We visited for the first time Sat-Tuesday over Memorial Day weekend. I did most of my research here and found this forum so useful. You guys give great advice. Most of these spots have been written about ad naseum so I won't give a play-by-play. I would not change a thing about our itinerary. I wanted a mix of casual and nicer, bigger meals and not so big, and it worked out well. We also popped in for a drink or just poked our heads in some other places I'd read about (Napoleon House, Court of 2 Sisters, etc) but none of them were placed I'd tell anyone they had to do.
Sat dinner: Galatoire's. What a transition, walking in off of Bourbon Street into Galatoire's. We went at 6:30 and were seated immediately. I didn't see a line at any point. Our waiter was very helpful and made pointed suggestions, which we took. Stuffed eggplant, crawfish etouffee, souffled potatoes, black bottom pecan pie, cocktails, all very good. The restaurant was just as fun and lively as everyone says.
Sun lunch: We were planning on the High Hat, after a walking tour of the Garden District, but they were closed for the holiday weekend. So we headed to Magazine Street, pulled up the Yelp app, and ended up at Basin Seafood. It hit the spot--I had a shrimp remoulade sandwich with a fried green tomato, and my husband had the catfish sandwich, and both were great.
Sun dinner: Bacchanal. The hipster video on their website almost put me off to this place, but we went and had a lot of fun. Good music, good food, good wine, and just a good spot. Nice to get out of the FQ. I'm sure there were other tourists there but it had more of a locals feel than any other place we went. We went on the early side (got there about 5:45) and got the last table at the time; there was some turnover, but there were quite a few people standing in back ready to pounce on your table when we left a couple of hours later. Also, we got a ride back to the FQ from Scott Roberts, who regaled us with many stories. http://blog.nola.com/mikescott/2009/0...
Mon lunch: Mr. B's. Salads, bbq shrimp, wood-grilled redfish, lemon icebox pie. The shrimp were very good though it didn't rock my world like I thought it would, but my husband was wowed by the redfish and the $1.50 martinis. Lots of tourists in t shirts and shorts here.
Mon dinner: Cochon. Corn custard with crab, rabbit and dumplings, crawfish pie, char grilled oysters. They were out of the shrimp which I'd really been looking forward to. Everything was delicious, though they could use more servers/bussers. It was mobbed, on a Monday night. Water glasses went empty until we asked, wine orders took a while. But the food was so good, it was okay. They were also very nice about not just bringing the dishes as they were done, the way a lot of small plates places do--I wanted the (small plates) custard and crawfish when my husband had his large plate (rabbit) and this was no problem. This was an easy walk from the FQ.
Tuesday lunch: Commander's Palace. Wonderful experience. So reasonably priced! 2 course lunch for $18! Husband got the 3 course with quail and the .25 martinis. What a fun wine list--you can get a glass or half glass of anything. I knew from this board to request the garden room and that is where we were seated. The only odd thing was the single rose on the menu. It was so funky (yeasty bouquet, tar finish) that I asked if it was okay. They said it was but did offer to replace it.
Prices everywhere were so reasonable--that was such a treat. We stayed in the FQ and walked to many of these spots. I wouldn't go in May again (I hadn't realized it would be THAT hot yet, and I shivered through every single meal due to the cranked A/C) and I probably wouldn't stay in the FQ again (I wasn't prepared for how crushingly, overwhelmingly touristy it would be). The restaurants were definitely the highlight of the trip.