Antoine's is the Winchester Mystery House¹ of New Orleans . . . the rooms just keep going and going and going -- 50,000 square feet of rooms, with a "maxed out" seating ability for 1300+ people. Good thing I never knew that before I ate there -- probably would have decided against it based upon that alone.
Now, in all honesty, we ate here last December (2014) as a party of nine in the large "Dining Room Annex." It was "good." But New Orleans is not a city of "good." It is a city of "great" -- where your head spins with all of the options for delicious food night-after-night. In a city of "great" why settle for merely "good"? Short answer: you don't.
However, back in my beloved New Orleans three months later, and in need of a private dining room for "x" number of people, Antoine's was an easy (and relatively affordable) pick. Sure there are lots of other places with private dining rooms in the Crescent City, but it's difficult to book when a) you don't know the exact number of people attending; b) you're dealing with people of different levels of passion when it comes to food -- some are definitely "into" food and/or wine, while others could care less as long as it tastes halfway decent; c) you don't really want to get stuck with footing the bill yourself; and a variety of other complications.
With 13+ possible options for private rooms, and the ability to seat from 8 to 200+, Antoine's seems the easiest option out there. And it was -- in spades! Wendy, the woman I coordinated things with, could not have been easier to work with -- in spite of the ever changing numbers of attendees -- and was positively great! I "borrowed" a friend's waiter for the evening, and the crew of three took excellent care of what ended up being the 17 of us!
PLUS -- the best benefit of all -- the food, from one of their fixed Private Dinning menus² (see http://www.antoines.com/menus_suggest...), was even better than in December when we ordered a la carte!
We began with a cash bar set up in one corner of the second floor Roy Alciatore/Capitol Room (see picture below, though it was set up with one long table in the middle of the room), with access to the balcony facing Rue Saint-Louis. As we enjoyed our cocktails, the waiters passed around Soufflé Potatoes and Oyster Foch, after which platters of food began appearing on the table: Shrimp Remoulade, Crabmeat Ravigote, and Oyster Rockefeller. Everyone had their choice of entrées, either the Gulf Fish Du Jour (in our case, Drum) Pontchartrain, or an 8-ounce Filet Mignon with Marchand de Vin Sauce; both were accompanied with Creamed Spinach and Fresh Asparagus. We finished with a large Baked Alaska with Chocolate Sauce.
Everything was delicious, tasty, and very well executed -- and significantly better than our meal here three months previous. We had absolutely no complaints, no wants, and no worries.
Is Antoine's a *great* restaurant, on the cutting edge of what's new and hot, a candidate for three Michelin stars? No. But there is plenty of good reasons why Antoine's is celebrating their 175th anniversary in 2015 -- and I wouldn't hesitate to plan another private dining room experience here in the future . . . .
¹ See http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com
² A must when a group is 20 or more, we could have ordered a la carte, but it was much easier to opt for a fixed menu and price.