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Dec 30, 2013 11:35 AM

Dinner during the Sugar Bowl

I've never been to New Orleans during the Sugar Bowl but am headed down with some friends early Thursday morning until Saturday afternoon. I would like to have a nice, solo meal on Thursday night during the game. Would bar dining at a place like Herbsaint be possible during the game without a serious wait? Clancy's is another option that I have considered, as I would like to make sure I am out of the Quarter for as much as possible that evening. (Assuming that cabs will be plentiful.)

Thanks in advance.

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  1. I cannot give you any info about your timing vis a vis the bowl but hubby and I made a last minute dine at Herbsaint's bar on s [Nov.] Saturday night; we were the only ones at the bar for most of our meal, which will likely not be your case given the event. I called first and the hostess informed me that the bar was pretty open.

    All three bartenders were involved in our great service -- and were knowledgeable, funny and friendly.

    It was a great meal that included rabbit fricassee with garganelli, bacon, pumpkin, w/ madeira sauce, broccoli florets with a baked catfish topping. I also had a lovely winter greens salad with pancetta, and a perfectly balanced Satsuma Rye Old Fashioned.

    This was Saturday after Thanksgiving and Herbsaint's pumpkin pie with candied pecan topping was a great end-of- meal treat. One of the best desserts of the trip.

    The entire experience would lead me to believe it would be a great choice for solo dining, and of course it is an easy walk if you are staying in/around the Quarter.

    Have not been to Clancy's, so the other chowhounds will have a better idea of fare & location re: the game and cabs Uptown. [Clancy's is on my 2014 to-do list.]

    Let us know what you decide -- and how it turns out.

    1. Meant to attach this photo to my reply. Have fun, JB.

      21 Replies
      1. re: karendor

        Your dinner at Herbsaint looks and sounds great! Thanks for the reply and picture. I imagine the further away from the Quarter I go the better, but maybe I can try Herbsaint first and get a cab from there if necessary.

        I saw Cochon Bucher on your 2014 revisit list. I hope to go by there before leaving town Saturday and getting a few things to go. A friend brought me pickles from Bucher last year that were amazing.

        1. re: JBFletcher

          You are very welcome & I look forward to your trip report. I think Herbsaint is pretty darn solid.

          Honestly, I have been to C. Butcher twice and was not that wowed, but I think I need to do the muffaletta... with hopes of an opinion turnaround. [I at least need to do a NOLA muffaletta since I've been there 9 times without one.]

          Please let me know what you get/think re: CB since I am an outlier: I thought the roast beef sandwich was just Ok. The brussels sprouts are great, but I am not sure how well they would fare to-go.

          With regards to taxis, we were with friends at Peche on a rainy Tuesday night and there was (supposedly) a 20 minute wait for post-dinner cab rides. I was warned (via chow) that CBD could would be quite crowded with tourists because of the Bayou Classic football game on the post T-day weekend, but that Saturday night was pretty mellow.

          Perhaps you could purposefully do a "progressive" dinner starting at Herbsaint and finishing up at Clancy's? Hmmm.

          1. re: karendor

            I had thought about a progressive dinner from Herbsaint to Clancys! I just read about Annunciation, which is owned by a former Clancy's chef and has the oysters and brie appetizer that I have been eyeing on their menu. Annunciation is within walking distance of Herbsaint. Hmmm, indeed.

            1. re: JBFletcher

              Sounds good.

              I have just not heard the 'hounds rave as much about Annunciation as Clancy's but check the boards. Sounds like you need to start with oysters and brie and then decide where to go from there!

              Seething with jealousy here.

              1. re: karendor

                I am finally posting about my NOLA trip during the Sugar Bowl. My summary is kind of long, so you are forewarned!

                On the day of the game, my friends and I stopped at Verti Mart before checking into our hotel. We got there around 2, and it was packed. The kitchen was in the weeds, and I waited a long time for my shrimp poboy. It was worth the wait. The shrimp had a bite to them and were perfectly fried.

                The night of the game, I had a Sazarec at the Sazarec Bar and nice glass of red at Domenica. I then walked to Herbsaint and had no trouble getting a seat at the bar. I started with a wonderful Satsuma Rye Old Fashioned. For food, I had a bowl of their gumbo special--rabbit and duck, I believe. The gumbo was very good and had a very dark roux. I also ordered the spaghetti with guanciale and a fried poached egg. I wanted to eat at Herbsaint because of this dish, and it exceeded my expectations.

                Friday, we had lunch at Luke. I ordered a cup of gumbo. It was good, but I think Herbsaint's was better. My friend and I shared raw oysters, boiled shrimp, frites, and jalapeno grits. The grits were the standout of the trip. My friend is a very picky grits eater, and she is still raving about them.

                Friday night, we went to Tracey's to watch a game. Our group of three ordered a shrimp poboy, fried okra, and boudin. We tried to order the boudin balls, but they were out until the next day. The kitchen didn't have any balls ready but had just finished cooking the boudin. So, we ended up with a plate of hot boudin, and it was fantastic. Neither of my friends had ever had boudin, and both ended up as big boudin fans by the end of our meal. The poboy was good (but not as good as Verti Mart's), and the okra was what you would expect from a sports bar.

                We left on Saturday and stopped at Butcher for lunch on the way out of town. I had the bacon melt, and we split sides of brussels sprouts and mac and cheese. The bacon melt was good. I ate half of it at Butcher and the other half somewhere in Mississippi. I think I liked it better cold. Brussels sprouts and mac and cheese are two of my favorite things, and both of these dishes were delicious. I brought a cooler with the intention of bringing food from Bucher back home, and all three of us ended up buying items to go. I bought several pickled items/relishes, as well as another order of brussels sprouts and mac and cheese. Both held up fine in the cooler (though the boxes got a bit wet) , and the mac and cheese heated up well. (I like my leftover brussels sprouts cold.)

                Finally, I also had drinks at Felipes, Molly's at the Market, Coop's, Erin Rose, and the Ritz Carlton bar. I particularly enjoyed late night at Erin Rose. They have a great jukebox, and we were the only tourists there.

                It was a great trip. I hope to come back soon and focus my efforts Uptown and in the Bywater.

                1. re: JBFletcher

                  Thanx for the report about Herbsaint cuz I've never had that pasta. I'm glad you liked the Mac n cheese from CochonButcher it's my favorite. Jalapeno grits at Luke's? Sounds interesting

                  1. re: JBFletcher

                    Oh and it interesting that Verti marte had a better shrimp poboy than traceys

                    1. re: hltran

                      Note that Verti Mart's bread has sesame seeds on it, which could be an issue for some people. The shrimp is what set their poboy apart from Tracey's, though both were great to me as an out-of-towner.

                    2. re: JBFletcher

                      What a yummy and informative trip report. +1 Great to know about Verti Mart Po-boy and late nite @ Erin Rose.

                      [Also good to know about grits at Luke since my last Luke experience was notsogood.]

                      Overall it sounds like you trusted your tastebuds and had a wonderful eating and drinking trip.

                      So glad you got to enjoy sittin' at the bar @ Herbsaint... with that wonderful Satsuma Rye Old Fashioned, and a dish that more than met your expectations.

                      Are you missing NOLA already? I am.

                        1. re: JBFletcher

                          Honestly, I think we need to do a chowdown in NOLA, and maybe we wistful, ambassadorial out-of-towners should figure it out.

                          Here is what they did in SF on 12/30; I have not been, yet, but they have "Yahoo" groups and organize via email/evites. I am hoping to catch the next one in SF, EBay or NBay to get a feel.


                          Its an interesting topic thread, especially if you get the last post by Ms. Wong, the organizer. Photos abound.

                          Anyhow, good to fantasize.

                            1. re: karendor

                              Still waiting for you to plunk down that deposit on a condo in the Bywater.

                              1. re: shanefink

                                sf, thank you for your continued encouragement. it may happen sooner than any of us can imagine. although daughter may be not be thrilled. ;]

                              2. re: karendor

                                You better make sure to invite me!

                                1. re: sanglier

                                  You got it; back to you. Your wine/food gatherings always sound awesome, sanglier!

                                  Though it is not a chow organized event, I am going to this meetup of SF wine tasters tomorrow @ Buena Vista (now owned by Boisset group) in Sonoma. Yay!


                                  I bet there will be some chowhounds in attendance?

                                  As an amateur, I still would like to see more Sonoma County wines on NOLA menus; I know ya'll have seen my mini-rant before. Herbsaint seems like a great match, so let me know what you are finding on their wine list next time in?


                                  JB, thanks again for your trip report.

                          1. re: JBFletcher

                            Did you watch the game at Herbsaint's bar? I'm curious as we're trying to figure out where to watch the Super Bowl when we're in town next week. I'd like to be able to sit and enjoy it without big crowds.

                            We may just have a Domnica feast in our room at the Roosevelt and avoid crowds all together.

                            1. re: FoodChic

                              Herbsaint doesn't have a tv. I missed the first half and watched the second half at Tracey's.

                              1. re: JBFletcher

                                Oh no! Maybe that was a good thing for you. ;-)

                                1. re: FoodChic

                                  Ha! I was in town with Alabama fans, but I was pulling for the Sooners. I actually didn't mind missing the first half, because I thought it would be a boring, Alabama blowout. Needless to say, I was excited to watch the second half.

                                  1. re: JBFletcher

                                    Erin Rose is a great find in the Quarter. There were definitely tourists today (Feb. 27 ... 5 days before Fat Tuesday), but many of the patrons were locals. Killer Po Boys do a great un-fried shrimp po boy. A couple of locals highly recommended the pork belly. I really liked the crusty bread (Banh Mi style).

                                    I also tried a grilled shrimp po boy from Verti Marte and though it was tasty, I didn't care for the bread. I walked in mid-morning and only 2 other people were waiting for orders.

                                    Another nice bar was Bulldog on Magazine St. Great patio, nice bartenders and lots of options.