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Aug 13, 2014 01:58 PM

High End Dining with Great Wine

Headed to New Orleans on a last minute end of summer vacation for four days. Been a while since I've been in town with any real leisure dining time. What are the best local choices for good higher end dining with a really great wine list? No strong preferences on the wine list, but all other things being equal, I'd really like good aged red Burgundies or other French wines? Sweet spot on the wines would be $150 for more recent vintages on up to $400 or 500 range, barring something really extraordinary.

Food preferences tend toward seasonal, ingredient driven. European influences are great, but not essential. Asian influence fine, as are local cuisine. But wine quality is as important as the food. Want top notch quality in both.

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  1. R'evolution has a great wine list. See -- and click on the link to the online list.

    August, also has a fine albeit pricey wine list, but no online link to it.

    Bayona's list, too, rarely disappoints -- see!wine/c16fk and then click on the link -- and is relatively reasonable (for some reason, red burgundy is shown *after* Spain and Italy, away from the rest of the French wines; don't ask).

    These three, off the top of my head, are where I'd go . . .

    2 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      August has a seasonal, ingredient driven menu. Bayona's changes daily as does G.W. Fins and Coquette. R'evolution's menu is essentially stagnant.

      1. re: JazzyB

        And all three -- or five, I suppose -- are very, very good-to-excellent, though I don't put Coquette in the same league, based upon wine list and ambiance (i.e.: I don't consider Coquette to be "higher end dining with a really great wine list," as the OP set forth in the initial post, but I really enjoy dining at Coquette¹).

        G.W. Fins works in terms of cuisine, and -- as reminded below -- Clancy's works on all counts.

        As far as R'evolution's menu being "essentially stagnant," that may be true, but I haven't dined there enough yet to be tired of their offerings . . . .

        While it *is* true that Bayona's menu changes daily, that's only on one side of it; the other side (right?) is composed of the "classics" for which Bayona (and Susan Spicer) has become famous.

        My problems with August have nothing to do with the food on the plate -- which, you're quite right, *is* seasonally driven -- or with the wines on their list, but the past two times I've dined there, service issues have reared their ugly head. That's a problem for a high-end, "destination/special occasion" restaurant.

        ¹ More often than not, I'm there with a group of 8-10 for dinner and we're upstairs. It's a different ambiance than when I'm there with my wife, or with another couple, and we're seated downstairs (FWIW).

    2. I think Clancy's has a great wine list.

      1 Reply
      1. Oh wow. If you want a really special meal with a great wine list, you could go to R'evolution, spend a fortune, and eat with tourists. Or you could venture out of the French Quarter just a bit and go to either Gautreau's or Lilette. Both places have great food and good wine lists. The menus are seasonal but not very Asian influenced. Both have modern creole food. Both are rather social scenes in the city and are dressy. I do love Clancy's and it is one of my favorite restaurants in town but it is extraordinarily loud. Usually tables are filled with big boozy groups and it gets louder by the cocktail. Still, it's an institution.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mikey

          I'd do Herbsaint to satisfy the ingredient-driven part of what you're looking for, plus Joe has put together a diverse list featuring red burgundies. If you want older vintages, with Brennan's in limbo, perhaps you can contact Antoine's to see what their list is like these days. If it suits you, go for oysters Foch and a filet with marchand du vin sauce, not the best the city has to offer, but the wine part of your quest could be satisfied.

          1. re: mikey

            Hmmm . . . random thoughts. YMMV.

            -- Each time I've been to R'evolution, I'd say that the room was equally mixed between locals and tourists. That said, it *is* in the Quarter, and the environment is VERY different once your step outside . . .

            -- I used to love Lilette, but have been disappointed in the food on our last two visits. I wasn't all that impressed by the wine list, either, but a) that can vary by one's experience, and b) perhaps they've improved it since I was last there.

            -- Finding wonderful food in New Orleans is never a problem. It's finding a great wine list that poses more of a challenge . . .

            1. re: zin1953

              I agree zin. After I posted my comment, I thought about it for a second and concluded, there really aren't many restaurants with a wine list that excites.

          2. How's the list at Galatoires's? I just glanced through it as I wasn't drinking wine the night I was there, but it seemed pretty deep and they've gotten Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence for several years.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sunnyside

              The previous "wine guy" built up a nice list, but it is weighted to high-dollar wines. If you have the $ to spend, back-vintages wines like Clos St. Hune are there to enjoy. I usually just bring my own wine these days and pay the corkage.

              1. re: sunnyside

                It went from disappointing and predictable, to having some interesting but high-priced stuff . . . while keeping the disappointing and predictable offerings. Not being a local, I find something by the glass or bottle I can deal with, but I've never considered Gallatoire's as a place to go for wine.

                1. re: zin1953

                  Just found this thread but thought I would chime in. IMO Clancy's has a great wine list: nice selection of small Champagne houses; lots of high quality Cali Cabs from the mid 90's (Montelena; Pahlmeyer); good selection of Ch. de Pape, plus I love the food. Bayona also has a very impressive wine list. Had a Sagrantino from Paolo Bea in Umbria (just featured in Saveur); a Mann Riesling Schlossberg that was beautiful; and a 1994 Dow's Port. How many places have such an eclectic selection of fine wines?