HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >

Discussion

GW Finns or Muriel's?

We have one night in New Orleans and are trying to decide between GW Finns or Muriel's for dinner. We're looking for a place that will be quintessentially New Orleans and where we can try some of the classic New Orleans dishes. We're also looking to eat in the French Quarter so we're walking distance from our B&B in the Marigny and these two fit that criteria. From my research on this board both seem well regarded, especially GW Finns, but I would love to have your opinion on how they compare to each other? Thank you! 
(As a side note, we have been to New Orleans before and have dined at Brightsens, Dante's Kitchen, Boucherie and Mr B's so we're also looking to try somewhere new in the one night we have in the city. I so wish we had more time!!)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Fins focus is almost purely on seafood, and not all of it is local, nor is much of it done as "classic New Orleans dishes." Fins is great, but if you want "quintessentally" Creole fare, it does not really check off that box.

    Muriel's is much more in that direction. But I think even better would be Galatoire's (the strong first choice) or Arnaud's (a solid second). Both of them are in the FQ and are as close or closer to the Marigny than GW Fins.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gizmo56

      Very good answer.

      GWFinns is high on food but lower on abiance and "classic". Murieals is lower on food but higher on ambiance and classic.
      The alternatives G56 offers are good in all three categories.

      1. re: Gizmo56

        Interesting. On our, maybe 15 visits to GW Fins, the majority of the seafood has been locally sources, at the FQ location.

        While maybe not "classic New Orleans preps," the majority have been local - from the MS Gulf Coast, to New Orleans, to Coastal Louisiana.

        It's now been about 11 mos., since we dined with them, so I cannot vouch for "today."

        Hunt

        1. re: Gizmo56

          Now, I have zero problems with the rec. for Galatoire's. While it is in a different strata, than either GW Fins, or Muriel's, if one has never dined there, it is not to be missed, and should be included on any culinary traveler's itinerary.

          Galatoire's IS "Classic New Orleans Cuisine," and does that better than almost any other restaurant.

          As you point out, a jacket for gentlemen is worth bringing, and especially for any evening meal. I don one, even for mid-week lunches, as most gentlemen will likely have on suits. I could sneak in, but would feel a bit under-dressed, compared to the majority of other diners.

          If I had to pick just ONE restaurant in New Orleans (unless I was a Level 5 Vegan, or similar), it would be Galatoire's. I'd save the rest for my next trip.

          Hunt

        2. These are great replies, thank you! I probably should have mentioned that we only eat fish (not meat) so a menu heavy on seafood is fine with us (even if that means missing out on some of the 'classics'!). Fins does have gumbo, oysters, shrimp remoulade, fish like drum which I associate with Lousiana/New Orleans, which is why I thought it fit the bill. Also, I would love to try Galatoire's, but don't think I can get my husband to wear a jacket! Would you then say Arnaud's is the best choice?

          24 Replies
          1. re: belma79

            I would lobby REALLY hard for the jacket. The fun, the history, and the amazingly deep menu at Galatoire's are well worth it.

            But if that fails, Arnaud's will present you with very competent and representative versions of the classics, with many seafood and vegetable options in a space with lots of history and atmosphere. Muriel's is good, but I think Arnaud's is a notch up.

            And if you are ok moving away from creole classics in your main course, Fins will make you a very fine seafood dinner.

            But I would urge you to lobby REALLY hard for that jacket. :)

            1. re: Gizmo56

              Ha ha, okay, you've convinced me, I will try and lobby for a jacket! (-:

              1. re: Gizmo56

                I see that you made it by the Old Dump. I should like to hear about your experience. Perhaps on another post.

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Indeed. I've snuck into town a couple of times since my lengthier visit a year ago and have enjoyed the "Old Dump" immensely on both visits. I am curious about your impressions of the expansion,hh, both about the new space and whether you perceive any impact whatsoever by the opening of "33" on the original G's. I have been thinking about launching a thread around that question at some point, and might there recount my recent happy experiences.

                  Hint to belma79: if you do manage to convince your husband that wearing a jacket and having a great time over a leisurely meal in the French Quarter are not mutually exclusive activities, there is no better resource than hazelhurst for sharp insight on how best to enjoy an evening at Galatoire's. But for starters, trust your waiter, let the waiter know you are in no hurry, and that you'd like to order one course at a time.

                  1. re: Gizmo56

                    I have no truck with the expansion. I won't go into a TV saturated place. If it makes $$ that's fine but I think it only a matter of time before the spillover affects us in the Old Shop. I have some qualms here and there but the place has made some slight changtes over my almost 60 years in tehre so ai can live with some of tehm. Others will be howled over by me and not-a-few like me.

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      Thanks for the feedback, as always. Have you tried a steak at 33?

                      1. re: Gizmo56

                        I have not had a steak in there although I have discussed the provider. I am sure they do a fine job..if they were selling junk it would be deleterious to the whole enterprise. I have meat occasionally at the real shop..lamb chops béarnaise, once in a while a filet, more often I have sweetbreads, either financiere or in some manner the waiter and I concoct. That is fine for me. In addition, I don't know the staff in the new place;visiting with the waiter(s) is part of the pleasure for me. But I hope it mulcts money from the tourist trade..nothing wrong with subsidizing your passenger train with freight rates.

                    2. re: Gizmo56

                      OK, I'm a little alarmed, it has been almost a year since I have been to Galatoire's...what have they done to it?

                      1. re: foodiechick

                        Nothing bad. Never fear.

                        They were able to acquire the adjoining property on the block, and that new space has been opened as "Galatoire's 33," which is a steak house with a Galatoire's vibe. Assurances were given from the start that the new extra space would not change the original and, from all accounts, it hasn't.

                        Galatoire's also now has an open outpost in Baton Rouge that has been in the works for a long time.

                  2. re: Gizmo56

                    See today's New York Times for an article on "loaner jackets" and an increase in the use thereof.

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      HH, just read the article. The idea of restaurants passing out communally-worn attire to their patrons has always been depressing to me. And the prospect of eating in clothes that have been previously worn by god-knows-who strikes me as more than a little creepy.

                      The resistance toward dressing for the ever-shrinking number of restaurants that have a tradition they seek to uphold mystifies me. But I'd rather see the "loaners' than no standards at all.

                      1. re: Gizmo56

                        Another set of my "friends" from San Diego visited Galatoire's a couple of summers ago with another couple who had recently moved to New Orleans and served as their guides. They were aware of the jacket, collared shirt and long pants (no jeans) dress code but showed up with leather flip flops and were stunned that they were denied entrance (because the leather flip flops were "expensive designer leather" shoes).

                        I was absolutely mortified to hear the story.

                        1. re: foodiechick

                          A college friend's 30-ish son--who damn well knows better--was seen in there one afternoon in a golf shirt; no jacket, no tie. His father later told me that he (the father) had been barraged with telephone calls (one of which was from me) at the office. I offered to draw up disinheritance papers. Even the waiters gave the kid a hard time.

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            And well they should have. Hope that you got the retainer!

                            Hunt

                            PS - we see similar at our country club, and usually from children and grand-children, who think that social status should protect them from dressing in a proper manner.

                          2. re: foodiechick

                            Somewhere here, in Chow, is a thread from a Canadian couple.

                            They were incensed that his expensive t-shirt (I still haven't tried to understand what an Ed Hardy is) was unacceptable to the Galatoire's code.

                            If I pay a lot of money for it.....

                            1. re: Monch

                              I recall that and I am with you..investigation of the obvious horror is not warranted. We had a lot of fun with that when it came out, like the folks who whine about iceberg lettuce.

                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                And the canned peas in a recipe that CALLS for canned peas...

                                What a hoot!

                              2. re: Monch

                                Like you, I have no clue who Ed Hardy is, but the cost of inappropriate clothing is not the issue - appropriateness is, even if one gets handed a "paper tie." [Grin]

                                Other than much of Europe/UK, and the US East Coast, dress-codes are often relaxed. Glad that it is not everywhere.

                                Hunt

                              3. re: foodiechick

                                Regardless of whether some designer has charged US $1500 for flip-flops, or not, is not the issue. "Proper shoes" are part of the dress-code. I might show up in swim trunks, with diamonds and rubies, that cost me US $46M, but those would not be appropriate.

                                Personally, I am gladdened that Galatoire's has a dress-code, and adhere to it - regardless of the price, or designer's name on inappropriate clothing.

                                Sorry that the friends were not dressed adequately for Galatoire's, but that is how it is.

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Believe me, I love the dress code at Galatoire's. It was the friends apparel that left me mortified.

                                2. re: foodiechick

                                  That's why Galatoires is about the coolest place ever. You must meet the dress code or too bad you don't get in and they don't care who you are. And at the same time its fine dining with kind of a casual attitude. And this is why Galatoires will probably always be my favorite.

                                3. re: Gizmo56

                                  I understand. As mentioned in other threads, at about 13 years of age, I had forgotten my tie, though I had the jacket. At Antoine's, I was given a tie (think that it was paper?), and felt like I had a "scarlet letter" on my chest, as I walked through the dining room. That was a mistake, that I have only made once, since then - Wilton's in London, when I left my blazer in my room, since it was raining and blowing like heck.

                                  Hunt

                                  1. re: Gizmo56

                                    All "loaner" clothing need not be at the level of my "paper tie," from the early 1960's.

                                    As mentioned, I was offered a "loaner blazer" at Wilton's, in London (off of St. James), but I declined, as it was MY fault that day. We dined there on our next trip, and my blazer was in tow. That is how it is.

                                    Hunt

                            2. I have been a fan of GW Fins, since they opened, and have many great meals there - couple, party of 6, party of 12 and hosted two events in their private dining room for ~ 20. They have never let me down.

                              OTOH, we have only dined at Muriel's for two culinary events (no straight dining), and both were big letdowns. I must say that both were many years ago, and things do change. The venue was lovely, but servers had trouble navigating the table arrangements - could well have been special setups for each?

                              Muriel's DOES get a lot of love on this board, and GW Fins not so much. Maybe things have changed, but it would be a no-brainer for me.

                              Enjoy,

                              Hunt

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                Thank you for your posts - I always love reading what you write!

                              2. Went to GW Finns for the first time ever on Thursday night. I got the shrimp roumalade and the much-hyped scalibut. Both my dishes were excellent. The others ordered the 3-course culinary menu and were hugely disappointed. Two people returned the sauteed catfish twice before giving up and ordering dessert. I wouldn’t classify it as anywhere near classic New Orleans. Muriel’s would fit the bill moreso. There are other newer restaurants with classic New Orleans dishes like Tableaux right across from Muriel’s. It has a similar menu as Galatoire’s in a more casual setting.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: shanefink

                                  Shanefink.. how is Tableau? Did you post about it elsewhere?

                                  1. re: karendor

                                    Tableau was ok. Nothing special. But, if you are looking for New Orleans standards in a nice setting without the formal attire, it fits the bill. I think a visitor/tourist would like it more than someone who eats at Clancy’s on a regular basis.

                                    1. re: shanefink

                                      Tableau food is not getting the love on other restaurant "review" sites, and, shanefink, you sound lukewarm, at best. I can't speak for the OP but I am taking it off my list, for now.

                                      Thanks!

                                      1. re: karendor

                                        Yes, having looked into it further, I think it won't be top of my list either.

                                  2. Just want to say a big thank you for the feedback. I'm still working on that jacket! It doesn't help that New Orleans this time is just a stop-over and we'll be flying in from the UK that day. So my only other worry with Galatoire's is that, after 15 hours of travelling and the time difference, it would just be the wrong time to do it. I've aways imagined having a long, leisurely meal there for which I want to be well rested! I'll have a think - I really would like to eat there. Thanks again everyone!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: belma79

                                      We fly from the US to the UK, 2-3x per year. I completely understand, though East to West does not take it out of me, like West to East does.

                                      On our first night, we like to stay sort of close to our hotel (usually the Park Lane), but I fly with my blazer, so I only need a shower and a shave, even if we are doing Galvin, or maybe Gordan Ramsay's. If, for some reason, I cannot hang my blazer, I will fold it, inside out, and place it on top of my briefcase, then hang it, near the bathroom, when I get that shower - with a good wool and silk blazer, all wrinkles are gone.

                                      Even when heading to tropical venues, like NOLA in the Summer, or early Autumn, I always have a blazer (I have 4 identical ones, and just bought my 5th, on sale at Brooks Bros.), and wear that. I always don a jacket, even in a tropical, resort atmosphere, like Hawai`i, when doing "fine-dining."

                                      At the end of the day, or at the end of a great trip, it is not a big thing, and I feel much more comfortable wearing mine.

                                      Most of all, enjoy and travel safely,

                                      Hunt

                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                        Thank you Bill, wonderful words and advice, as always! I agree, flying to the US (East to West) is always easier than coming home (West to East). There's something wonderful about gaining time - it gives you just enough energy to use those extra hours for something good (like a wonderful meal!) For us it also means the beginning of a trip, with so many experiences yet to come. Whatever we decide to do, I am sure we'll have a wonderful time in New Orleans, a city truly like no other. And of course, we will be back again. Enjoy and travel safely too!
                                        Belma

                                        1. re: belma79

                                          You WILL have a wonderful time in New Orleans! That is what such a trip is all about - the City, the history and then, there IS the food. What more could one ask for?

                                          Enjoy, and travel safely,

                                          Hunt