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Trip Report: Bon Ton, Galatoire’s, Mr. B’s

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Trip Report: Bon Ton, Galatoire’s, Mr. B’s

Matt from Michigan | Mar 28, 2005 08:20 PM

Thanks in part to this board, we had a great time in New Orleans last week. It was my second trip to NOLA. The last time was 10 years ago and there were a lot of changes evident. More good restaurants, more hotels and Bourbon Street is more decadent than ever.

Anyhow, got in Wednesday afternoon and proceeded immediately to the Acme for a couple dozen oysters. Was pleased to get the last two seats at the oyster bar. Oysters tasted fresh and cold – no complaints. My friend had a cup of gumbo that I tried and it was actually pretty good.

Dinner that night was at the Bon Ton Café. Interesting place. One relatively small square room with service provided by old fashioned, mostly older waitresses taking your order on “guest checks”. We had the soft-shell crab Alvin and the tenderloin of trout. Both were very good, but I thought the soft shells were better. It’s a good bargain. For around $30 each (not including cocktails, coffee or tip) you get soup (had my first turtle soup) or gumbo, salad, entrée and dessert. We had the bread pudding with whiskey sauce which I liked a lot. Overall, we were very pleased. Its simple food of high quality in an unpretentious atmosphere. I would guess that it was about 90% locals the night we were there. Would gladly go back.

Thursday lunch: Thanks to this board we went to Johnny’s Po Boys in the quarter. Ordered a half shrimp, half oyster po boy. We had planned to just have share one, but it was so good we had to have another. Relatively speaking, maybe the best meal of the trip. After lunch, we stopped just down the block at the Napoleon house for my first Pimm’s Cup. Very tasty & refreshing.

Thursday dinner: Galatoire’s. This was the most anticipated meal of the trip, and maybe not surprisingly, it just could not live up to expectations. We gladly got dressed-up (coat & tie for me, black gown for my friend) and arrived around 6:30 expecting a half hour or so wait. Turns out the dining room (downstairs) was only about 2/3 full and we could have been seated immediately. We asked if we could have a drink upstairs at the bar (no problem of course). Didn’t ask for a particular waiter and were served by Reynaud who was very friendly and helpful. Did not see a lot of table hopping, but everyone seemed to be having a good time (except the woman next to us who I never saw smile the whole night). Started with oysters en brochette and shrimp remoulade. Both were very good, but not spectacular. I was very pleased to hear that pompano was available and we ordered that and trout, both served with crab meat on top. I was somewhat disappointed with the pompano. Not bad at all, but I expected one of the best fish dishes I had ever had and it just didn’t make it. Also had sides or fried eggplant (served with cold béarnaise sauce and powdered sugar (??) and brabant potatoes which were very good. For desert we split a bread pudding and had coffee. I had one sazarec (excellent) with dinner and the tab (before tip) was $122. I think I “get” Galatoire’s, but for me, it just didn’t come through like I had hoped. Oh, by the way, I was dismayed to see 4 people (3 women and one man) wearing jeans. I’m sure its hard to turn away paying customers, but not allowing jeans at a place like Galatoire’s should be a reasonable standard.

Walked around the corner to see Jeremy Davenport at the Ritz Carlton that night. I would highly recommend his show.

Friday morning: late breakfast/early lunch: Camellia grill. Took the street car out to Carrollton avenue. The Camellia grill is right there at the stop. Had about a half hour wait. We had an omelet and a cheeseburger. Both very good, but “the show” put on by the counter guys and cooks is what makes this place special. Man do they make a mess in this place. Watched the excess batter drip out of the waffle maker down onto the handle of the fridge below and continue to a huge puddle on the floor. Unreal. Also had the best pecan pie of the trip here.

Friday dinner: Mr. B’s. We started with the fried oysters and the seafood gumbo. Both were good. I was dying to try the barbecue shrimp entrée and I loved it. The only problem is its served in the shell and is a hassle to peel and is VERY messy. Dipping the hot French bread they serve into the sauce is like heaven though. My friend had an outstanding grilled veal chop. Had another bread pudding and it was the best of the trip. I really liked the atmosphere at Mr. B’s. A very fun, friendly, unpretentious place with great food. I would love to go back and try other items on the menu.

Saturday morning we went to Petunia’s for breakfast. There was a line out the door that barely moved in half an hour. Unfortunately we had to find another spot to eat. I won’t bore you with the details of our very average, very overpriced breakfast at a restaurant at the Royal Sonesta hotel.

We got to the airport with plenty of time to eat some more oysters at the Acme spot there. We walked up and ordered a couple dozen but we were told “no oysters”. Actually, they had plenty of oysters but no shuckers! Unbelievable. We settled for a couple bowls of gumbo.

Overall a great trip – Can’t wait to get back. We had great weather, no rain until the day we left. Thanks to all who helped us make some good choices for our meals.

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