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Christmas in New Orleans

We are planning a New Orleans trip from 12/25 to 1/1. Last time we were in NOLA for 2 nights, we ate at Cochon and Luke and loved both. This time we were thinking of Commander’s Palace, August, Peche, Brigtsen’s, and K-Paul in addition to Cochon and Luke.

We are guessing since executive chefs take their vacation during that time, are any of these places not worth going to, or are our fears unfounded? (We once had a not-so-great experience in NYC couple of Christmas’ ago but had a wonderful time in Chicago last Christmas).

We are also looking for more restaurant suggestions. Although Cochon is well regarded in NOLA, I think Luke is overlooked. I wonder why considering we had a wonderful dinner at Luke (we are big pork lovers and the mangalitsa pork dish on the menu at Luke was oh so good).

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  1. I'm not a huge fan of Luke; although I've only had lunch and happy hour there, but you should definitely check out Besh's Domenica (Roosevelt Hotel) for happy hour; 1/2 price pizzas from 3-6 every day. They are outstanding and an amazing bargain. I was there in the summer and they also had some $5-$7 appetizers too that were great.
    Commander's Palace is lovely during the holidays; their brunch is fantastic.
    I think MOST restaurants except those connected to a hotel, like Luke or Domenica, will be closed on Christmas day and New Years day so that might be your only issue. Occasionally there will be other places, like Napoleon House that may close for a few days in and around the holidays too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: piglet3000

      Agree re: Domenica. The best HH in town. Excellent pizzas, but do not overlook the rest of the menu. Order a table pizza as well as an array of smaller plates to share. Be sure to make reservations as HH is quite popular. Specialty cocktails (not included in HH) are very good, often herbal and not too sweet.

      I would swap:

      GW Fins for Peche
      Coquette or Emeril's for K-Paul's. Emeril's is closer in style to K-Paul's, should that matter.

    2. Most places have this down to a "T" and the Executive Chef really need not be around all the time no matter how much he'd like to think so. Luke's strength has been the quality of the ingredients less that the technique. His meats are good.

      I'd call Brigsten's to check: Frank might want some time off even over the profitable holidays. and the first Carnival Ball of the year--even though it is not yet Carnival---is between Xmas and New Year's and that might affect some places as people celebrate. This is more likely to affect something like Clancy's rather than something like Peche. The Queen's Supper won't be an issue.

      That time of hyear the oysters should be very good. Crabmeat is the tradeoff..it is better in summer and shells in crabmeat are far more prevalent in the winter. It is just a fact.

      1. If the Chef runs a good kitchen there should be no difference between when the Chef is there or away for a while. In almost every restaurant that gets good reviews here the Chef is rarely (or ever) on the line. If there are good line cooks at the stations and good Sous and an Executive Sous things should be smooth for a week or two.

        You have a good list although I haven't been to Peche yet.

        1 Reply
        1. re: collardman

          Collardman,

          I completely agree. Most chefs have a staff, trained in their vision, and more than capable of bringing that vision to the patrons - otherwise, they would not be on the staff.

          Good call, IMHO,

          Hunt

        2. Thanks for all your suggestions. Coquette and GW Fins are on our list now. And so is Domenica. Will call Brigtsen's to see if they are open.

          Please suggest "must have" dishes at any of these places. We know we will get all the small plates at Cochon, pizza (any one in particular?) at Domenica. Anything else we should not miss?

          3 Replies
          1. re: babegourmand

            There are so many delicious things on the menu at Domenica. They change things up quite frequently yet leave a good number of standbys. HH offers changing HH special bites as well. If the mushroom soup is available, it is wonderful. Risotto variations are very good. Ditto salads and pastas. FWIW, I am not a fan of lasagna....theirs is hard to resist.... wafer thin spinach pasta sandwiched with bolognese, bechamel and cheese. Generously served in a casserole. Clam pizza and quattro formaggi (ask them to add basil) are favorites.

            GW Fins: Love the Scalibut, cold smoked sizzling oysters, crabcake, softshell. On occasion we have ordered 5-6 appetizers plus a split entree. They will split in the kitchen and serve in courses.. (August will do so as well.) Many dishes have an Asian imfluence.

            Order an array of apps at Brigtsen's and split an entree. While many love his "shellbeach diet" (non fried seafood platter), I find it very heavy with some breaded oysters. The best thing on the plate is the seafood cornbread with roasted corn butter. It comes in a ramekin Order a side dish of this. The tuna (entree) is really good.

            Coquette's menu changes daily. Their speciality cocktails are very good.

            Commander's turtle soup is arguably the best. Few realize their gumbos are even better.(except the seafood variation). I am a sucker for whatever shortcake is on the dessert menu. My husband favors the giant praline parfait. Cheesecake is very good and generous enough to split. Honestly, all the desserts are so good they should pffer a dessert tasting menu.

            You've got a nice selection of restaurants. Hard to to go wrong at any of them.

            Bon Appetit!

            1. re: JazzyB

              Thank you so much. Can't wait to get there. There was some talk about Root, Stella and R'evolution. The list we have so far is: GW Fins, Cochon, August, Coquette, Commander's Palace, Brigtsen's (if open), Domenica and Luke.
              I have been hearing good things about R'evolution, Stella and Root from some of the other posts. Any thoughts?

              1. re: babegourmand

                R'evolution provides a lovely dining experience.

                . We've tried five different entrees plus the ribeye and tomahawk ribeye (for two). The tomahawk ribeye with marrow sauce is the favorite. The other entrees were good, but that bone marrow sauce would probably make an old shoe taste great.

                Soups:: crab cappucino, turtle, death by gumbo. Death by gumbo wins. Pass on the fried oyster salad and sizzling oysters. Crab beignets are really good (and filling). We also split the lobster gnocchi as an app. It was just ok (bland).

                Desserts (if there's room) are good. In particular the riffs on bread pudding and banana cream pie. Ice cream; 3 scoops, choice of flavors. The toasted marshmallow is terrific.

                Although there is no tasting menu per se, they are happy to let you make up your own from apps/entrees , split in the kitchen, served in courses. A fun way to sample a variety.

                Do a board for Stella! and Root before deciding.

          2. If you enjoyed Luke, I would think that Restaurant August would be a great inclusion.

            While I DO love Brigtsen's, I might be tempted to include Peche, based on the great reviews, that I have read - no personal experience though.

            Still, we try to include Brigtsen's on most visits, along with Restaurant August - sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it does not. We attempt to add 1 - 2 new restaurants, on each visit, but then usually base each trip on some "favorites," such as Restaurant August and Brigtsen's.

            Most of all, enjoy!

            Hunt

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Called Brigtsen's to ask if they'd be open during Christmas week. Left a message but they never called back. Bad sign? I read good things about Peche too, but JazzyB recommends GW Fins over Peche and we were going with the recommendation. We could obviously do both GW Fins and Peche.

              1. re: babegourmand

                Personally, I am surprised about Brigtsens, as they have always impressed us with their level of professionalism.

                We have never dined at Peche, but have been to G W Fins, and have enjoyed every meal, since they first opened.

                Most of all, enjoy!

                Hunt