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Dragos in New Orleans

If it WAS a practical joke, they're sure getting some good mileage out of it. 3 years and counting!

Aug 27, 2011
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

"Small Plates Crawl" Solo diner in NOLA/November 2011

For the next leg of that crawl, I'd send you to the food bar at NOLA for stuffed chicken wings with Hoisin sauce. I'll let the next poster take you from there.

For an entirely different crawl, try heading to the CBD and Warehouse District. August for Crabmeat Gnocchi, Mike's on the Avenue for Barbecue Oysters and/or Blackened Tuna Napoleon, Herbsaint for the any of the beef short rib, shrimp and grits or gnocchi (again) with pancetta and mushrooms. A newer place I like is Tomas (formerly Tomasito's) where they make some of the best chicken flautas I've ever ever tasted.

Have fun!

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Herbsaint
701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

Aug 23, 2011
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

What is the best Coolinary menu in the FQ right now?

Pelican Club. I never miss it. That is one outstanding value. The menu at Meson 923 looks interesting too, but I have not eaten there.

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Pelican Club Restaurant & Bar
312 Exchange Alley, New Orleans, LA 70130

Aug 22, 2011
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Dragos in New Orleans

Yep. Just like they do them at the Hilton. I can't detect a difference. Somebody brought Bill the wrong dish. With all the things that went wrong during that meal, I'm not surprised.

Aug 22, 2011
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Weekend in Covington

Good call on Columbia Street Tap Room for lunch or a casual dinner. Stick with the blackboard specials, as opposed to the regular menu. That's where the best and freshest stuff is.

Cafe Lynn is a good, but not quite great, continental French restaurant in an old Burger King. (I kid you not). I've had some excellent dishes there, but I don't think their consistency has quite caught up with the price tag yet. I've had best results with fish there.

One more: Thai Thai on Hwy 190 (the restaurant in the A-frame) is the best Thai restaurant in the New Orleans area, IMO, and as good as I've had anywhere.

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Cafe Lynn
3051 E Causeway Approach, Mandeville, LA 70448

Jul 09, 2011
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Weekend in Covington

I agree with all of the above (especially Del Porto) and will add Nuvolari's and Juniper to the dinner mix. Both are excellent restaurants in Old Mandeville. Juniper has a creative creole menu in a quaint old cottage. Nuvolari's has an extensive creole Italian menu and a great bar.

For a weekend lunch/brunch, you really should check out the Lake House, also in Mandeville. Very good food in a historic building with an incredible view of Lake Pontchartrain.

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Del Porto Restaurant
501 E Boston St, Covington, LA 70433

Jul 09, 2011
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Brigtsen's or K-Paul's?

You definitely can't go wrong either way, but I prefer Brigsten's. I think the quality is a bit more consistent there with Frank in the kitchen most every night. The fact that you're looking for something "unmistakably New Orleans" tends to make me lean towards Brigsten's too. To me, Brigsten's epitmomizes fine contemporary New Orleans cuisine. All the traditional elements are there, but many dishes are updated in interesting ways. Two highlights are the duck and "The Shell Beach Diet" which is Brigsten's spin on the traditional seafood platter.

K-Paul's menu is more rooted in Louisiana country-cajun style, with fewer creole elements. The blackened tuna (if available) is not to be missed.

If it matters to you, you might find K-Paul's to be a touch less awkward if you're dining alone. When I'm by myself, I tend to prefer a louder, bustling restaurant (K-Paul's), to a more intimate experience (Brigsten's). However, Marna will certainly make you feel right at home at Brigsten's, so it's more a matter of preference.

Enjoy your brief stay in New Orleans!

Jul 04, 2011
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Visiting over Mardi Gras - please critique the list.

Purely for cuisine, I'd have to give the slight edge to NOLA. For everything else (tradition, ambience, wow factor), I'd go with Antoines. My rec is Antoine's. For best results, plan on a leisurely meal. Nobody's in a hurry there.

Jan 28, 2010
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Where to eat coming into town for three days only please help.

Lots of great responses here. I'll second Pelican Club for the romantic dinner (impeccable food and service, classic room) and also offer one more alternative: Bombay Club. It can get a bit loud with the live piano/singing, but the room and beautiful old bar make for a romantic, retroish setting. Small menu, but it covers all the contemporary creole bases extremely well.

Jan 28, 2010
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Abita Springs/Mandeville Area Sing out!!

Yes, and everything I've bought has been really good. The restaurant is in Lacombe. 27491 U.S. 190. Hint: order less than you think you want. The portions are huge!

Jan 28, 2010
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Abita Springs/Mandeville Area Sing out!!

Gio's has the best Iasagna around, IMO. I also love the "elephant ear", veal pounded flat and sauted parmesan style. Yum! Great restaurant. More classic neopolitan than typical local creole/italian, though. For classic creole/italian on the north shore, Sal and Judy's is king.

Jan 28, 2010
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Abita Springs/Mandeville Area Sing out!!

Nuvolari's in old Mandeville. Contemporary Creole/Italian. Really good looking place. Extensive menu. Try the Snails 'n Tails (escargot & crawfish) appetizer and any of their redfish dishes.

Jan 26, 2010
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Resturants to avoid in the French Quarter?

Yes. The building that houses Pierre Maspero's was the old slave exchange. A good friend of mine from Tulane did his honors thesis on the economics of the slave trade, looking at extensive records of the auctions held there.

Jan 26, 2010
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Resturants to avoid in the French Quarter?

Pierre Maspero's is no good at all, but I always hate to tell people that because they also end up avoiding Cafe Maspero (on Decatur), which serves surprisingly good, cheap poboys. So remember, Pierre = bad, Cafe = good.

Jan 26, 2010
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

French Quarter Oyster Crawl...this weekend!

The different texture in Antoine's version (the orginal) would be from the lack of spinach.

Jan 26, 2010
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Resturants to avoid in the French Quarter?

"There are several, but fewer than the ones to avoid."

That's hyperbole, right? If not, here's an abridged list of excellent FQ restaurants off the top of my head: Antoines, Arnaud's, Galatoires, NOLA, Stella, Bayona, Pelican Club, Bombay Club, Irene's, Le Meritage, Muriels, Broussard's, Cafe Giovanni, GW Fins, Bourbon House, Palace Cafe, Iris (haven't eaten there since they moved, but was delicious uptown), Mr. B's, K-Paul's (if you love cajun) and Tujague's (maybe not up to the standard of the rest of this list, but a personal favorite). I'd send you to any one of those restaurants with confidence that you'd enjoy a great meal. I'm sure I've forgotten some more, and I left off some generally good places like Bacco or Redfish Grill that just don't do it for me personally.

I think the FQ's bad rep with some is due to the fact that some of the worst restaurants occupy some of the most visible/trafficked real estate, thereby luring and disappointing lots of customers.

Speaking to the original question, I'd avoid Pere Antoine's, Ralph & Kacoo's, Felix's (not bad, just not close to worth the wait/hassle), and Landry's (or any other chain). I agree with the poster who recommended avoiding anything around Jackson Square other than Muriel's and Stanley with one caveat: Gumbo Shop is pretty good FOR GUMBO ONLY. I love Acme, but would never wait in a long line for their oysters when you can just walk a block, belly right up to the oyster bar at Bourbon House and dig in. Around here at this time of year, just about EVERYBODY'S oysters are good!

Someone mentioned that Acme's chargrilled oysters are the best. They're certainly good, (I enjoyed some last night, in fact) but the originals at Drago's are unequivocally the best. Worth the walk to the Hilton. On the way there (or back), grab a drink at the Swizzle Stick Bar in the Loew's hotel. Best mixologists I've encountered anywhere.

Jan 26, 2010
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

is brennan's for brunch overrated?

You nailed it wondering if Brennan's and Commander's had improved since Katrina. They have.

There are few restaurants in N.O. that didn't change significantly post-Katrina. I can't fully explain it. Of course, there was an inevitable turnover of personnel. Many restaurants also took the opportunity to renew themselves or change direction. Additionally, there was a notable shift in attitude among many restaurateurs, who seemed to regain an appreciation for the local customer base, whom they now needed to survive.

Commander's is certainly one of the restaurants that improved post-Katrina. The service is once again top notch, and the cooking is probably as adventurous as it's been since the 80's and early 90's. Some traditionalists don't like the renovations, but I think it looks wonderful too. The restaurant may be as good as it's ever been. Brennan's is better too, but without so many wholesale changes. Just an overall improvement in consistency.

It might be time to give these two another try.

Jan 24, 2010
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

French Quarter - A culinary journey

Not much to add to the sound advice you've received so far except (especially since the subject of turtle soup has come up), breakfast at Brennan's. It's a tradition for a reason, and the turtle soup is the best anywhere.

Jan 24, 2010
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

What restaurant has your favorite duck?

Brigsten's - as good as it gets. Pelican Club - the duck trio thing they do (usually includes breast, confit and something else) is delicious!

Jan 24, 2010
Jeff_NO in New Orleans

Romantic restaurant in Quarter

For a more lively, but still quite romantic atmosphere and delicious food, I'd go with Bombay Club. Upscale, contemporary creole menu, great bar and live piano. It can get a bit loud near the "stage".

Oct 08, 2009
Jeff_NO in New Orleans