My wife and i spent 4 great days in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago. It was our second visit. I was lurking on this board for a long time before going and for the most part chose the restaurants and in some cases the dishes based on the very helpful comments on this Board. Here is a summary of the experience.
On day 1 we arrived and checked into the Hotel and went straight to Johnnys for Poboy sandwhiches just as we did the first time around. I had the shrimp. My wife had the "Johnny's Special." The shrimp were not as plentiful as last year and were tough. My wifes sandwich was a disaster. The bun literally disintegrated the minute she picked it up. We ate what we could then left. Next time we will eat Po-boys elsewhere.
Dinner that night was at KPauls and it was outstanding. The fried oyster appetizer was one of the best dishes i have ever had. My main was a soft shell crab and again it was seasoned and cooked perfectly. My wife enjoyed her salad which had a delicious blue cheese dressing. Her main was panneed chicken with Jambalaya both of which i tasted and were very good. We enjoy well seasoned food and this place does it perfectly. We will go to KPauls next time we visit this great city.
We were staying in the central business district. The hotel recommended a breakfast place across the street from the La Quinta hotel. I believe it is called "Commerce". A nice little diner that does basic breakfast well with huge portions and inexpensive prices. i highly recomend it.
Lunch was a shared half of a Central Grocery Mulfalletta. It was delicious. A half sandwich was plenty for both of us. Their olive salad is delicious. We purchased a jar to bring home with us. We went back a second time during the trip. The service is fast but i agree with the comments on several posts about the unfriendliness of the counter staff.
Dinner the second night was at Emerils. As far as the "restaurant experience" goes this was the best.. The service was flawless. The space is well done and we had a great table. My wife had an appetizer of pasta with smoked mushrooms which she said was her favorite dish of the trip. Her main was a confit chicken which was good but not great (I think she was still savoring the pasta). i had the calamari app which was ok and the fried drum with an andouille sausage breading which was very good.The fish was perfectly cooked. This place deserves all the accolades that it gets.
The next day we had breakfast at the restaurant at the Loews hotel. I do not recall the name. We had pain pur du, the New Orleans take on French Toast. Delicous.
On our last visit we tried Cafe Dumonde and were unimpressed. The beignets tasted like they were fried in old oil and the coffee was not all that good either. Our friends told us we must have gone on a bad day and urged us to give it a second try. We did and it was only marginally better. There are some things that i just dont get and this is one of them. It must be me beause there were people lined out the door waiting to get in.
Dinner on the third night was at Mr. B'S in the FQ. The dishes we chose were entirely based on the recomendations on this board. Appetizers were duck confit springrolls and gumbo yaya both of which wereoutstanding. I had the bbq shrimp which were exactly as described by other on this board and my wife had a veal tenderloin dish which was well seasoned and extremely tender. The service was fantastic as was the food. Not only will we go back but we will order the same dishes all over again.
Our next breakfast was at Mina's Palace which is just behind the Mariott in the FQ. Another diner type place that does basic breakfasts well.
Our final dinner was at Herbsaint. This place gets much praise on this board and elsewhere. The food is quite good but the evening was a major disappointment. I should mention that i made dinner reservations at this place a month in advance, as i did with all the others. I also confirmed the reservation when we arrived in NOLA. We arrived on time. The table we were given was awful.Just inside the front door and probably a foot or so away from the hostess station. It was like eating dinner in the middle of a busy airport terminal with people (customers and staff) constantly brushing by us. As i noted above the food was very good. We had a short rib appetizer which was melt in your mouth tender and an okay salad. My wife had duck confit which was cooked perfectly and i had the pork belly main which again was yery tender and full of good flavor. The service was not up to standard of what we experienced at KPauls Mr. B's or (especially) Emerils. Our wine glasses stayed empty for long periods of time and when we would order another glass it would be slow in coming. This normally would not be a big deal given the quality of the food but when you combine that with what can only be descibed as one of the worst tables in any restaurant I have ever eaten in, it make for a major disappontment. I would not go back.
We took in Happy Hour a couple of times at Luke the John Besh restaurant in the Hilton. Excellent homemade duck and rabbit pates and pork rillets with half price drinks. Would definately try this place for lunch or dinner the next time around.
We also found time to take a demonstration cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. Both of us really enjoyed. the Chef "Big Kevin" was very entertaining and we got to eat the jambalaya, gumbo and bread pudding that he made. Great fun and great value.
My thanks to all of the people who post on this board. I hope the comments above help others with their "CHOW" choices.
800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130
701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130