So, as a long time lurker, I have read about so many of New Orleans great restaurants. However, as a college student, my budget was not appropriate for eating out. But, graduation week and the arrival of my parents changed all that! So while these restaurants were not the ones I wanted to go to the most, they were familiar enough to me due to chowhound posts.
Coops: Went on Wednesday for lunch, after touring the french quarter for a bit. When we first walked inside, my mom's face was priceless...it looked exactly like it was supposed to- a local, run-down, dark joint. Not exactly what we were hoping for, but I should have known it wasn't going to be the most elegant place on earth. The only waitress was the one behind the bar, and she seemed too busy entertaining those buying drinks than those eating. Without any acknowledgment from her, we sat ourselves. Though she hollered that she would be right with us, it took at least another 5 minutes for her to come and get our drink orders, another 10 for her to bring them, and another 5 for her to take our meal orders even though we were ready when we got our drinks. She was pleasant enough, but seeing how she was clearly talking with regulars about who was dating whom, I'm guessing that it wasn't because she was busy that she was slow to wait on us. I got the shrimp creole, my mom got a taster plate of some sort, and my sister got the salad with blackened shrimp. The shrimp creole was probably the worst I've had- It reminded me too much of bad sweet and sour shrimp, with too much Tabasco.The salad with shrimp was fine. The taster plate was gumbo, shrimp creole, red beans and rice (this one had some sort of meat- maybe pork?), jambalaya, and a piece of fried chicken. My mom turned the gumbo away after one sip- it had quite an unusual taste to it, nothing like any other gumbo I've had in my 5 years in the city. It was not good. The shrimp creole was the same as mine, the red beans and rice tasted like artificial liquid smoke, the jambalaya was unimpressive, but the fried chicken blew my mom away. She talked and talked and talked about it throughout the meal. After she raved to the waitress, we got better service. All in all, the one thing we found out was the Coops is only good for one thing- the fried chicken.
Dragos: The next day, my mom, my sister, two friends, and I went to Dragos in Metairie. We started off with one dozen raw and one dozen charbroiled oysters. It was like manna from heaven, so much so that we ordered another round of each. While my sister, one friend, and I loved the raw oysters, my mom and my other friend were pretty much sopping all of the juices out of the charbroiled ones. It took three days for my mom to stop reminding me about those oysters, and I'm sure they're still on her mind right now. My friend began to consider Dragos to begin her boyfriend's first tour of New Orleans oysters. For entrees, my sister and mom had the lobster, I had baked chicken (I was feeling boring that day), and my friends had crawfish etoufee and some sort of fried ravioli. I have to say, all the entrees were delicious, even my chicken, and we ended up STUFFED. No complaints with dragos at all!!!!
Dante's Kitchen: After my friends and I graduated (yay!), five of us decided to go to Dante's Kitchen for lunch. I was late in coming, but I called and asked them to order the omelet with crab and brie (egg whites only) and a bloody mary. Two other friends had the same thing. It was delicious! Brie, which usually I'm not too fond off, really shone when it was melted and warm. And tomatoes offset the richness. My bloody mary was not the best I've tried, but I had no complaints. It kind of tasted like cocktail sauce. The pickled green beans were awesome though. My friend and her boyfriend were hoping for bread pudding for dessert, but they didn't have any, so they decided to get shrimp and grits! With a little joshing from the waiter, they ordered it, and while there weren't any moans (like those heard on chowhound about Dante's shrimp and grits), they were satisfied.
Casamentos: That night, my dad, two friends and I went out to dinner for some oysters. I've always wanted to go to Casamentos, so we decided to try it. We ordered two dozen oysters to start, but they were no more special than oysters that I ordered from dragos or felix's. That means little, because I love every oyster I've had so much. I ended up eating a total of 2 dozen oysters by myself! My dad ordered gumbo, as did I. My friend ordered spaghetti and meatballs (???) and my other friend ordered the fried catfish dinner. The gumbo was very good, better than any I can remember. More tomato-ey, which I like. The catfish seemed good, though I didn't try it. My friend gnawed on a piece of plastic that was in his spaghetti, and while he didn't care enough to tell the waitress, my other friend and I thought we should. The waitress was as nice as she could be, and when the check came, the spaghetti was off the bill. We also ordered a trout loaf and calamari to go for my mom. I didn't try the calamari, but I did try the trout roll. Maybe it's because I'm not a big fan of trout that I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have. I like Casamentos, but I could pretty much go to Acmes or Felix's or Dragos for oysters too...
Whew! I'm glad I finally had a reason to write something on Chowhound!