I have come to a maybe blasphemous opinion with regard to many of Chowhounder's reports. Don't crucify me.
There is no ONE single restaurant in New Orleans that can really do it all. Our experience was that if you take a dish or two from the huge variety there, an uber-meal can be composed. But there's no such thing as one-stop shopping for "the best". Would such dish-hopping break your wallet? Yes, it probably would.
I won't bother upsetting anyone with the "mediocre" that is easily found among Chowhound's top recommendations. I see nothing to gain by dissing this or that dish. We each have our own tastes and culinary epiphanies and expensive disappointments. That said, from the past 5 days I offer:
---MY PERFECTLY WONDERFUL DAY'S MENU---
Brennan's Eggs Sardou or St. Charles
Brennan's Banana's Foster
Who really needs breakfast in N.O.? But, the formula for the classics remains.. all trends aside.
Central Grocery's muffaletta is apparently on a leaner diet, but if you order double the meat,cheese and olive mix,at double the price, it's even better than "the old days". Tried 2 others. Central remains the tops.
ACME Oyster House still has the freshest, plumpest and cheapest dozen on the 1/2 shell in town and served sassy.
Dick and Jenny's Crawfish Etoufee had surprisingly shocking raw smoked tomatoes around it that kill.
Brigtsen's Rabbit Gumbo beat out 6 others. Greatness.
LUNCH or DINNER ENTREE'S:
Galatoire's Pompano topped with Lump Crab. It may have just been excellent ingredients, not the prep.
Mr. B's BBQ Shrimp*** is not to be missed by anyone.
Mr. B's also reigns in fun, perfect service.
Brigtsen's Pecan Pie w/ Caramel Sauce.
My overall opinion was that the Uptown Upstarts often touted on the Board have yet to create their own collection of signature dishes or enough menu depth to justify the extra $30+ in RT cab fees to get there from the Quarter. This is good news for the locals up there.
It takes a long while or multiple strokes of kitchen genius to make a restaurant's reputation. While it's tempting to break the mold and search out the new "darling" of the chef set, my opinion was that many of them still lack a deep "bench" in the kitchen. They earned their stripes as rookies in the more consistent kitchens. There's a reason their "training kitchens" are famous, and it wasn't just them alone.
I'm glad to restrain myself from making mention of the bombs we found in many other "top" places, from crappy service to dead-dry seafood or uninteresting specialties at a not insignificant waste of time, distance and cash. It's all about finding those rare pearls, ain't it?