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GW Finns or Muriel's?

belma79 Aug 17, 2013 09:20 AM

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. g
    Gizmo56 Aug 17, 2013 10:23 AM

    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
      collardman Aug 17, 2013 12:07 PM

      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
        Bill Hunt Aug 17, 2013 05:38 PM

        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."


        1. re: Gizmo56
          Bill Hunt Aug 17, 2013 05:47 PM

          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.


        2. belma79 Aug 17, 2013 12:41 PM

          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
            Gizmo56 Aug 17, 2013 12:54 PM

            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
              belma79 Aug 17, 2013 01:19 PM

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

              1. re: Gizmo56
                hazelhurst Aug 17, 2013 01:30 PM

                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
                  Gizmo56 Aug 17, 2013 01:44 PM

                  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
                    hazelhurst Aug 17, 2013 01:48 PM

                    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
                      Gizmo56 Aug 17, 2013 01:52 PM

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

                      1. re: Gizmo56
                        hazelhurst Aug 19, 2013 05:59 AM

                        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
                      foodiechick Aug 17, 2013 05:24 PM

                      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
                        Gizmo56 Aug 17, 2013 08:01 PM

                        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
                    hazelhurst Aug 20, 2013 12:44 PM

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

                    1. re: hazelhurst
                      Gizmo56 Aug 20, 2013 09:29 PM

                      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
                        foodiechick Aug 21, 2013 02:18 AM

                        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
                          hazelhurst Aug 21, 2013 05:50 AM

                          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
                            Bill Hunt Aug 21, 2013 06:21 PM

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


                            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
                            Monch Aug 21, 2013 08:12 AM

                            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
                              hazelhurst Aug 21, 2013 08:41 AM

                              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
                                Monch Aug 21, 2013 09:21 AM

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

                                What a hoot!

                              2. re: Monch
                                Bill Hunt Aug 21, 2013 06:23 PM

                                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.


                              3. re: foodiechick
                                Bill Hunt Aug 21, 2013 06:19 PM

                                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.


                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                  foodiechick Aug 22, 2013 11:12 AM

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

                                2. re: foodiechick
                                  joedontexan Aug 22, 2013 03:43 PM

                                  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
                                  Bill Hunt Aug 21, 2013 06:14 PM

                                  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.


                                4. re: hazelhurst
                                  Gizmo56 Aug 21, 2013 01:10 AM

                                  FYI, for others:


                                  1. re: Gizmo56
                                    Bill Hunt Aug 21, 2013 06:26 PM

                                    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.


                            2. Bill Hunt Aug 17, 2013 05:36 PM

                              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.



                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                belma79 Aug 18, 2013 07:57 AM

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

                              2. s
                                shanefink Aug 17, 2013 05:54 PM

                                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
                                  karendor Aug 17, 2013 06:05 PM

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

                                  1. re: karendor
                                    shanefink Aug 18, 2013 05:38 PM

                                    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
                                      karendor Aug 19, 2013 04:52 PM

                                      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.


                                      1. re: karendor
                                        belma79 Aug 20, 2013 12:32 AM

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

                                  2. re: shanefink
                                    kibbles Aug 19, 2013 02:38 PM


                                  3. belma79 Aug 18, 2013 07:55 AM

                                    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
                                      Bill Hunt Aug 21, 2013 06:34 PM

                                      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,


                                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                                        belma79 Aug 22, 2013 11:11 AM

                                        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!

                                        1. re: belma79
                                          Bill Hunt Aug 23, 2013 07:38 PM

                                          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,


                                    2. n
                                      nolahipmama Aug 25, 2013 07:17 PM

                                      This is easy: Galatoires (100% all New Orleans)

                                      Ask for Brian Casey's section (you must)

                                      Bonus: if you don't ask for a menu and simply order what Brian recommends.

                                      Trust me on this. :)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: nolahipmama
                                        hazelhurst Aug 26, 2013 07:16 AM

                                        Just a point of clarification, Galatoire's does not have "waiters sections."

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