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4 day August Trip Report: NorCal chowhounds reporting in

I had to smile that the best thing at a "meatery" was shell fish!

Nice review with a good spread of restaurants. There is a vast difference between stone ground grits and instant grits. And as we point out, shrimp and grits is a Carolina dish, not a Louisiana dish. Although I grew up on cornmeal in the bowl and fried, I've never had shrimp and grits.

Crabs at my north shore source are plentiful. They are small but reasonably priced. No.1s are rare.

1 day ago
collardman in New Orleans

Help! 2 dinners + 2 lunches for a group of 35!

First, do you expect to sit 35 together. Even at separate tables restaurants are going to need special planning for a kitchen to take on 35 at a time.

My first step would be to make some calls and see who can take you and what their cost will be. You may not have the spread of choices you may want both because of space and cost. You are here in peak season.

I have set up dinners for 15-25 (separate tables) at a few places but two are in the burbs, one is gone, and the only one that fits you was NOLA.

(For others information the Wine Room at Tableau, and at Brennans, are very nice places for private dinner meetings but the max at both is 16. Tableau's food was much better than Brennans, but both were a restricted menu)

Aug 26, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Does your Chicken fall to pieces

Restaurant Depot is sorta a Sam's for restaurants, not necessarily for lazy chefs. My guess is that man yof th elocal restaurants use it for at least some of their supplies. I could go crazy in the fish/shellfish cooler room. Wear a coat when you go in, even though it is 95 degrees outside. Although it is members only.

Aug 25, 2015
collardman in New Orleans


What do you want? Variations on brunch like Atchafalaya or standards?

If you want off the standard track there is Feelings, which will be better when things cool and you can use the patio. And yesterday I was with a large group at Irish House. Every plate got cleaned and the Bloody Mary experts raved on the version they got A++. However, my brandy milk punch got a C.

Aug 24, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Steamed Blue Crab

Plenty of places with boiled crab. I don't know who steams crab but there is probably someone.

Aug 23, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Mosca's and others

Since you haven't had an answer...
I can't tell you first hand about Mosca's. In converstions with a few that have been there in the past few years it is still the same place for good helpings of red gravy and garlic, a la historic New Orleans red gravy restaurants.

New Orleans has moved on to a number of good Italian restaurants with varied regional cooking so the Mosca's, Venetia's, etc. don't get heard from. But they are still good basic home cooking.

Your other selections are good.

Aug 23, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Restaurants that set the standard for Creole dishes

I forgot to comment on boudin. As Hazelhurst mentioned, you can't find really good links in town. But many restaurants now have boudin balls and their contents can vary widely from pure boudin to who knows what else included in the name of fusion..

Aug 23, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Restaurants that set the standard for Creole dishes

It should have been stated that it was not a Creole dish. Shrimp and grits are not New Orleans or even Louisiana, but ia a Lowcountry Carolina dish, but grillades and grits are.

There source shouldn't stop you from eating any of them.

Mandina's also has good turtle soup. I had it at Brennan's last week and didn't care for it. Thick, thick heavy roux.

Most fine dining restaurants that serve gumbo have good gumbo's but there are too many variations to say which is best. It's a personal preference thing.

Bon Ton for etouffe and other Creole dishes.

Aug 23, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Trying to figure out which restaurant we ate at...

My experience at Blue Crab was mediocre. Second hand reviews have been high and low.
If you want the view try one. If you are after good seafood stay in town, or for mom n pop near the lake Deanies in Bucktown

Aug 21, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

NOLA Food Itinerary

It's more than cold water. Last month we spent a week in Boston and ate New England oysters about every other day. There were usually a choice of about 4-5 varieties (localities)and they were usually $2.50-$3.50 per oyster.

They were wonderful, flavorful, salty and cold. Then on our last night my wife got food poisoning (I didn't eat oysters that night).

There is always a risk. My last time was back in The Pearl days but it wasn't from the Pearl but from a place in the FQ that I no longer remember. Seems like it was some place like where Mena's is.

Aug 19, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Current Top Five

After several visits, lunch and dinner, I have no problem recommending La Petit Grocery. Top 5? Maybe not, but I'm never sure what my top five are. It depends on what I want to eat or where I want to eat.

It's the advantage of being surrounded by so many good choices. Remember that there are some cities, including New Orleans, where restaurant No.20 can better than the the best restaurant in other cities.

Aug 15, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Long shot: gumbo without pork

If you check seafood gumbo in various cookbooks (and I mean the local region and not North Dakota seafood gumbo)it is suprising how many have sausage or tasso to add depth/smoke.

Aug 14, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Seafood in September?

The commercial (and recreational) fishing for grouper varies by location and type grouper. It is difficult to answer your question because of all the types of fish in FL, both Gulf side and Atlantic side.

Grouper fishing on the Atlantic side is closed until January 1, 2016 but the Gulf side may be open.

Your menu may list grouper "when available" or "at market price", both indicators of availibility.

Aug 12, 2015
collardman in Florida

Long shot: gumbo without pork

The DC gumbo z'herbs served on Maundy Thursday is loaded with pork and is the famous one. But there may be a version served during lent that is meatless, or is a seafood/greens blend.

Since you aren't visiting during Lent we can't have you be our Friday in Lent tester. If you like your September visit return. You know you won't half touch all the possibilities in your first visit.

Aug 12, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Bourbon House?

I faintly remember a long ago comment from someone that it was less than what they expected. I think it is thought of as the least of the Brennan empire.

There are so many really good places for seafood that Bourbon House would be way down the list.Just look at past threads for good restaurants and most of them will have good seafood dishes.

Conversely, there are very few actual Cajun restaurants in N.O. although you my find a Cajun-y dish at a number of places. The old line places are more French and/or Creole.

If you are looking for a specific dish or two, pass that on and we can sharpen your aim.

Aug 10, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Long shot: gumbo without pork

Gumbo Shop has z'herbs as an app but also has seafood gumbo without sausage. I believe some of the restaurants that serve seafood gumbos do not add sausage, but you would have to check.

Of the name restaurants that serve gumbo it is usually under apps as "gumbo of the day" so you would again have to check to see if it is the usual chicken/andouille or something without sausage.

Aug 10, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

ISO delicious, inexpensive étouffée in FQ.

Crawfish etouffee at Bon Ton is $25. I also found it at Deanies for $18. Other possible places like Bourne, Grand Isle and Red Fish Grill don't show it on the menu.

If you can afford it try Bon Ton. I think it would be a much better experience than Deanies. Deanies atmosphere is a bit like a seafood Shoneys, but the food is OK, usually satifying but not notable.

Aug 09, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Sexy and Hip Girls coming from California looking for great food and great vibe..

New Orleans is a great place for hip people. You will return home with increased hips.

Nothing on Antoine's Restaurant

Nicely put. I agree that a meal in the restaurant and a meal in a private room are two different experiences. Also, I would not necessarily go for the food, but as I have stated some time ago, sometimes a restaurant outing is about more than the just the food.

Aug 02, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

2015 Turtle Soup


Jul 28, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

2015 Turtle Soup

Your's is a good list. I might add Ralph's on the Park. The old Sand's recipe was great but I think the newer iteration is a bit different.

After having several versions with ground meat (I think SYC was the last I tried) I like chunk better. With ground you probably end up with more meat but I don't like the texture as well.

But what a great and fun quest.

Jul 27, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

3 Night Anniversary Trip in August

Of the three given I'd pick Brigtsen's for an anniversary. The other two are good on food but not as good on atmosphere for an anniversary. Of the bigger list I might choose La Petite Grocery for the anniversary (or as noted Coquette).

For dim and quiet it might be MiLa. However, the husband half of the husband/wife chef/owners has gone to Brennan's and I haven't heard anything since that change.

Jul 17, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Dinner Reservations

Agree with others. Everything on your list is at least five years old, most beyond 10. There have been some great additions in just the last three years, or even last 18 months.

You can work Bywater, OC Haley and even Magazine street for new choices.

Jul 13, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

New Orleans end of June Trip report

Nice commentary. I held a small meeting at Q&C some years back. I'm glad it is still a nice place. I'll have to keep it in mind for guests.

Jul 12, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Week in NOLA 7/17

just for an experiment also get a bit of andouille from the other Jacobs and from Bailey's.

Jul 08, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Crawfish broil? (plus comments on food itinerary)

Superior Seafood is not bad. There are some better seafood-centric places but don't be scared off if that's where everyone want to go.

You have been given a bunch of good choices. I'll add that for the Running of the Bulls there are no accesible balconies that I can think of on the route but there are restaurants in the area. The in-Famous Mother's is a choice for breakfast but it will probably be impossible to get in. Grand Isle is there for a seafood lunch, or if you are a bit late there are several good local seafood places in Kenner convenient to the airport.

FWIW At our local fishmonger boiled No.1 crabs are $5 a piece. Pretty steep prices. I did buy crawfish about 10 days ago and they were either small or large and hard shelled. But did taste good.

Jul 06, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Needing to trim down my list... what should I remove or add?

Blumie had my intention correct.

Simply, I go to some restaurants because I want to go to that restaurant. It is the "night out" experience I'm after with the food being secondary.

I would not necessarily expect a visitor to do that but there are some N.O. places that are just fun and interesting to visit, with decent food being the excuse.

Galatoire's might be a good example. And CP, with it's good food, is inhanced by where you sit. One doesn't find many places with an interior like Casamentos. And if Kolb's was still around I would probably be telling visitors to go there for a touch of old N.O., not to satisfy a check off list.

Living here I can go for fun or go for food but I realize that is not true for most who come here for guidance.

I completly agree with you comments on having to have multiple visits to a restaurant before commenting. Even after repeated visits to several very well regarded places in N.O. I have refrained from giving my views as everyone likes the places except me, so it must be me.

A group had dinner at Casa Borrgas last week. A woman to my right and another woman to my left both ordered the fish tacos. One loved them and cleaned her plate the other thought they were terrible.

Yes, reviews are often subjective.

(Overall concensus on the place, with me having been there for a lunch and a dinner, is that it is pretty good)

Jul 04, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Needing to trim down my list... what should I remove or add?

You don't go to Casamento's because it is the best, you go there because it is Casamento's. This covers many of the old school places, even the ones you don't hear much about like Mosca's and Pascale Manale's.

If you are here for the food you skip them. If you are here for New Orleans it's nice to hit one upon occasion.

Jul 03, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Walking and snacking, Uptown and beyond?

I thought Dat Dog was good but not at its per bite cost.

Jul 01, 2015
collardman in New Orleans

Monday apps and drinks

Agree Borgne is good but not to travel all the way from the River to the Dome. Grand Isle has had good raw oysters at every one of about 8 lunches there except for one when they needed sauce help, and it is very close to your hotel.

Jul 01, 2015
collardman in New Orleans