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Restaurants & Bars

Trip Report, Oct. 3-6 - - long

Pam in NJ | Oct 16, 200303:58 PM

We were in New Orleans 2 weeks ago for a quickie visit - 3 nights, 2-½ days - just enough to get our “fix.”

Arriving earlier than anticipated due to airline flight changes, we didn’t have a dinner reservation Friday night. We decided to try to get into K-Paul’s since it was around the corner from our hotel. 7pm and no problem whatsoever. Having never been to K-Paul’s and most posts on this board leaning toward the “more-touristy” it was never one at the top of my list. My husband ordered the stuffed pork chop and I had the duck. Both were absolutely wonderful. The service was attentive and well-paced - - all in all a nice experience. Definitely a restaurant worth a return visit - but next time with a reservation to sit upstairs on the balcony!

Saturday night we dined at Gautreau’s in the Garden District. Not at all the experience I was anticipating. Yes, it is definitely a “locals” restaurant. And when you’re NOT a local you certainly are not treated like one! Upon being seated at the table adjacent to the bathrooms we asked to be moved to an empty table on the other side of the restaurant, closer to the front. Our request was denied as we were told that the other table was set for a party of three. The restaurant is very small and there were no other tables, which was fine. Low and behold, within 5 minutes of our asking, a party of 2 was promptly seated at that table, the extra place setting removed and the wait staff were all over them with champagne and attention. Patrick, the owner/maitre d, sat down with them and started to chat. Patrick did not go to all of the tables to “check in” with his guests. He only showered the tables of the locals with his presence. Our waiter was also an issue. Not only did he not introduce himself by name, he had such an arrogance about him that he just needed to be slapped. Okay, you ask, what about your meal?!?! Truthfully, I forget what my husband ordered as his appetizer but he liked it. I’m watching my intake and had a mesclun salad. For entrees, I had the grouper and my husband had the drum fish. The grouper was excellent! The drum was undercooked and had to be returned to the kitchen. When they returned my husband’s plate, they only returned the piece of fish. They had discarded the spinach accompaniment and did not replenish it. Nothing was done by the management to make up for this. Most restaurants that I’ve been to comp the problem entrée or comp a dessert. The only apology we received was from Patrick as it was he who returned the plate. In fact, that was the only time he came to our table!! You don't know unless you try, but the entire time we were there we were wishing we had gone back to Clancy's!

Our dinner on Sunday was at the Bistro at the Maison de Ville. To our dismay, Patrick Van Hoorebeek was off that night. I almost cancelled our reservation at the news, but I’m glad I didn’t. Our waitress (Nancy?) was very nice and made us feel welcome. It wasn’t very busy that night and the 2 girls working in the restaurant were very attentive but in a laid back way that made the dining experience friendly and enjoyable. My husband started with the steamed mussels and followed that with the duck. I started with the spinach salad and had the grilled shrimp for dinner. We both had crème brulee for dessert (yes, I splurged - and am I glad I did!) It was the truly the best I’ve ever had! It was a terrific dining experience and I definitely want to go back and experience a meal with PVH.

We didn’t deviate from our breakfast haunts-Petunia’s (their French toast is hard to beat), Camellia Grill for a pecan waffle and bacon & cheese omelet (LOVE that place!) and Café du Monde for our favorite beignets and café au lait.

Lunches were a muffelata from the Central Grocery, oysters and gumbo at Felix’s, BBQ shrimp at Mr. B’s. We treated ourselves to Bananas Foster at Brennans on the day we were leaving. Our waiter gave us a tour of the restaurant. Amazing history - great bananas foster!!

We stayed at the Omni Royal Orleans which turned out to be the perfect hotel - great location, great pool and rooftop hangout. We would definitely stay there again. (I joined the Omni Select Guest program and received 2 nights at 50% off - can’t beat that!)

I also want to plug 2 local galleries: Alex Beard on Chartes and Martin LaBorde at the Bee Gallery on Royal. Alex’s work is amazing! It’s different from anything that we’ve seen. Alex is a very interesting person and he took the time to explain the binary process behind his work. Martin’s schnauzer, Gunnar, is currently featured in his work. Having a schnauzer of our own, meeting Gunnar was most enjoyable - what a beautiful and well-behaved dog.

All in all, we had another great visit. Looking forward to our return in '04!

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