Just got back from NO, a quick rundown:
Saturday night: Olivier's---very nice shrimp creole, shrimp and andouille gumbo very good despite the absence of any shrimp or andouille. Wife had a nice peice of fish. Set the tone for pretty decent meals served a bit cooler than I'd like.
Sunday AM- Cafe du Monde
Sunday Lunch: Acme. Confession here. I don't think I like raw oysters much. Oh, I've given them every chance, but they just don't do it for me. The gumbo was ok (if a bit cool), but the bottom of the barrel on the trip. Wife had a nice po' boy.
Sunday dinner: Bourbon House. I realize that this place rarely shows up on this board, but the fried platter was excellent (and hot!) and the wife's redfish on the 'halfshell' was her favorite of the trip. Gumbo was excellent as well, 2nd best of the trip.
Monday: Had a Denny's-like breakfast at Mena's Palace----was probably the only place that we weren't welcomed heartily.
Lunch: Bon-Ton cafe. Just OK, I had the crawfish jambalaya and (of course) the gumbo. Both were tasty and the crawfish were very fresh, but again the temperature was luke-warm at best. (I don't remember this in 2005, is this a new trend??). The wife had fried shrimp...I've made better at home. I had the distinct impression that the regulars get better food here. On the upside, I do love getting a bottle of beer and a seven ounce glass to pour it in (seriously, no sarcasm).
Dinner: NOLA. OK, OK, I'm an Emeril fan (well his TV show is lame, but his restaurants have been uniformly great). I had the hickory roasted Duck the wife had the fried chicken with the sweet potatoes. We split the Bananas Foster bread pudding which was great. One final note, the staff was training a new employee and the service was seamless, enthusiastic and appreciative. The hostess mentioned my two previous visits (to other Emeril restaurants) and we had a complimentary shrimp app within 2-3 minutes upon being seated.
Tuesday: No breakfast.
Lunch: Coops. Great Gumbo, not so great shrimp creole....spent much of monday afternoon here digging the great jukebox as well.
Dinner: Brigtsens. Was almost as much as it is made out to be. I had the grilled pompano, the wife had the parmesean crusted sheepshead. I had the awesome rabbit-sausage gumbo---the best on the trip. The cafe au lait creme brulee was sublime---easily the best I've ever had (and I've had a lot). I'm not sure anything can live up to the hype that Brigtsen's enjoys on this board, but it came 90-95% close.
All in all, the town is clearly appreciative of tourists; the effort is there in the kitchens, but it seems most places are slightly off their game. That being said I ate at least ten times better than I'd eat here in central Illinois.
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