grazing over big dinners in New Orleans
Hey there, we're coming down in April (over Easter) and have a dinner reservation at Cochon on Saturday, Jazz Brunch at Commander's Palace Sunday, and plan to eat lunch at Cochon Butcher on Monday...
other than that, pretty hesitant to make reservations because we never seem to be hungry at the expected hour, and prefer grazing here and there over multi-course meals. We are just 2 ladies, and we are staying Friday morning through Tuesday afternoon of Easter weekend.
If we stick to happy hours (Luke's /Domenica), or restaurants where we don't have to make reservations (we never seem to be hungry at the expected hour), will we be missing out hugely on places like Coquette and Herbsaint?
We both love really great food and don't mind paying for what's just spectacular and not-to-be-missed, problem is our appetites just don't cooperate. Here in Toronto we usually sit at the bar, and eat well, but just not a whole lot and very rarely linger over long dinners at tables.
On a weekend as big as Easter, can we do the grazing, no reservation thing, and not end up at kind of mediocre, disappointing spots?
Given the above description is brunch at Commander's a mistake? Our reservation is for 1:30 - will we miss the parade?
It is just the two of us, honestly wish we could have our dinner at Cochon with more people... just a bite of each thing would suffice and sate us.
I am well-known as a Galatoire's partisan but even without that honor I think it fits your situation better than anything else..not that Commander's would be a bad choice. In your place I think I'd take in the parade and then plan on going to Galatoire's about 2:30 or 3:00. It will have been packed from opening at noon and EVERYONE will be there showing off new hats and white linen suits. But the noon crowd will begin to drift off mid-afternoon and you can get a two- top with ease. Tell the waiter your situation..he'll be used to people who graze...I do it all the time. You can have some oytsers en brochette...then relx with wine for awhile..then maybe some shrimp remoulde...then who knows? You can spend several hours.(Sometimes a waiter may need to leave at 4:00 or so but he can hand you off to someone else.)
Just took a look at Commander's Brunch menu. Those items look delicious but so rich and big. I get the sense that sharing is not quite the recommended practice at such an old school elegant place. Then again it is painted bright blue.
Maybe I should change my research target.. small plate restaurants and bars with good food.
I guess I'm just thinking of our only other trip last year to Montreal. It was a highly anticipated trip and I'd made reservations for us at Joe Beef. We sat at the bar (preference) and started with the famous lobster pasta. We shared it, planning to keep going, and ended up too full to try anything else. We like it eat, we aren't afraid of consumption or high calorie foods, but with just the two of us and no one else to share with, I'm a little worried.
I understand the appetite issue: I'm not a particularly big eater myself (anymore). So with that said, Cochon is a good choice for sharing plates -- their apps & salads are excellent and I don't think you miss out on too much by skipping the entrées. The bar there, either up front or out back, is a nice choice if there are seats available.
Commanders food may be rich but they're old school and don't make the mistake of equating volume with value. I find their portions to be sensibly sized. Don't let the bright blue building fool you, it's just a costume; "old school elegant" describes it well.
I (like you, I'm guessing) usually opt for sitting at the bar and sharing. Some higher-end places I really enjoy doing that include Mariza, Maurepas Foods, Marti's, Herbsaint, and Coquette. I used to recommend Sylvain but the service there has been iffy on my last couple of visits; you might have better luck.
If the weather's nice, stop by Bacchanal at the far end of the Bywater -- you can have a glass (or a couple of bottles -- your call) of wine and eat or not as the mood hits you. The food's better than it should be (but cash only).
I too will be in NOLA during the Easter weekend (5 of us arrive & depart the same days as you!). We have reservations for Easter dinner at the Pelican Club. I have never eaten there during all my visits to NOLA, but an older gentleman recommended it to me & hubby during our last visit. That's the only reservation we made during our time there because the other 3 adults traveling with us have never been to NOLA before so we're going to be showing them around & stopping to eat wherever we end up. Don't change your CP Sunday reservations-you'll love it!