I'm not a big seafood fan, so my usual "just landed and starving" stop is Voodoo BBQ, a local chain, under 2 miles away from MSY on Airline Hwy. I enjoy their chicken and andouille gumbo, and they serve Abita (a local brew.)
We had a fabulous meal at Julian Serrano this weekend. The restaurant was fairly empty when we arrived for our 7pm Saturday night dinner reservations, however it was full when we left around 8:30p.
Our waiter advised us to order 2-3 dishes per person. We ended up with 6 and were pleasantly full but not stuffed. He asked if he should space out the dishes, which we happily agreed to. Here's a rundown of our meal in the order presented:
Service was attentive but unobtrusive. Noise level was very reasonable, had no trouble talking to my date. The table for 2 was very long, so I felt far away from dining companion...I later saw some couples turning the table around so that they ate side by side...I wish I had thought of this (or had it offered to us) at the beginning of the meal. My boyfriend is in the restaurant business and so is pretty critical of most places we dine; even he was thoroughly impressed by our experience at JS.
I have not tried Jaleo but HIGHLY recommend JS.