown:
              Toups' Meatery, 845 N Carrollton in Mid City: http://www.toupsmeatery.com/
              Boucherie, 8115 Jeanette, just off of Carrollton: http://www.boucherie-nola.com/
              Brigtsen's, 723 Dante St: http://www.brigtsens.com/menu.html
              Gautreau's, 1728 Soniat St: http://www.gautreausrestaurant.com/

              1. Dooky Chase for their Fri lunch buffet. (open m-f, lunch only). Try Emeril's fried chicken and.corn waffles with Crystal syrup for Mon. lunch. Grab a muff at Central on Sun. Keep it in your mini frig to take home. They keep/travel well. Bring to room temp for best flavor.. GW Fins' sizzling oysters put Dragos's crispy critters to shame, however they are not always on the menu. Also consider Coquette and Lilette for lunch and/or dinner. Coquette also serves brunch on Sun.

                3 Replies
                1. re: JazzyB

                  Central Grocery is closed on Sundays as well as on Mondays.

                  1. re: Gizmo56

                    it will keep even if picked up on Sat. My husband picks up a couple just to have in the frig for a few days. This works out good for watching football. (instant food). Some Zapps, Amber draft and he's happy.

                    1. re: JazzyB

                      I'd still vote for picking up muffs for travel made with excellent house-cured meats at Cochon Butcher on Monday. CB is a great place to have a pre-airport Monday lunch and to fill up one of their handle bags with great food to bring home.

                      Post-airplane Cochon Butcher muff with Zapps:

                2. does Irene's Cuisine still get any love? (haven't been in a few years but would like to know) they made us wait an insane length of time - kept 'dropping' us from the list somehow or otherwise lost/forgot us, but that duck was insanely good and made up for it.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: hill food

                    Make a reservation. The earlier you go, the more likely you will be seated close to your time.

                    1. re: JazzyB

                      oh we had a reservation and were on time, first we were parked at a table on the 'patio' (astro-turfed area in the adjacent parking garage) for an hour then after reminding them we still existed, were moved to the bar, after the next reminder it was about another hour. ehh yet I had fun, and at that point it was a challenge and a battle of wills.

                      1. re: hill food

                        this is Irene's? im not aware of their astro-turfed waiting area, and they dont have a bar.

                        unless things have changed dramatically.

                        1. re: kibbles

                          what I remember as the bar was down a hallway waay in the back, so maybe it was more of a casual dining room, though I do recall a piano player. the indoor 'patio' was out the back fire door under sodium halide lights between parked cars with a cheesy white picket fence around it. technically not even in the same building. maybe they've become better with their time/customer management skills and no longer need to use it.

                          1. re: hill food

                            ah..yeah the waiting area in the back does have a piano and a bunch of little tables and chairs, definitely (no bar tho just cocktail service). havent seen the parking lot area! sounds funny tho. im overdue for a visit.

                    2. re: hill food

                      My mouth waters just thinking about their lamb.....

                      First time we went we waited about an hour, then a few weeks ago we only waited 15. Both times with a reservation.

                      1. re: hill food

                        With my in-laws (several in the business), it still does, and no service issues ever mentioned. However, as many know the "players," that might not be a fair comment.


                      2. Sylvain would be a nice Saturday dinner. It's a bit different (more like laid back cool casual upscale dining) than a few of your other stops but with great food and drinks!

                        1 Reply
                        1. Thanks for all the suggestions...will report back when we get home!

                          1. This won't help much for this trip, but if you can ever go to Irene's Cuisine early on a Monday, they have one the best lasagnas I have ever tasted! It's a once a week special. We went at 6:00 and had no wait. Wife had the tenderest lamb chops.

                            1. Last question bump - we decided to rent a car so we'll be driving from the airport to the Quarter. Any recs for any interesting place to stop to get a bite (something weird about first meal in NoLa being pizza...? Thinking Willie Mae's (though I know it's not really on the way), but open to anything interesting as long as it'll be quick and open at 3.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: Tubulus

                                Off the top of my head I'd say Mandina's...maybe Liuzza's...Luke...

                                1. re: Tubulus

                                  Willie Mae's sounds like a great way to start, but fried chicken might be a rather heavy meal at 3 pm if you are still planning on a full dinner that night as well.

                                  Perhaps you could check in as planned, and then get some oysters in the FQ. That would be an appropriate first bite in New Orleans and should still leave your appetite intact for a full dinner later on.

                                  1. re: Gizmo56

                                    Gizmo has a good idea but if you have not built a Po-boy stop into your trip -- and since you have a car -- I would go to Parkway in Mid-City. Split a Po-boy, sweet potato fries and have a beer for a great NOLA start. Consider it an appetizer! http://www.parkwaypoorboys.com/New_Or...

                                    1. re: karendor

                                      Thanks I think we have a winner. I guess we could also split a meal at Willie Mae's. I assume finding parking for an hour outside of either shouldn't be an issue?

                                      1. re: Tubulus

                                        I think both neighborhoods should have easy nearby street parking.

                                        1. re: Tubulus

                                          Willie Maes closes at 3. Consider HH at Luke: 50 cent half shell, 1/2 price libations or Domenica 1/2 price pizza, wine, beer, well drinks. They also have small plate options for many items. Both HH are daily, 3-6.

                                          1. re: JazzyB

                                            Domenica was the OP's original plan, before seeking an alternative to pizza as the first taste of New Orleans.

                                            Sites like Yelp! show Willie Mae's being open until 5, but perhaps they are out-of-date. It is probably worth a phone call to know for sure.

                                            1. re: Gizmo56

                                              Many restaurants close around 2:00 then reopen later for dinner. Herbsaint offers a Bistro menu between lunch and dinner services. I believe it runs 1:30- 5:30. Both Cochon Butcher and Cochon should be open .

                                              Re: Willie Maes's. Hours are 11-3, except Thurs11- 5.

                                  2. Jonny's Po Boy, K-Paul (call ahead and see if you can get the chicken tchoptoulis!), Bayona

                                    1. Would you choose Stella! over R'evolution?

                                      4 Replies
                                        1. re: Tubulus

                                          Tough call.

                                          It has been several trips, since our last Stella! visit, but we have had many enjoyable meals there. However, I have read that their menu is being revamped? Also, when we dined at R'evolution in July, we thought that they were a "work in progress," so time has passed, and things might have changed?

                                          I'd go with a "toss-up."


                                          1. re: Tubulus

                                            my friend recently did the 5-course tasting meal at Stella!...he said it was well executed but complained of being hungry when he left. now he is an active cyclist, but...

                                            no tasting at RR yet, but everything i have there has been fantastic.

                                            1. re: kibbles

                                              Interesting. We have done many Tasting Menus, plus a few a la carte dinners, and "hungry" has never crossed my mind, upon finishing. Maybe just differences in individuals?


                                          2. I guess I am posting too late for this trip, but, assuming it is still around, Crabby Jack's is on the way into town from the airport if you get off I-10 in Jefferson Parish. They make some interesting poor boys and the atmosphere is charming in a non-descript local sort of way.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: bmoskowitz

                                              Similarly, the River Shack is one I always forget when someone asks for a place where only the locals go. I'm reminded as I went there Friday for lunch for the first time in ages and it was packed.

                                              my guest and I both had the day's special, a Mediterranean stewed goat wrap with red onion, cucumber and a tzatziki sauce. It's a place with the basics, decent hamburgers, an overload of atmosphere, and yet adventerous lunch specials

                                            2. Thanks for all the responses. Sadly we are already home as we changed our flight to beat Sandy, but happily we had an excellent weekend of eating. We ended up doing dinners at Herbsaint, MiLa, and Domenica. Lunches were at Parkway, Felix's, and Commanders Jazz Brunch. The best were Commanders and Mila, but we really had no bad, or even mediocre, food the whole time. Favorite dish though was lamb neck with fideos and roasted tomatoes at Herbsaint. Also of note was the excellent Muffaletta that we just ate a day after picking it up at Cochon Butcher.

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: Tubulus

                                                Sounds like a great, if slightly abbreviated, culinary jaunt. I'm delighted you were able to bring home a muff from Butcher.

                                                1. re: Gizmo56

                                                  A few random notes:
                                                  1 - New Orleans chefs know how to build flavor. So much flavor in everything we ate the whole weekend, and not just from piling on the salt and fat (in fact I found the food less salty than what I usually eat in NYC). Great contrast were our two apps at Herbsaint - the gumbo and ceviche. Both bursting with flavor but totally opposite ends of the spectrum - bitter, salty, dark gumbo, and bright, acidic, crunchy (pumpkin seed) ceviche.
                                                  2 - Wine lists in New Orleans generally suck and are all the same. A longer list of very recent vintage Burgundy and and then a couple choices from a smattering of other regions. Mostly very well known producers (I think every list had Seghesio zin). On the other hand, markups were very low, so at least the price was right. Maybe I'm spoiled by NYC but with such interesting food I was expecting better wine lists. I imagine the laws and distribution system are pretty archaic.
                                                  3. I know there is supposedly excellent Vietnamese food outside the central FQ/CBD/etc. Would be cool if some of it made its way into the more tourist-accessible areas. We definitely needed a break from Creole/Cajun by the third day (hence Domenica).

                                                  1. re: Tubulus


                                                    Glad you got home safe. I'm also in NYC and visit NOLA 2 or 3 times a year. I agree with your comments about the food and agree that many places have very limited wine lists. Great trip report. I think your comments are pretty spot on. A couple things:

                                                    1. While some of the older restaurants have outdated wine lists, some of the newer places have better wine options. My wife mentions Sylvain as one. Bacchanal is a wine shop and restaurant so they obviously have some great options. Good wine lists in NOLA should have its own thread. I'd be interested in what others have to say. I'm coming back in January so will be paying more attention. Several newish cocktail bars in NOLA now rival the best of New York (Cure, Twelve-Mile Limit, et al). It is time to up the wine list game now.

                                                    2. I agree that there should be more Vietnamese options in the CBD/FQ area. Although I haven't been yet, Tamarind in Lee Circle has Vietnamese-influenced food I believe. And the bar next door, Beloq, has Banh mi sandwiches. Haven't tried the food yet though.

                                                    Can any locals weigh in on the wine list issue?

                                                    1. re: bmoskowitz

                                                      Wine list at R'Evolution is over the top. You would be impressed. 5 new Vietnamese restaurants have opened Uptown in the past year. The best of which, is called Magasin and is located just downtown of Napoleon Ave. on Magazine Street. I haven't been to Tamarind yet, but it is more fine dining than the other 4 Vietnamese places. You might want to try Dong Phuong in New Orleans East. It is worth the trip.

                                                      1. re: shanefink

                                                        Ah, well will have to hit R'Evolution next time...we were back home by the time our reservation was supposed to be! One of many good excuses to go back.

                                                      2. re: bmoskowitz

                                                        Exactly, the cocktail scene seems so big I figured the wine scene would be good too. But I guess as far as sourcing it's easier to find liquors than interesting wines. Was thinking of going to Bacchanal on Saturday night but it was freezing. Terroir needs to open up a southern branch.

                                                        1. re: Tubulus

                                                          Terroir is great. That would be a great fit in NOLA since they have great food too. I have to second the recommendation of Dong Phuong. They bake their own bread and actually supply the Green Goddess and other places for their sandwiches. Good pho and banh mi. But to your point, outside the city center. Nice to hear there are some Vietnamese places opening. Magasin sounds like a good option.

                                                      3. re: Tubulus

                                                        Agree with all 3 points, and most especially #1. Upon returning from NOLA, we comment for weeks on how simplistic most dishes at home seem by comparison. The dishes in NOLA seem more "complete" in flavor and texture.

                                                    2. re: Tubulus

                                                      so uhh, (I'm not criticizing) instead of hunkering down in NOLA and changing budget, lodging and reservations to ride it out there, you changed budget lodging and reservations to hunker down in a hurricane zone?

                                                      of course one has all sorts of complications and concerns in life, but if I had the freedom to drift in NOLA on reduced expectations for a few days or rush back to power outages and messed up transportation...

                                                      I'm just fighting the urge to call all the friends around there that have no landline, just cell phones (yeah great friend me to call and wear down what little battery power they might have left).

                                                      stay fed in dry clothes.