Just got back from a lovely two days of eating in New Orleans. First things first - thank you for the recommendations NO chowhounders. You pointed me to some pretty fantastic places.
Brigtsens on Thursday Night - Amazing, amazing, amazing. Our best meal of the trip. We started with three appetizers (served one at a time) - gumbo made with file, fried soft shell crab in muinerre (sp?) sauce, and fried rabbit tenderloin in a mustard sauce. The gumbo was the best I've ever had - the file gave the soup a deep, earthy flavor and the roux was divine. The soft shell crab was perfectly fried and the muinerre sauce was rich in flavor but with a tangy kick (which we later learned from Mr. Brigtsens was Lee & Perrins sauce!). The rabbit was quite good, but was the less stellar of the three appetizers. My beau had the roasted duck from his entree. When the duck arrived, he tapped the perfectly charred skin and it gave a nice thud, foreshadowing a juicy, perfectly roasted half duck surrounded by crispy skin. I had the seafood platter and it is indeed what everyone says - who knew so many delicious tasting things could be crammed onto one plate. We almost declined to order dessert, but our server chided and said "After a meal like that, you gotta have some dessert." So we had a trio of homemade ice creams - peanut butter & chocolate chip ice cream, coconut and pecan ice cream, and coconut sorbet. We literally licked the bowl clean. The atmosphere was so homey and comfortable and the service is excellent. We felt taken care of and tended to - Mr. Brigsten came out midway through and just chatted with us like we were regulars. This restaurant is a gem - I would return to New Orleans just to eat here.
Parisols on Friday Afternoon - One of the servers from Brigtsens recommended this place and she was right on the money. A perfect place for lunch. We ordered the roast beef po'boy with gravy and the friend catfish po-boy and split an order of the fried onion rings. WOW - both sandwiches were awesome. The roast beef was tender and succulent and the gravy brought the different textures and flavors of the bread, tomato, lettuce, and beef together. The catfish was generous and perfectly fried. We washed down the sandwiches and onion rings with iced tea and beer and left with huge grins on our faces.
Bayona on Friday Night - I regret to report that our experience was pretty disappointing. The service was completely off - our first course came before the sommelier had a chance to recommend a wine and during the entire meal, everything the server and runners did felt rushed and harried. The food was also off - nothing was bad, but nothing was fantastic either. We started with the seared scallops in a tomato broth/sauce. The scallops were nicely seared but the sauce was much too acidic and tasted more like it was composed of vinegar rather than cooked down tomatoes. The second course was good - pork rilletes and pork pate. Both were palatable, but again nothing that made us say wow. I had the lamb loin with a zin sauce and my beau had a pork chop with cheddar spoonbread. I thought my lamb was lacking in flavor and the pork chop was just okay (could have used a brine). Dessert was the strongest part of the meal - sweet potato pie with a bacon crust and a lemon chiffon pie with ice cream.
Galatoires on Saturday Afternoon - What a treat! The atmosphere was everything it was hyped up to be and the food was very delicious. We started with Oysters Rockefeller and the shrimp remoulade. Both were delicious. For an entree I had the gumbo - my server didn't look too pleased with my selection, but after three huge meals, I was feeling the tightness in my belt. No regrets here - the gumbo was rich and flavorful and there was so much crab that I felt guilty for paying only 8 dollars for the bowl. My beau had two beautifully fried soft shell crabs with chunks of sauteed crab meat on top. After that meal, we kept happily repeating to ourselves "Would you like some crab with that crab?" Dessert was a chocolate pecan pie - I didn't care for it because it had chocolate sauce, but my beau (a connoisseur of pecan pies) said it was delicious.
Overall, wonderful wonderful trip and we can't wait to return. Thanks for the advice Chowhounders.