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NOLA for NYC & Philly foodies

g
gtvlad Jun 8, 2013 05:01 AM

Coming into city for convention, have the following reservations: For dinner Restaurant August, Cochon & Dante's Kitchen. For Sunday brunch Commanders Palace or Muriel's. Any comments would be welcome! Not too sure which for Sunday brunch. Also would welcome any recs for breakfast/lunch/cocktails!!

  1. m
    marthak Jun 12, 2013 12:00 PM

    We just returned this morning after being stranded in LAX on the return flight to SFO late last night. Had an amazing trip and I have some lunch suggestions based on recent experience.

    Best Sandwiches EVER: Cochon Butcher, hands down. They have the best BLT in the city, and the buckboard bacon melt with collards sandwich and the porkbelly with mint and cucumber transported us to heaven. No kidding, best ever. Cochon for dinner was terrific, the food was honestly great - from oysters to pork belly and that killed red velvet dessert. You pay for the inspiration and joy of the chef and his team and it is clear that Donald Link and his team have a joy, respect and love for their art. When you sign your check, you won't care about the cost.

    EAT on Dumaine in the quarter had a terrific brunch, awesome sorbets, amazing eggs on mustard greens with a side of grits, fried green tomatos and homemade jelly. Loved the service, the decor and the food - their art installation this month is phenomenal. Just a lovely afternoon. We also had a good breakfast at Ruby Slippers in CBD, but EAT was better by far - more southern and inspired, and darn it, we require flavor which EAT has in every dish. RS was a little too bland.

    Best music and gastropub eats: Three Muses on Frenchman Street. The music was great, drinks were darn good and the food was terrific - lots of small plates packed with flavor and easily shared. We waited almost two hours for a table in this small but magical place and it was wonderful - my voice was hoarse the next day from singing, my hands ached from clapping and my stomach was still content. When we left the club that night it felt good to get into the rain, having danced and enjoyed Frenchman Street.

    Sobou had incredible drinks also - our best in NOLA, really amazing taste, they were smooth, refreshing and beautifully served. Love their mixologist...whoever she is... The food was less consistent. Some dishes were amazing, others were less so. Yes to the stone salad - tuna cones and alligator sausage, resounding yes to the drinks, ok to the squash beignets - mom's gumbo and the bisque. Inconsistent seems to be the word on CP restaurants.

    Quarter Grocery for fast food, if you need a good catfish po'boy for take out at subway prices and you want to sit in Armstrong park or on a stoop somewhere in the quarter but you can't take another long line, or you have very little cash left - this is a great hole in the wall deli with a great sandwich, dressed with pickles and a little hot sauce. But I am from the south and sometimes I just like it cheap, down & dirty.

    Although Commander's Palace and R'evolution (darn good little biscuits, gumbo and phenomenal sorbet) were outstanding for service AND drinks plus food was very good, (good lord let's not talk about that fantastic wine list at CP) - I believe our expectations for food were a teeny bit too high as were the prices for the dishes we received. The bread pudding at CP is not amazing although its darn good. The turtle soup is lovely but not revolutionary.

    In short, we were a little underwhelmed with CP and R'evolution. While happy with the evening meals --- and my husband like R'evolution a lot more than CP, we experienced more "flavor" (both food and overall) elsewhere. New Orleans is a city of heat and music, but CP and R'e are like the girl in the really expensive designer lingerie - on those evenings she was not real enough and hot enough to match her city. Her delicious mystery lies in finding and experiencing what's hidden and giving back as good as you get, not in her fancy clothes. New Orleans is meant to be enjoyed fully.

    Prices at R'evolution were a bit of a damper, plus the duck skin was not crispy and the fat not worked well - although their pastry chef is incredible and the sorbets some of the best I have ever experienced, the food was inconsistent and hardly worth the cost. But when it comes down to it, I love the sensual passion, outright humor and rich joy in our other dining experiences.

    5 Replies
    1. re: marthak
      Bill Hunt Jun 14, 2013 07:13 PM

      My most recent visits to both CP's and R'evolution pretty much mirror yours - good, but not as good as they should/could be.

      Once the CP Turtle Soup was my paradigm, but now I am more a fan of Ralph Brennan's version at Ralph's on the Park. Just personal choices.

      Thanks for the report. Sorry about LAX. Of the two, LAX or SFO, I would chose to be stranded at SFO, if for no other reason, than the food.

      Hunt

      1. re: Bill Hunt
        c
        collardman Jun 15, 2013 10:20 AM

        I haven't eaten at Ralph's on the Park but was a fan of Tavern on the Park. I'm wondering if the turtle soup is Jack Sands receipe as we really liked his turtle soup at TOTP.

        1. re: collardman
          Bill Hunt Jun 24, 2013 07:56 PM

          I keep hearing that it is Ralph Brennan's recipe, but then, who knows?

          Over the last 10 years of trips, it has become our paradigm.

          Hunt

          1. re: Bill Hunt
            c
            collardman Jun 28, 2013 06:14 AM

            Had an out of town guest that we took to Mandina's Wednesday and had wonderful turtle soup. Way above their usual and possibly the best we've had in town. The base had a great depth of flavor and I got more turtle meat than I have ever gotten anywhere (which makes up some for all the servings where turltle meat was AWOL).

            I won't assume that this is their new standard but it was great. That night everything was very good, including three dishes of soft shell crab.

            It's nice to be impressed by an old middle of the road standard.

            1. re: collardman
              Bill Hunt Jun 30, 2013 08:29 PM

              Collardman,

              That is great to know. We have not dined at Mandina's, since we moved from NOLA in about 1980. It was always fun, and with good to great food. Glad to hear of this, as Turtle Soup is very high on OUR list.

              Appreciated,

              Hunt

    2. m
      mushroomaffairs Jun 10, 2013 07:24 PM

      I visited New Orleans about a month ago and def. recommend Dante's Kitchen. They have a great interior and their brunch is supposed to be really good but I only went for a dinner (seafood courtboullion). Brunch is no rez policy.

      I didn't go to Stanley but they are supposed to do a good brunch,also EAT, but I didn't get to go there either, lol.

      I recommend Jaques Imo's. They really do a great NO menu and very very fun place! It's in the uptown portion of the city, also has a no rez policy. It's good to go a little early and walk around the neighborhood, drop your name and cell phone no. off. They call when your table's ready.

      I highly recommend Napoleon House for a table in the courtyard and Green Goddess also, if you can get a table in the alley. I'm mildly allergic to alcohol so I don't really drink but NH is known for sazeracs and GG for their cocktail blended menu.

      For po' boys, I visited Parkway and Mahoney's, fried shrimp and peacemaker respectively. My friend and her husband did a late night visit to Killer Po' Boys also for a shrimp and grilled cheese sandwich, lol. I gave up by then, but just be forewarned if you visit either Mahoney's or Killer, they set their seafood at market price so don't be surprised when your sandwich is $22, lol. I don't like raw oysters but Acme, other than raw and chargrilled, does a nice fried oyster po' boy.

      I also dined at Mr. B's Bistro which is I think run by Dickie Brennan of the Brennan family restaurant empire. I was a little confused because every day there was some issue in the paper about internal fighting and the bankruptcy of Brennan's but seemed to have no affect on Mr. B's (bbq shrimp).

      Louisiana Bistro was recommended to us for dinner but we weren't able to go due to timing. It's supposed to be very a good regional menu.

      I also had a creme snoball from a place called Hansen's in the Irish Channel/uptown neighborhood. We hired a taxi driver as our private tour guide one day who drove us all over the place and brought us to Hansen's, lol. There's also a donut shop he told us about that's run by city police officers but we didn't go, lol. I don't recall the name but I think he said it was in the Garden District.

      Also, I read about a dish called yakamein that's a weird concoction specific to New Orleans but never saw it on any menus. If you find it, try it and report back.

      You might like Three Muses for a three bird one stone kill for food, cocktails and music. d.b.a also has great draft according to my friend's husband. Vaughn's and r bar for local drinking.

      If you had to only pick one, you should really try Jacques Imo's. we had such a good time!

      (Edit)

      Sorry, Napolean House I had half a warm muffuletta and it's Pimm's Cup, not sazerac that was invented there. Also, Green Goddess is in the same alley as Pirate's Alley Bar where they are known for absinthe drinks. It may be worth a visit to you. Yes, they dress as pirates.

      5 Replies
      1. re: mushroomaffairs
        g
        Gizmo56 Jun 10, 2013 07:59 PM

        Although Napoleon House features a well-regarded Pimm's Cup, it was not "invented" there. It is a quintessentially English drink. See:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pimm%27s

        The ownership of Brennan's has been in the hands of the children of Owen Brennan, all the other Brennan restaurants are owned by persons in the extended family (Owen's siblings and their children). The managing partner at Mr. B's is Cindy Brennan.

        Ya-Ka-Mein won't appear on restaurant menus (as far as I know, at least), it is more of a food truck item, made most famously by Linda Green:

        http://neworleanssoulfood.com/

        I like your mention of The Three Muses as a triple threat for great music, small plates, and craft cocktails. Very pleasant for the late afternoon happy hour, before the club scene crowds arrive on Frenchmen Street.

        1. re: Gizmo56
          m
          mushroomaffairs Jun 10, 2013 08:16 PM

          Thanks for the corrections! Regarding Brennan's, it seemed like such a shame about the bankruptcy and control issues of such a storied restaurant. There were these issues, police involvement plus the opening of another Brennan family restaurant by Jackson Square. It was almost comical.

          1. re: Gizmo56
            m
            montuori Jun 11, 2013 03:53 AM

            I'm not sure it counts as authentic unless served by someone who's safely ensconced behind bulletproof glass (I'm looking at you Manchu Food Store...), Ralph's is apparently serving ya-ka-mein:

            http://www.nola.com/dining/index.ssf/...

            That it resulted in a nola.com article is evidence that Gizmo is correct in the general case though.

            1. re: montuori
              b
              buzd504 Jun 14, 2013 07:28 AM

              Ralph's does serve yakamein, though it isn't as good as Ms Linda's, IMO

              1. re: buzd504
                c
                collardman Jun 14, 2013 11:24 AM

                For the ancients like me, you got yakamein shortly before sunrise at Youngs after you rolled out of La Casa de los Marinos.

        2. h
          Hockey19 Jun 10, 2013 05:25 PM

          From a Philly vantage point-
          Commander's first - then you have the high bar everything else has to meet. Casual elegance that works so well. We liked Dante's. Interesting room and very good food. Had lunch at Cochon which was good but a bit rushed and we were underwhelmed. August is on the list to try. If you can get to Domenica's for their Happy hour M-F 3-6, amazing pizza cheap drinks and the Roosevelt Hotel. Not bad.

          1. pizzajunkie Jun 10, 2013 11:01 AM

            For cocktails, Sylvain, Arnaud's French 75 Bar, and the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone.

            1. pizzajunkie Jun 10, 2013 11:00 AM

              definitely commander's over Muriel's.

              1. b
                Bigley9 Jun 10, 2013 10:39 AM

                Check out Maurapass Foods for cocktails and snacks. Stanley! is a good breakfast/lunch stop.

                1. s
                  shanefink Jun 8, 2013 05:20 AM

                  Commander’s is an experience you shouldn’t miss. Your other choices are fine. Enjoy your trip.

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