Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >
Oct 2, 2013 07:27 AM

Luke vs. Emerils New Orleans If you had to pick one over the other.

4 New york Foodies headed to NO! 4 days of eating an drinking our way through NO, O...M...G!!! Beyond excited. We have reservations at Commanders Palace and K-Pauls. I am very torn between Emeril's New Orleans and John Besh's LUKE, which one do we go to? Also what is the best place to have brunch/breakfast?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Luke's is more of a French Bistro with a Louisiana twist. Emeril's is fine Creole dining. I like both, but would probably go with Emeril's, the service is more consistent.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Smarttyparty

      Thank you, I have a huge problem with bad service, especially if I am dropping some serious coin.

      1. re: PatriciaD

        Not sure that one would find, even dodgy service at either, but I think that my choice would be Emeril's. Somehow, they always find a great blend of fine service, friendly service, a certain "fun familiarity," with a relaxed attitude - not easy to do.

        Now, if you are looking for another fine-dining restaurant, I strongly recommend Chef John Besh's Restaurant August.



        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Luke's is a training ground for Besh restaurants...I work on the block and often find the service just meh.

          but even at places like Emeril's, Delmonico, or even Antoine's i find the service only fair-to-good. today's waitstaff are very casual, familiar, and amateur...the seasoned pros of yesteryear are a dying breed. now it's all "How's everything tasting, guys?!"

          1. re: kibbles

            For us, Emeril's (the eponymous restaurant), has always been very good, friendly (in a NOLA-way), and very helpful.

            Delmonico... well, not quite so much, even at the higher price-point. Maybe we expected too much from them?

            For us, service is right behind the kitchen, and should never be marginalized, at any cost.


      2. re: Smarttyparty

        Luke's is a brasserie or bistro that attempts to show off what Besh learned during his time in France and Germany (Alsace?) while not forgetting this is New Orleans. My wife and I loved it, she being from Europe and having eaten lots of that kind of hearty brasserie food. Luke's menu had a number of familiar Franco-German brasserie goodies--and pretty good renditions if I recall--plus a raw bar, which we as tourists felt was very "Gulf," though not necessarily "Louisiana." We do love the seafood and are gullible as ever when a raw bar is involved. Some of the usual suspects like gumbo make appearances--there's no mistaking you're in Louisiana. In summary, we happily fell prey to the "concept"--if you want to call it that. I haven't been to Emeril's.

      3. They are different enough that I'd be pleased to know what you in enjoy at home or elsewhere. Luke is a manifestation of that loathesome concept, The Concept Restaurant. That is not disparaging the food. Emeril's is a fixed up warehouse that I would not call Fine Dining but it has several New Orleans-y items with the depressingly ubiquitous "twist."

        7 Replies
        1. re: hazelhurst

          Just updated my profile! Has all my likes :). One of the reasons I picked Emeril's New Orleans besides the great reviews was that it appeared to be resonably priced. I know that Commanders and K-Pauls are going to be 2 very expensive dinners. We do not need to break the bank everynight. I did have a hesitation with Emeril's restaurant because I have dined at Emeril's in Orlando Florida and was very disappointed.

          1. re: PatriciaD

            I think there may be some confusion about which Emeril's property you have on your radar. I think the one you are asking about is is "Emeril's," the flagship property in the Warehouse District ( ).

            I think the one that some of your respondents may possibly be discussing is "NOLA" in the FQ ( ).

            1. re: Gizmo56

              Gizmo, Correct I am refering to Emeril's New Orleans not NOLA. Should I switch to NOLA?

              1. re: PatriciaD

                Patricia, I'd stick with the original Emeril's in the Warehouse District (although I think I'd also go to NOLA before Luke).

                I agree with Montuori, that Luke is at its best for a burger or a quick plate of oysters.

                1. re: PatriciaD

                  I would switch Emeril's with NOLA. Better food, better service, less of a tourist destination. I like Luke's very much, but not as a destination meal. More of a place just to relax with friends and enjoy a casual evening or lunch.

                  1. re: PatriciaD

                    Ditto, as well as Hazelhust's sartorial council. I wish he was my refined, southern cousin that I could expose to my "flip-flop and shorts wearing, uber-relaxed", fellow San Diegan brethren that visit this great city.

                    Never mind. They still would not get it.

                    1. re: foodiechick

                      Thanks for the kind words. It is funny you should mention the footwear. I just finished reading Anya von Bremzen's very good memoir "Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking" and she describes returning to Moscow recently where, on a casual walk, she was stared at for wearing flip-flops. It reminded me of seeing an enormous American young man at the Bolshoi wearing blue jeans and an open shirt. The Russians were duly horrified.

            2. Emeril's is by far the better restaurant of the two.

              Coquette is my favorite brunch right now.

              3 Replies
              1. re: BayouTeche

                Just checked out Coquette's menu, WOW! Great suggestion right up our alley. Thank you.

                1. re: BayouTeche

                  We had two meals at Coquette this past week and it was the best food of our entire trip. If they have the king salmon tartarre, jump on it, it was AMAZING! If you go, ask for Jacob and tell him Matthew from Arizona sent you. He was an extremely gracious and generous host (he's the front of house manager).

                  1. re: mwest9

                    Awesome! Will do. Heading down 10/19! I can not get a thing done at work, I am researching restaurants. Viewing tourist food pics on trip advisor, I can't stand it ! I want to be there right now .....I am getting off that palne and headed for a Po' Boy before I even check in to the hotel! YUMMMMMM

                2. Emeril's is something of a destination; Luke's a place you can stop in for a burger and a beer -- the food's solid but maybe not exceptional. As Smarty hints, the service at Emeril's is superior without being fussy. (I'd actually go so far to say that the service at Luke is sub-par: it seems like every time I sit at the bar they end up forgetting part of my order.)

                  In addition to the other breakfast places that will inevitably be mentioned (Elizabeth's, Stanley, The Old Coffee Pot, the Ruby Slipper, EAT -- all of them solid enough) I'll throw the Irish House into the mix. Their breakfast is pretty excellent and for whatever reason they don't attract the same voluminous crowds as some of the other places.

                  That said, I'd posit that the best breakfast dish in town is the hash at Surry's (either location). Note that they get silly busy at both locations on the weekend.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: montuori

                    I think you hi the nail on the head with that description although I will say I have never had trouble with service at Luke. On the other hand I am a relaxed patron whose regular waiters have been known to go on vacation and I never noticed. I think it is fair to say that Emeril's tries to be more of a Big Destination place whereas Luke is more casual (even if Emeril is far-from-dress-up). But there is lot on Emeril's plates that I would not call creole while Besh is making doff of the cap to Kolb's (for practical purposes). As locals we need to remember that people expect to find shrimp and grits in New Orleans and the anouille encrusted drum--or whatever is encrusted.(A friend loves to get outraged over that item anywhere he goes. He makes Andouille and it takes him so much time and trouble that he pretends to fury over someone grinding up the handiwork. "Just smoke a pork butt and let the dog chew on it.")

                    Bayou Teche's Coquette rec is solid.

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      If you wouldn't mind recommending a locals favorite place or places to dine I would love it! Thanks so much!!

                      1. re: PatriciaD

                        As I mentioned on here recently, almost all the well-known places are largely local which is not to say they don't need the tourist dollar. My ordinary stand-bys are Mandina's, College Inn, Liuzza's, Bozo's when the Meet is on at Da Track, Bon Ton once-in-a-while. Up the ladder a rung would be Clancy's, Galatoire's Commander's. Thena smattering of places such as Coquette for some variety. But usually I find for my higher-end money I am at Clancy's or Galatoire's and I am far from alone in this view. Things have changed a lot in recent years..and we've lost great sorts such as Mandich and Maylie's and scores of others. And now we have gnocci--which cost more than dumplings or ravioli--and sea scallops, which I love but let's face it, they are not local food. (Once, at on of New York's shining star restaurants, in 2000 or so, I noted they had "Divers Sea Scallops" without an apostrophe for the first word. I noted this to the place (it was fairly new) and then pointed out that Red Tide spraying had shut down scallop beds from New York north. It was admitted that what they served really should have had a passport.) So lots of places have a watermelon pickle or housemade charcuterie but these are not what we had for years and years and years.

                        1. re: hazelhurst

                          Thank you so much! My only regret is that we are not there long enough to eat in all the places we want. I could not agree more with going somewhere and wanting to eat what is native to the area. And fortunately or unfortunately sometimes change means gnocchi. I am super delighted that you shared your local faves and after a quick menu review I have put
                          College Inn on the tour, along with Coquette for brunch. Thanks to everyone who replied on this thread it is much appreciated.

                          1. re: PatriciaD

                            Trust me (as a fellow visitor), you will never go wrong following havelhurst's wise counsel.

                            1. re: PatriciaD

                              Since you're going to be at the College Inn, be sure to check out who's playing next door at the Rock and Bowl. It's not the same as it used to be in the old location -- crikey, I sound like hazelhurst saying that -- with the lanes being smooth and the staircase of doom nowhere to be found, but it's still a great place to see a band.

                              1. re: montuori

                                Well, you were on the right wavelength..I was going to remark that Ye Olde isn't the same since Katrina took the horseshoe bar, where I spent a LOT of time for...well...some years. The new place is OK, just not the right feel but that is true of Mandina's, too. But it is still a good neighborhood kind of place and the bill of fare, while it has changed, shows off local stuff to good effect. (The ole one seemed, at times, particularly New Orleans and then rather like a local joint in Pittsburgh or Chicago with corned beef and cabbage or a breaded veal cutlet with gravy. Those are eternal)

                                If you miss the stairs of doom out there by the old Mike Persia Chevrolet, I guess you could always go to The Dungeon.

                          2. re: PatriciaD

                            New Orleans is a bit different, than some other cities.

                            Many (most?) of the restaurants are BOTH "tourist," and "local." The locals know great food, but do not hesitate to tell tourists where to go.

                            This board gets many requests for "no tourists," but that is not likely, until one gets to the real "neighborhood" restaurants.

                            With all of the great food in NOLA, there is no need to try to avoid tourists - heck, as I no longer live in NOLA, I am a "tourist."


                      2. My husband and I had one of our worst dining experiences ever at August and would NEVER go to one of John Besh's restaurants again.

                        Highly recommend all of Emeril's restaurants. Especially Delmonico!

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Shartzog

                          What happened that made August so bad? We have reservations for NYE??

                          1. re: sockster

                            There was nothing good about it. We were celebrating my birthday and had pre-ordered the degustation menu. They sat us at a horrible table. The service was really bad. We did the wine tasting with it and they barely gave us any wine. Food probably was okay, but everything else was so bad it didn't matter. I wrote a letter and was never acknowledged.

                            Go to Delmonico's or anywhere else! I've just made a reservation for Stella and am leaning towards GW Fins for another dinner on our upcoming trip.

                            1. re: Shartzog

                              Sorry to hear this.

                              Now, going back to just post-K, we did the Chef's Tasting, and the Sommelier's Pairing (about 3 sommeliers ago), and the wines were NOT a good fit. They were also from the loser-end of the B-T-G selections, at a very, very premium price in this pairing. Shortly thereafter, that sommelier was elsewhere.

                              Since then, we have had very good, to great pairings.

                              Sorry that your experience was less than stellar.


                            2. re: sockster

                              Please don't judge August by a disgruntled one timer's experience. I have dined there innumerable times with no complaints re: food or service, which btw, is always welcoming, informed and accommodating, all you need do is ask.

                              1. re: JazzyB

                                This one timer spent 15 years in the restaurant business and would NEVER give a second chance to this or any Besh establishment!

                                You shouldn't have to ask for good food and good service. It certainly is at Delmonico's!

                                1. re: Shartzog


                                  While we did have that one poor wine experience at Restaurant August (they have more than made up for that in a half-dozen later visits), we had even poorer wine service at Delmonico. I had to hand-hold the sommelier, to get anything right.

                                  Different nights, and different folk.


                                  1. re: Shartzog

                                    if youre also in the biz then you know you cant judge an entire set of restaurants based on whatever happened to you the one time you were in one. did you ask to be re-seated?

                                    i find the service at Delmonico to be casual bordering unprofessional, and likely geared around tourists.

                                    1. re: kibbles

                                      What you reply to, and describe, is about what we encountered, and well past the "opening." Even many months later, it was like a "learning experience," and it should not have been.


                                2. re: sockster

                                  August was just a semifinalist for the james beard outstanding restaurant award (the national one). Don't give your reservation a second thought, it's one of the best restaurants in the country and has received countless accolades. Surely a few people have left less than satisfied, but that is the exception, not the rule.