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May 15, 2014 08:09 AM

Emerils vs Commander's Palace vs Galatoires

I will be in NOLA at a conference. If we were going to have one special New Orleans dinner where should we go? Taking in to account food, atmosphere and drinks too.

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  1. Didn't even have to think about this one. Galatoire's.

    1. If it wasn't dinner I would say Saturday Brunch at Commander's, but if it is dinner Galatoire's.

      1. yep, big G over lil E and C only for brunch

        1. They are different experiences. Emeril has a heavy tourism angle and his stuff will have lots of things designed to sound good to a vistor. "pecan encrusted" or sometimes "andouille encrusted" items. He does a good job on the classics and tries to "enliven" some things.

          Commander's is more formal and has a brigade system of servers. It is more akin to "fine dining" that people expect to see at high end restaurants anywhere. The take a justifiable pride in their service. I find them to be roller-coaster-ish in the experience although nothing I have ever had there was bad or poor. Just odd little things gone wrong.

          Galatoire's is, to my mind, one of the uniquely New Orleans restaurants. It is a bistro operation and despite the dress-up requirement is actually fairly relaxed. It is nothing complicated although you can add things onto your order to be different. They are accomodating, for a price. It is a lengthy meal and you can go at any hour.

          1. Hazelhurst has it right. Go to Commander's if you want a conventionally special night out -- excellent service, beautiful surroundings and very good food (in my opinion, the best of the three overall). Go to Galatoire's if you want to have a complete blast -- a party atmosphere, with great service (although different and more idiosyncratic than Commander's), festive, old-NewOrleans surroundings and very good food (though, on average, a notch below Commander's IMHO). Go to Emeril's only if you grow tired of the other two -- and you never will.

            16 Replies
            1. re: bill1jan

              Wow, I second...and third...these comments. Even though we haven't been to Emeril's yet (I know, I know), I couldn't agree more with the assessments of CP and Galatoire's. Right on!

              1. re: Christine

                Agreed . . . I "fourth" these . . . .

              2. re: bill1jan

                i have to counter -- the food-level at Commander's never really wows us, especially at dinner. in fact in several instances ive had better at Emeril's, former chef of Commander's. but during brunch Commander's has almost always entertained my companions and i, which makes it worth it.

                1. re: kibbles

                  Well, to be honest, we only had lunch at Commander's Palace, not dinner, so I can't speak to their food at dinnertime. In your opinion, is Emeril's better than NOLA, or just a totally different dining experience? I've been curious what people think about them both, contrast and comparison-wise. We very much liked NOLA, and want to try Delmonico, too. What do you think about E's three restaurants?

                  1. re: Christine

                    They are three different places with some overlap in food. NOLA is the least expensive and most casual while Delmonico's is the most expensive and with the old school vibe.

                    I think Emeril's and Del's are more mainline dishes while NOLA will have a few more menu and special dishes that are international or fusion while keeping a handful of long time favorites.

                    1. re: collardman

                      OK, great, that's kind of what I thought, but I wanted an expert like yourself, collardman, to give me your thoughts and opinions. I'd venture to say it could be hard to pick a favorite among the three because they all meet different dining objectives....

                      1. re: Christine

                        yes, theyre different. and while delmonico was an old line restaurant, and the building still is, the last few times we were there we didnt feel the service was at all. young, inexperienced, flash over substance. seriously good service is one of the things which make old school restaurants rewarding. but it's been several years since we've been so i cant say how it is lately.

                        1. re: kibbles

                          that's too bad to hear about the service at Delmonico. It would be very disappointing to go there and not have the service up to par like it is in most, if not all, other old line restaurants in New Orleans. I would say, service-wise, the only restaurant that was a little "iffy" in our dining experiences in NO was Muriel's, but for whatever reason, the night we dined there, the service was better than the food.

                          Hopefully they've gotten the kinks worked out at Delmonico because I'd really like to try it sometime.

                          1. re: Christine

                            by all means, i wouldnt let that stop you from trying it. my data is old, and it's worth going to to see for yourself.

                  2. re: kibbles

                    Just my 2¢ . . . no doubt worth far less; feel free to keep the change . . . .

                    The food at Emeril's has never "wowed" me, and while all three restaurants receive their fair share of tourists visiting New Orleans, the "heavy tourist angle" that Hazelhurst described is -- in *my* experience -- spot on.

                    Now, as I've said before, I *am* a tourist; I live in California. But I've been traveling to New Orleans once or twice a year since well before Katrina (I first visited in 1970), and I personally feel more like a guest staying with friends (which in fact I actually do), rather than a tourist (subtle distinction, I know). But we "have a [regular] waiter" at Galatoire's and he takes care of us every time we go; I think we've only seen a menu once or twice in the 10-12 times we've been there. It's definitely more festive and -- for me -- far more "genuine" than Emeril's in terms of atmosphere.

                    As far as Commander's is concerned, oddly enough we've never been for their "Jazz Brunch" now that I think of it, but we certainly have been there multiple times for lunch and a few times for dinner. It's a "quieter" restaurant than either Emeril's or Galatoire's, and despite the huge size of the place and number of rooms, the food has always been delicious whenever we've been. And desire the 25¢ Martinis at lunch, it's never rowdy or out of control . . . .

                    1. re: zin1953

                      not sure how it came off but im not suggesting the atmosphere is more genuine at Emeril's than Galatoire's. my comment was that, for us, the dinner is better at Emeril's than Commander's. commander's is fun for brunch but dinner never wowed us, and in some cases was an actual disappointment.

                  3. re: bill1jan

                    I currently have a reservation (upstairs I presume?) at Galatoire's on a Sunday evening in June. Would you still recommend as this would be for a family of four with 15 & 18 yr old girls? Other choices are Sylvain & Emeril's.

                    1. re: ceekskat

                      Can the reservation and sit downstairs. That's where the history is.

                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        Will do, thanks. If there is a significant wait, is it possible to put our name down & get a drink nearby? If so, suggestions for a place to get good cocktails & snack where girls wouldn't feel out of place would be appreciated.

                        1. re: ceekskat

                          THey have the new building next door and can send for you although if it were me I'd just wait in the upstairs bar. But if there is a line you need to have someone there. At least, we always do. Arnold has been doing it long enough that he's got it down "pat."