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Dec 31, 2013 07:23 AM

Fresh Fish restaurants for this week...

Coming in tomorrow for 3 nights. Haven't been to NOLA since Katrina. I am looking for a few good lunch's or dinners with great fish preparations...fresh and local. GW Fins and Peche looked like nice places. I have looked at a plethora of other nice restaurants from August down the line... I love French and Italian food, and can cook about anything, including Thomas Keller. So my expectations are high. Not Thomas Keller high, by still high. It seem's most of the restaurants I have looked at don't offer much in the way of fish, rather more in game and other proteins. While I love, well prepared, high-end food and service, I am not afraid of a dive restaurant as long as the fish is fresh. While it's late in notice, and being Sugar Bowl week, I may have troubles even getting a spot, I am just seeing what y'all may recommend...thank you. Oyster Bar in Quarter? Best Bloody Mary's in Quarter?

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  1. You may be setting yourself up for a fall. Although there have been a few efforts to bring in the Keller-esque "experience" New Orleans has largely avoided the little exquisite samples of perfection coaxed from the recesses of what is drearily called "Nature's Bounty." As a rule, the traditional stuff is fairly straightforward and not pretending to subtlety. I have been to places where the fish is from good sources but I've had to have the kitchen "hold" the "gastrique" or whatever-else is trendy: grill it and bring some lemon.

    You can get quality stuff at Peche although I am no fan of the place. And we are in a minor epidemic of head-on fish...a presentation mania of the first chop. Luke's oysters have always been very good.If you can find (good luck!) a place that will grill---or better yet poach---redfish I'd say order it. No remarkable preparation, just basic. But it seems the blackening mania hangs on.

    Borgne might work. Brian knows what he is doing and while I hate the space I can sit still awhile--except when football is on.

    Well, just some random thoughts.

    6 Replies
    1. re: hazelhurst

      H, thanks for your reply...I may have steered ya wrong on the Keller. Definitely not looking for the Keller experience...will have a few friends that aren't as particular, but love fish. I did look at Peche menu and just didn't find what anything. I first came here in the early 80's in college and didn't appreciate the food....and yes, the blackened thing is still hanging on. Just came back from a NYC/Brooklyn trip and the whole fish thing was there as well. That will hang on a while I bet. I will check into Borgne again...thank you!

      1. re: hazelhurst

        just back from another meal at Peche -- have been half a dozen times and the fish has been excellent every time. raw, apps, and mains. it's often broth-based and much lighter than the heavy, buttery sauces and preparations found in typical New Orleans dining.

        1. re: kibbles

          I'm glad to hear the news and am delighted that business is good for them even if I am not happy over there. I believe in good commerce and good times for all((I'm just a Huey Long in little) I do love the heavy, buttery preps I grew up with but I often tell lay off a bit. My favorite places, even of world renown will do this for the broken=down bastard. This is part of what I love about dining out (plus not needing to clean up afterwards, something I am genetically incapable of doing).

          I'll try to give Peche another chance. I just don't like the room. I'm old, though, and might be bludgeoned into ccompliance.

          1. re: hazelhurst

            one note -- they've installed a bunch of acoustic panels on the ceiling to try to reduce noise. Our table near the kitchen was much more tolerable. we asked the waitress and she said it's made a big difference in their opinion.

            1. re: kibbles

              Thank heaven for that. I'm still not a fan of the "space." Seems contrived to me.

              1. re: hazelhurst

                really? that's one of the first things we liked about it - repurposed warehouse; massive exposed support beams; green, tan and eggplant palette; painstakingly restored woodwork in the bar; and the first class masonry work on the gorgeous exterior. great space! but it was noisy. hopefully it's better now.

      2. You might want to take a look at some of the Uptown places...Gautreau's pops to mind. And my old favorite Clancy's has good suppliers. Of course, as a pro cook friend said once "fishmongering is a dirty business." And it is true that reliable suppliers have been known to try to pawn off inferior stuff in the bottom of the crate(with a spectacular specimen or two on top of course). The personalities change so quickly that one must be on guard all the time.

        Until the Legislature stuck it's head into things fisherman could take the day's catch to a restaurant and sell it from the car trunk. Sure there could be abuses but in the main it worked pretty well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: hazelhurst

          For now I have booked a brunch at August for gameday...just to try it. Booked Redfish Grill for a dinner...but will probably change to something else..and I did look at Clancy's and Gautreaus...both looked appealing and will probably pick one of those. I have a spot in my heart for Pascal's as it was my first eye-opening food experience in NOLA..and Corene Dunbar's way back...might drop in for some Oysters at Pascals... Just booked a few for now in case I have a problem later. Thank you again for your help!

        2. Well, I certainly HOPE this will prove to be of help. I am curious a to your prior experiences. One post remarked that you weren't crazy about the local stuff and another referred nicely to Manales. Has there been an evolution of sorts? I ask because I have seen zealous partisans of NOLA devlop after initial disappointment.(A college friend said "I was too young and stupid to know what to look for.") A once well-known critic had a lukewarm article on the Big Houses back in the 1970s and James Beard himself had a few choice words to explain that the reviewer had lived among trendy East Coast stuff too long and was applying the wrong standards. A conciliatory mea culpa article appeared a few months alter but the writer's reputation least around here.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hazelhurst

            Haha, what I meant is my first time to NOLA during college, my food knowledge was previously limited to McDonalds, Quincy's and College Cafeteria roommate was from Mobile and introduced me to the BBQ Shrimp at Pascal's..and that is when I went 'ok, this is cool'...ever since I have been developing a deeper appreciation for food...maily cooking. This trip, I have to satisfy myself and keep it real for my friends. Not too sure they would appreciate August. And that might even be too much for me. I know they would like most anything busy in the quarter, just because they liken 'busy' to 'good'. So trying to find a great happy medium.

            1. re: GumbyCooks

              There are many restauranteurs, and restaurant designers, who espouse "loud" to "good," and, unfortunately, many diners agree, and ascribe to such notions.

              I find it sad, that many diners (most?) cannot just tune out, and enjoy the cuisine, for itself - "Oh, this is REALLY good, and I did not expect that... "

              I'd say to let the taste buds, the olfactory senses, and the eyes just take over - no preconceived notions - just pleasure.



          2. I am a big fan of G W Fins, though it does not get a lot of love on this board. I find that they offer great, local seafood, done with local recipes.

            I hear great things about Peche, but have not yet dined there, so cannot directly comment.

            Now, in NOLA, there are many restaurants, not specifically known as "seafood restaurants," that do great seafood. I have had great seafood at Brigtsen's, Galatoire's, Bayona, The Grill Room, Arnaud's and Antoine's.

            Best BM in the FQ? My vote goes to the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone, but that is just me.



            4 Replies
            1. re: Bill Hunt


              Please let us know your views on Peche. I trust your opinion and am willing to learn.

              Best Bloody Mary? Gee, that would go to the late Nelson Marcotte at Galatoire's who made them with Gin (as the Creator intended) and horseradish that needed to be measured by the jigger. Hoo boy! That was good stuff.

              1. re: hazelhurst

                Well sounds great. But I can't get one from him. I'm sitting in the superdome now. I'll update my food travels as they have migrated from the best intentions.

                1. re: GumbyCooks

                  gee whiz! How fun to hear from someone in the Dome as a "real-time" response.

                  Don't worry about not being able to haveNeslon give youa BM..just walk in the redtaurant and ask f any OLD waiter who knew him The BM might not be Nelson's but it will be part of H

                2. re: hazelhurst

                  Amen about gin being God's plan. It is a shame that more people (and bartenders) don't seem aware of this cosmic truth. The gin version is often referred to as a "red snapper" or sometimes now just a "snapper." And I think the gin version stands up far better to fresh horseradish and other strong flavors...I would have loved to have sampled Mr. Marcotte's recipe. Happy new year, HH!

              2. Nope...I didn't just fall of the face of the earth...but it sure feels like it. I got the flu Friday. Still have the flu. And still trying to find the driver of that truck that keeps running over me. Change....that was the word of the trip. I will try to update you the best I can...Lunch we had Coquette, Café Amelie. Dinners were Royal House Oyster Bar, Redfish Grill. Late Breakfast was at Mena's. My head is still in a fog, so this will be brief...Late nite dinner at Royal House was ok. Oysters fresh and grilled were great. Had a grilled redfish...simple prep...was be expected. Redfish grill I actually didn't eat a thing. I had to leave the table. But everyone else loved their food. Not my kind of place...too 'chainish' feel....great service though. Mena's was great for breakfast...just a good old greasy spoon...Tasso Omlete w American Cheese and 2 Boody Marys was a good start. Good service...and packed. Coquette was nice. My kind of place. Great food, service, and off the path. Was great to get out. I chose Pork Cheeks over steel cut oats. Was great. Friends all enjoyed it as well. One had Duck and another had Tuna. The young one had their burger and I helped her with the fries. Sweet Potato Tart for dessert was a hit. Shrimp and grits were excellent here. Café Amelie was a late lunch. Nice spot and great service. Had a blackeyed pea soup which was nice...gumbo had a different roux...while everyone else liked it, I prefer a traditional roux taste. I think we had some Milk Braised pork as well which was good. I'm sure I missed walking out of Famous Door at 5am...or attending the Imagine Dragons free concert Thursday nite...but, all in all, NOLA is NOLA. If you don't have a good time and good food, it's your fault. Thanks to all for sharing your town!