Thank you for the recommendation on Patois. We have not been there and are planning to try it on one of our trips. I have heard really good things...MiLa is on that list too.
My wife and I visited NOLA for a quick trip last weekend. We visit NOLA 2-3 times a year and try to hit some of the highlights in the area. After visiting Brigsten's, Dante's Kitchen, Cochon, Restaurant August, Gallatoire's, among others over the last few years, we were excited to try the "best new restaurant in NOLA" from 2010, La Foret on Saturday night. We also brunched at Mr. B's on Sunday and lunched on Saturday at a little hole in the wall with a nice patio called Green Goddess. Our culinary journey ended at the Bunker Club at the Superdome for game night against the Colts.
The room is beautiful with soaring ceilings, wide planked hardwood floors and floor to ceiling windows. We were seated at nice table near the front of the house, though I don't think there are many bad tables here.
We began our meal by choosing a wine. Unfortunately the sommelier had the night off (on Saturday?) so we were helped by one of the managers. Although he may have been knowledgeable about wine, he clearly was helping us select a wine that he liked rather than listening to how I was describing what I was looking for in a wine and recommending a wine that would fit that spec. I ultimately chose to overrule his recommendation and was pleased with my choice, a half bottle of pinot noir from Oregon. I think the server chose stemware for the chosen wine based on price point rather than wine type as I was offered a small white wine glass, rather than a burgundy glass, when the bottle arrived. I asked our server for the appropriate glass and their original choice was quickly corrected.
For our meals, I chose the quail to begin and the duck for my main course. My wife had the foie gras and the scallops with some sort of pesto, I think, for her main. The night began with an amuse-bouche consisting of two dishes, a rabbit rillette and warm tomato bisque. The rillette needed salt in the worst way and was dull. The bisque was delicious and well balanced with what seemed like a touch of cayenne to offset the natural sugars and acidity of the tomato.
The quail was the highlight of my meal. I am forgetting the accompaniment, which is too bad, but I remember being very pleased with the flavor and it paired beautifully with my wine. The duck was served with spaetzle and was good, if typical in preparation. I asked for duck to be served medium rare, but it came out on the raw side of rare, which was not ideal. I did not send it back because we had already waited at least 45 minutes between the appetizer and the main course, another example of the choppy service.
My wife's foie gras was served with a cocoa gastrique and a fig mostarda on a pain perdu. It sounded amazing, but tasted like nothing special. I thought the price point of $19 was more in keeping with Boston than New Orleans given the portion size was very small. Her scallops were flawlessly cooked and were 5 in number. My bite of her scallops was very good, but she became bored with the dish halfway through it.
All in all, it was a pleasant evening out but La Foret did not live up to the hype for me.
We visited Mr. B's on Sunday for brunch at noon. The place was packed but we managed to get a table after a 25 minute wait. The room was full of character and Saints jerseys. Our son (3 years old) joined us and we were seated towards the rear of the restaurant on the bar side (near the jazz band set up) in a comfortable little nook.
We started with the fried oysters and the fried livers. The oysters (6) came out of the half shell with what I think was a type of hollandaise sauce. These were delicious and perfectly seasoned. The hollandaise was spot-on and the lemon in it complimented the savoriness of the oysters wonderfully. The hollandaise also contained bacon and horseradish, according to the menu, but I only tasted the bacon. All together, this dish was a success.
The livers were served with a pepper jelly and these were also wonderfully seasoned and perfectly prepared. The livers were accompanied with brioche toast points, but these were beside the point and went uneaten.
For our mains, we agreed to share the BBQ shrimp and the blackened red fish with grits. The shrimp was superlative, if very messy. My wife had the unenviable task of shelling the shrimp, wearing the bib! I watched and ate my red fish before trading with her. My red fish was ok, but needed more flavor and heat. It was cooked perfectly. The grits were light and fluffy in a way that it seems only great kitchens in the south achieve; I was impressed, but overall the red fish was the weakest dish of the meal given the lack of flavor for the fish.
The BBQ shrimp lived up to its billing as one of the best dishes in all of NOLA. We asked for a spoon so as not to miss the spicy, rich (tomato?) sauce in which the shrimp were swimming. The sauce was the true star of the dish and superbly seasoned.
I have not yet mentioned service, but at its best service is noteworthy only for its unobtrusive anticipation of your needs. Mr B's tag-team server approach was flawless and the tempo of the meal was spot on. I would recommend Mr. B's heartily for brunch.
I had a nice Belgian styled beer from California called Brother Thelonius, which was terrific. We started with a sweet potato soup with local boudin, cocunut milk and substantial black pepper. I've had better boudin, but, overall, the soup was excellent and the highlight of the meal for both of us. For our mains, we ordered the pressed crab sandwich, the shrimp and pork belly bahn mi and the pork belly and red eye gravy. The two sandwiches were each served with an arugula salad topped with green goddess dressing. The salad was nice but needed more dressing. The sandwiches were both ok, but nothing to write home about. Each of them lacked flavor, which was especially surprising for the bahn mi. Our son got the winner with the pork belly dish. The gravy was tasty!
The service was relaxed, which was ok for us, but if you're in search of a quick bite, this is not the place for you.
Bunker Club at the Superdome
We return to NOLA post-Thanksgiving and are building an itinerary now. We are visiting Boucherie, Clancy's and Cochon (repeat) and Central Grocery for muffalettas (repeat). Any other suggestions or replacements??
I should add that I'm going to Market tonight for the first time. I had a problem overcoming my disdain for W Hotels and the undeserved attitude in spite of JG's reputation. Perhaps Market will become my new go to place.
I would suggest Troquet if you're still looking for a convenient pre theater meal. Troquet is my go to option over there and I think it has a terrific wine program that offers dozens of by the glass options. I was there recently and had a Sauternes with a little frizzante which is not supposed to happen, but that was my first experience with a bad glass of wine there. The food is consistently very good, if not superlative. And, I like the upstairs room
Davis, yes, I will be there for the 8:30 seating....and for elvisahmed I will share my thoughts on the beverage pairing. I think there is still availability for this seating by the way
bear's post on Parish and PICCO are spot on; great spots for good food and kid-friendly atmosphere...I would add a couple more to the list as a South End resident and parent of a 3 year old...all of these are reasonably convenient for you
Myers and Chang has great contemporary version of dim sum and is a good lunch spot with kids....I've never had a bad meal or experience here...the Asian pickles are always a hit with my son (and us), Tiger Tears are great, grilled octopus is great and the mussels are great; I'm wild about the bahn mi sandwich that they do with the soy glazed bacon and fried egg. Oh, I almost forgot the brussel sprouts, which are absolutely the best I've ever eaten and terrific.
Mistral has a very nice brunch and is welcoming of children...I'm not wild about Mistral for dinner, but I think they nail it for brunch and the room is beautiful in the day time...I love the mushroom, spinach and gruyere frittata and the muffins they serve pre-meal are outstanding.
Giacomo's in the South End accepts reservations and is only open for dinner (cash only); it is loud, small, bustling and very good Italian for not much money; you will need to cab it here. We usually order the specials here because they are usually terrific.
Finally, a plug for the Gallows...super friendly spot and I have been consistently impressed with the food. Great cocktails, beers and a fun atmosphere. The pickles, Scotch egg and blue cheese burger are standouts to me.
I'd suggest reservations for all of these places because they accept them and at times there will be a lengthy wait for all of them.
I'm going next week on Wednesday and just received my golden ticket in the mail today, so, yes, you will have a nice souvenir...I'm even more excited after reading this thread...