3 days in NOLA in October (seeking advice resto and seafood fest)
Visiting NOLA in October with 3 of my friends. I noticed that the weekend we are in town, the seafood festival and Oktoberfest is on. I was wondering if I should skip any restaurants proposed on my list below and just go to the festival? Anyone here from past experience know what restaurants will be on site at the festival?
Arrive in the morning:
Lunch: At Commander's place
Supper: Acme Oyster House
Late Bar/Pub: Festival
Breakfast: Hotel (maybe Cafe du Monde)
Lunch: Po Boy's (Johnny's or ?)
Supper: K-Paul's Cajun
Lunch: Cochon Butcher
Lunch: Willis Mae's
Guys, feel free to comment on my list.
I've been a Felix fan but hadn't been since the recent "unpleasantness". During a long weekend in the FQ for Tales of the Cocktail we (6 of us) went to Felix's on Friday. It was full but we got a table within a few minutes while there was the usual line at Acme.
The food and service were good. The decor is now, as has been pointed out, Williams Boulevard.
The raw oysters were quite good for the summer. Flavorful, icy cold and a bit salty. The grilled oysters and fried oysters were also good. The fried shrimp po-boy got a good review, not great but good.
Of note, on Friday night, walking back to our FQ hotel from dinner at Domineca (wonderful as usual) at 9:30 there were long lines at both Acme AND Felix's.
Oktoberfest is fun, but probably not what I'd be looking for if I were visiting New Orleans--especially if you're visiting for the first time or come only occasionally.
Casamento's is not open on Mondays (and I don't think on Sundays) so if you want to make it there, you'll have to switch out something else. But it's worth a trip, in my opinion. Maybe you could hit Willie Mae's (it has its detractors, but I love the chicken; I don't go there for the service: it's all over the place) on Monday and Casamento's on Tuesday. If you just want oysters, Acme is fine, but I'm sure you could find plenty of those and other seafood at the seafood fest.
You can get a good po-boy at Johnny's (or Parkway Tavern, in Mid-city). Cochon Butcher is not to be missed, imo. Not po-boys, but the sandwiches (and sides/small plates) are fantastic. My guests always want to go back there.
K-Paul's is good if you have your heart set on "Cajun,"--but it's very pricey, and I'd rather spend that kind of money elsewhere.
But as hazelhurst has said, it depends on your tastes and what places you may have already tried.
I don't tend to "do" Cajun much in New Orleans because I can do it at home and I also get to Acadiana with regularity. Prior to Paul's storming of the city, the Cajun place was Bon Ton and I stop in there a few times a year. Cochon I'll go to is someone else wants to. As I have remarked before, it is perfectly decent if you've never had the stuff before and cannot get out of town. His major contribution has been to work with breeders. I don't put much stock by the James Beard mob but that is a separate issue.
There are plenty of alternatives to K-Paul's as far as expense is concerned, but if you want "Cajun," not so many--the aforementioned Bon Ton is decent. And Cochon (the more upscale counterpart to the casual Butcher next door) is, I think, very good. I've had many good meals there, but lots of folks will disagree. It is more reasonably priced than K-Paul's.
If you don't have your heart set on "Cajun," there are lots of excellent upscale restaurants (and many cheaper than K-Paul's): August, Herbsaint, Coquette, Patois and Brigtsen's (both with some Cajun influences), Clancy's are some that I like that come to mind. Off the tourist radar, but a nice little restaurant on the edge of the Quarter is Meauxbar Bistro.
If you are willing to splurge, Restaurant R'evolution has a wide-ranging menu. One of the powers behind RR is John Folse, an authority on Cajun cuisine. And while the restaurant is by no means Cajun, you will find Cajun touches on the menu.
Interesting, Ill definitely consider Restaurant R'evolution.
We are 4 guys so we are not looking for any very fancy restaurant but just good local food. I noticed Galatoires has high reviews and looks amazing but I am not carrying a suite for this trip.
What about crawfish? KJean? is it too late in the season to get them?
Crawfish in October are likely to be small and, if in an etouffee, likely frozen. A couple of years ago I was at a place near Lafayette in November and they claimed to be getting fresh crawfish, This was confirmed by other people who isited they'd seen large ones (November is remarkably early). I spoke to a friend (in Lafayette) whose brother is in the crawfish farming business and he said to pay o attention to the brags.
What amazed me this past week was a woman I know said she had a crawfish boil last weekend...in July!
A lot depends on what you are used to and of course if you;ve been here before. I am no fan of Acme since it became such a Corporate entity but there is nothing wrong with their raw oysters, Locals who are in the French Quarter have, of late, been leaning toward Felix's across the street because it almot died (and there are complaints about renovations in there, too. By October the raw oysters might be out of their summer doldrums, depends on weather.. Casamentos is always solid and is everyone's favorite.
Cochon Butcher will give you an idea of the Cajun world, some of it "upgraded" a bit.. Wliie Mae's might be fun but it is only fried chicken. While it is possible to have horrible fried chicken, I don't see anything remarkable about Willie Maes over some I have had in Jackson, Mississippi or Dothan, Alabama. The place has the perpetual advantage of being the "hole in the wall>' People like to think they are slumming for good food.