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Feedback on November visit

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  • h2o Oct 18, 2013 06:05 AM
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We are visiting for the first time at the end of November for 5 days. Major ambition is eating and drinking well. I've done quite a bit of research and have made some reservations. I've chosen places mostly based on what I've read here and menus that appealed. We'll be 4 people and tend to go for sharing multiple appetizers/plates so are fine with visiting a few places for snacks and drinks and moving on. DH has a keen interest in fine bitter cocktails. I have been looking for good wine/liquor stores and shops for purchasing local products (visiting from Canada) as well and haven't found much so any recommendations would be appreciated. We're staying in the CBD and plan to do a lot of walking.

Night 1(Wed): Herbsaint
Day 2: Wandering with visits to Cassamento's and Domenica happy hour
Day 3: Dinner at Peche
Day 4: Brunch at Coquette, evening at Bacchanal? Three Muses? Both?
Day 5: Commander's Palace brunch.
Day 6: Lunch at Cochon Butcher with take away for the flight home.

Is that too much Link? Was thinking of changing Peche but we'd like to eat lots of seafood//fish. Other places considered: La Petit Grocery, Dominique's, Tableau, Luke, Boucherie, Mr B's.
Bars we hope to visit: Arnaud's, Bellocq, Sazerac Bar, French 75, Kingfish

Hopefully our livers make it through the trip..... Thanks for the assistance!

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  1. Keife & Co. is a nice wine shop in the CBD, and Rouses supermarket on Baronne St. also in the CBD carries tons of local products.

    French 75 is the bar at Arnaud's. Try Bar Tonique and Cane & Table (both French Quarter) and Loa at the International House hotel (CBD) for cocktails.

    Note that Casamento's lunch service ends promptly at 2:00, and they are closed on Sunday and Monday.

    2 Replies
    1. re: uptownlibrarian

      That is a good point on Casamento's, especially useful to the OP since, as I read it, they ar thinking of walking to and from and, as you know, Casamento's to Domenica(Roosevelt Hotel) is a heck of a hike (unless it is MArdi Gras and you are second lining: that goes like a flash,)

      1. re: hazelhurst

        Thanks for the tip on Casamento's hours. We're not opposed to taxis and public transit so I'll map out the distances.

        Cane&Table looks great, one of us loves rum.

    2. Keife & Co. is an excellent liquor store:

      http://keifeandco.com/

      Their selection of bitters (potable and aromatic) and amari are second to none. Prices are absolutely reasonable, especially considering the quality of their service. Presumably their wine selection is as good; however, I buy my wine either from Bacchanal or Faubourg Wines:

      http://faubourgwines.com/

      The latter is a little out of the way [*] but the selection is very well curated. There's certainly a focus on less expensive bottles but also on up and coming wineries (Vending Machine, for instance) that generally ring in in the $25-40 range.

      For what it's worth, I think Bacchanal has better food than Three Muses though the 3M certainly has its fans (I know because they block the sidewalk waiting to shove on in). At Bacchanal, don't overlook the bar upstairs: they do a decent cocktail -- and have a surprisingly good sherry selection by the glass.

      Also in the neighborhood, especially if you're looking for drinks, is Maurepas Foods. Though the hip factor is on the wane (finally) the food at M.F. remains very good indeed. They, Sylvain, Ste. Maries, and Tonique could be in your cocktail bar rotation for sure.

      [*] During the St. Claude 2nd Saturday art walks they see a pretty lively crowd though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: montuori

        Keife&Co is exactly what I am looking for, excited to add to our amari collection!

        Will try to add Maurepas Foods and Sylvain, both look great to me. Considering Sylvain for a later evening small meal on the Sunday after large brunch.

      2. Any recommendations for Sunday dinner in Uptown? Wanted to go to Boucherie but it is closed. A number of places seem to be closed Sunday in the neighbourhood.

        4 Replies
        1. re: h2o

          Well, you could switch around and try Coquette for dinner, or the Commander's Palace. There's also La Petite Grocery or La Crepe Nanou, depending on your eating preferences. Here's a list of open restaurants:

          http://www.nomenu.com/joomla1/index.p...

          1. re: h2o

            College Inn is open on Sundays and is pretty decent.

            1. re: h2o

              Switch your Coquette plans from brunch to dinner on Sunday. They show their range and creativity much better at dinner, brunch is, frankly, something they feel they have to offer but is not their focus. Consider Atchafalaya on Louisiana Avenue (Uptown) as a brunch option. Enjoy your trip, find a place to steam out the excesses!

              1. re: sanglier

                Thanks for the feedback and list of open on Sunday places. Booked La Petit Grocery. My understanding from the Coquette website is that they serve lunch on Saturday, not brunch, but I will confirm with them.

            2. GW Fins is arguably the best seafood restaurant in nola. Skip Tableau.

              1. Reporting back...

                Herbsaint: Unfortunately just ok. Standout dishes were the ceviche and butter poached tuna. Spaghetti with guanciale was really disappointing with an overcooked egg and tasting basically of heavy cream, ribeye well cooked but uninteresting, limp fries. First time having gumbo (soup form) made me wonder why people like gumbo.

                Luke: Despite a reservation noting a milestone birthday we were sat at the far back of the room alone in a cold drafty spot. Request to be moved denied. Service comically bad. Enjoyed the baked oysters and crab salad. Excellent crab bisque, much better gumbo. Good bread.

                Domenica: Stopped by for happy hour. Great negroni. Loved the pizzas, good thin, charred crust, flavourful tomato sauce and fresh toppings. Enjoyed a number of Italian reds by the glass.

                Sylvain: We all really enjoyed our meal. Had fried eggplant, crispy and creamy. Loved the buffalo style sweetbreads and brussel sprout salad. Good service and a really nice space.

                Casamanto's: Great lunchtime atmosphere, friendly service. Raw oysters were good but we're used to northern species and like a more briny flavour. We had fried squid, crab claws and catfish. I guess they don't season anything. Catfish was the only thing that wasn't overcooked. Good gumbo.

                Guy's Po Boys: 4 of us shared a fried catfish and shrimp sandwich. Loved it.

                Killer Po boys: Pork belly and cabbage slaw was awful, too sweet and soggy. Shrimp banh mi had tasty well cooked shrimp but it seemed like 'vietnamese lite' flavours. Disappointing.

                Coquette: Just all round fabulous. Beautiful room, great service, great cocktails and wine by the glass. Loved the shrimp and grits, fried oysters and kale salad. Had a beef appetizer that was delicious but was served in a tiny bowl with a large steak knife, awkward. Seeing some of the other desserts go out chocolate beignets weren't the best choice but they were fine.

                Bacchanal: Great spot for wine and snacks. Loved the bacon wrapped dates and confit chicken leg. Braised octopus had great texture but there was something off about the sauce for us, a muddy taste we couldn't place.

                Atchafalaya Brunch: Fun boozy brunch, who knew sazeracs were a breakfast drink. Standouts were the duck hash, eggs atchafalaya and the boudin. Good service.

                Emril's: Absolutely the worst meal of the trip. Maybe we ordered wrong. BBQ shrimp was overcooked with a dirty, gelatinous goop and a dry biscuit. Salads were limp and overdressed. DH ate his chicken quietly and didn't bother to share. One of us liked their gumbo (and yes, he ordered it everywhere...).

                Cochon Butcher: We picked up takeout for the flight home. Didn't realize until we were in flight that they only put 1 of 2 sandwiches in the bag. Muffuletta was good.

                Bars: Had interesting, well made cocktails at Bellocq and Sazerac bar. It was fun to be in French 75 on a Friday night but the drinks were less than stellar (corpse reviver, aviation). Fantastic and very knowledgeable bartender at Cane and Table made great cocktails and rum recommendations.

                Thank you for the Keife&Co recommendation, were found some interesting amaro and eau de vie.

                5 Replies
                1. re: h2o

                  Casamentos is known for their oyster loaf. You ordered what????? Lol Anyway, the last time we went, was our last. Big drop off since Joseph passed. You probably wouldn't have struck gold no matter your order.

                  1. re: JazzyB

                    Oops, missed that! We also had the chargrilled oysters which I was excited to try after making a delicious version of their recipe that was published in Saveur. They too were overcooked with unsalted butter and garlic the only evident flavours.
                    http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                    1. re: h2o

                      Charbroiled oysters are easy to overcook and I half expect them to be so. They are really a delivery system for the sauce. The proliferation of them in recent years has been remarkable although they used to be a standard in backyard cookouts years ago (although not, perhaps, as complex as they are today.)

                      1. re: h2o

                        GW Fins serves plump, succulent cold smoked, chargrilled sizzling oysters. Not a hint of parmesan, garlic butter and so much better.

                    2. re: h2o

                      Sounds like you much preferred the “newer” restaurants to the old standards. Seems like each new restaurant that opens one-ups the old guard. I think it’s because it’s easier to start with a clean slate than to reinvent yourself. Herbsaint has been doing the same thing for years and enjoys tremendous sucess, but last few visits not quite as endearing (especially the service for me). Sylvain, Cochon Butcher and Coquette are three at the top of my current list of favorites.