I went to New Orleans in March and again in May along with a few days in cajun country around Lafayette, Louisiana. Here are some of the places I went to and some comments.
Brigsten's: I went here with high expectations based on posts from this board and other things I have read about it. I liked it but it was not as great to me as others seem to think. I had gumbo, the rabbit appetizer,drum fish entree, and tres leches cake for dessert. I spent $66 counting the tip.I liked the flavor of everything but thought the gumbo and rabbit appetizer were small for the price. The Drum was ok, but the mashed potatoes and the vegatables were really good. The tres leches cake dessert was small for the price and only so-so. I usually eat at one or two high dollar/reservation type places when I go to New Orleans.For me to get dressed up and to make a reservation is extra effort on my part since I rarely dress up for dinner and usually eat alone on vacation. Brigten's was good, but the small portions and the twenty-five minutes between the appetizers and the main course made the experience less enjoyable than some of my other New Orleans fine dining experiences over the years.
Dante'e Kitchen: I liked this place as much as Brigsten's, especially the fact that I did not have to have a reservation and I felt comfortable dressed casually in there. I did not spend as much money here and enjoyed the portions.
K-Paul's: I have never understood the negative comments about K-Paul's I have read over the years. Sure, it is expensive but the portions are big and they have three or four different kinds of bread that are really good. For my time and money, K-Paul's is better than Brigsten's. I have been there four times and each time I have been treated like a king by the wait staff. On my most recent visit I had the corn and anduille soup which is delicious.The stuffed pork chops were ample and tasty. In the past I have had some excellent paneed rabbit. Every time I have been to K-Paul's I have walked in casually dressed without a reservation by myself and have had one of the best meals of any restaurant I have been to in New Orleans.
Commander's Palace: I have been there for Sunday brunch in the past and enjoyed the shrimp stuffed quail and bread pudding soufle. The service was excellent also. In March I made reservations for a college professor friend and I for lunch after a walking tour of the Garden District. We made special effort to change our shoes and put on jackets for the lunch. On arrival, my friend, who is a two tour Vietnam War combat vet and an accomplished author of both nonfiction and fiction made the comment to me that he thought the maitre'd was kind of arrogant and snooty. The food was decent but not earth shattering great and the service was nowhere near as good as it has been for Sunday Brunch. I was surprised there was a group sitting at a table close to us in faded blue jeans, tennis shoes, and tee shirts but I realize the dress code is not as stringent at lunch than it is other times. Overall, the food was decent, the prices weren't too bad for lunch, and I enjoyed it ok.
Elizabeth's: I went there for breakfast and enjoyed the breakfast Poboy. I went there in March so I do not know if it was before or after the ownership change. The wait staff was friendly and the prices were good. I had a car and am a good navigator so getting there was no problem for me. I am not sure it is worth a special trip for someone cabbing from the French Quater.
Mandina's: Had turtle soup, shrimp remolade, and a roast beef Poboy. I like this place and Luizza's. They both seem very similar to me.
Three Dives I thoroughly enjoyed:
Rocky & Carlo's: I go here everytime I go to New Orleans. I love the macoroni and cheese. The fish, shrimp, and sandwiches are good also.
Coop's: I had fried chicken with the jambalaya. I enjoyed my meal here for a lot less money as much as I enjoyed Brigsten's.
The Country Flame: I was actually going to go to Mr. B's for lunch but decided I was not in the mood for its menu. I went over to K-Paul's and it was closed for lunch that week. I then went Country Flame and found one of those hole-in-the-wall gems I love to find. As soon as I was seated I was given a basket of chips and salsa. The menu has Cuban,Mexican,BBQ,and American dishes. I had BBQ pork ribs and sausage for $7.95. I will defintely go back the next time I go to New Orleans.
Prejean's: I like this place. Good cajun food as well as wild game and live cajun music seven nights a week.
Mike Alesi's Pizza: A pizzaria/Italian food place that has been in business a long time. I actually decided to go there because it had an old sign in front. I love older, red sauce Italian restaurant's that still give you butter for your bread instead of the black and green liquid stuff so many newer Italian places have these days. I had a sampler plate with lasagna, veal parmesan, ravioli, and another kind of pasta like spaghetti but with a different name I have never heard of before. Delicious for $19.95. My kind of place.
Boudin at the Exxon Station North of I-10 off I-49 by the Motel 6: The best boudin I have ever eaten. Ate it for lunch one day and for breakfast another. Good stuff.
This concludes the first trip report I have done after posting on this board for two years. I have learned that price, reputation, critical acclaim, and awards does not necessarily make one meal better than another.
Bigray in OK