Compère Lapin, New Orleans, 12/30/18

sign outside
sign outside

Compère Lapin is French for brother rabbit.  It was a large place with low lighting, music in the background, exposed brick walls, bare polished wood tables, windows to the street on one long side, and a number of paintings on the walls.  Some other walls were lined with bench seating to be one side’s seat for the majority of small tables for 2.  They are located in a hotel with a long bar and oyster counter for different seating options. The ceiling held some noise reduction panels but with the hard walls, the concrete floor and being packed with people the noise level was high.  They offer a small menu which has lots of plates to be shared and we were told they prefer you put in your whole order at one time rather than as you go along.  Service was friendly but not overly so, leaving you feeling no connection to the place.  Some of the food was pretty good but a lot of it was way mild for the style of cooking. Continue reading

Gabrielle Restaurant, New Orleans, 12/29/18

exterior
exterior

Gabrielle Restaurant is a good sized place with one dining room.  It reopened in 2017 after 12 years closed as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Greg Sonnier is the chef owner and he named it after his daughter who currently runs the front of the house.  One side is windows facing the street and another is a long bar with additional seating.  The small cloth covered tables are set with some space between them on a tile floor with faint music in the background.  The walls are decorated with paintings and photos with some spots on the art but overall the lighting is quite low.   Lots of lights hang from the low dark ceiling but it still has a feeling of privacy.  They offered an a la carte menu of New Orleans’ style Cajun food as well as Reveillon menu the night we were there.  We chose the a la carte option.  Service was friendly and helpful, the food was wonderfully flavorful but the pacing of the dishes was rushed. Continue reading

Galatoire’s Restaurant (update), New Orleans, 12/29/18 and 12/30/18

postcard of building
postcard of building

Galatoire’s Restaurant is definitely a favorite of mine.   That’s not hard to discern considering in a gastronomic place like New Orleans, I will chose to go there twice rather than try something new or repeat another place.  This time we had two lunches with slightly different themes.   Our first visit was most of our traditional favorites, most including seafood and on the second visit we tried all non-seafood items.  The seafood visit was definitely my favorite.  The place has two levels for dining with the downstairs large room being noisy and full of a combination of locals and tourists, with no reservations possible.  Upstairs is divided into smaller rooms, some filled with one party and other filled with those wanting a reservation and assured seating.  It is quieter but somehow doesn’t have the same ambiance of the bright bustle downstairs. Service is amazing here and if you go take time to interact with your server.  They can customize any order to make it fit your desire.  There will be a charge, but I like to top things with a more of that jumbo lump crabmeat. Continue reading

Carrollton Market, New Orleans, 12/28/18

from outside
building

Carrollton Market is a medium sized place out in the suburbs that has been open 4 years.  The entry is into a bar area that is not very well separated from the main dining room.  The small marble tables are set closely together, a tin ceiling, wood floor and wood and painted walls all add to the loud noise level in the room, even without background music.   Windows along the front wall look out onto the street but otherwise there are no windows except for the interior one that looks into the open kitchen and the general light level is low.  They offer only a small a la carte menu.  The staff were friendly and helpful but the food was mostly unexciting and the overall ambiance is ear numbing, yet it was packed with people.  There is no subtlety in the food, it tends to be over-seasoned with large portions of heavy food.   Continue reading

Herbsaint Restaurant (update), New Orleans,12/28/18

building
building

It’s been a couple years since we went to Herbsaint, but this visit we went for lunch.  White tableclothes are covered with paper on the nicely spaced large tables.  There is background music in this corner building location.  The two walls of windows give lots of light in the daytime.  We were in the front of the 2 rooms, which is my preference, and snagged a good table with a direct line of site into the busy kitchen.  The first part of the restaurant that you come into is a large bar with lots of bar seating and additional counters.  They also had a fairly large patio out front.  It’s not a huge menu but everything we had was very good, packed with flavor, and nicely they seem to be open continuously so matter what time you hit town you can go, but reservations would be recommended for any prime time.  We ordered a number of items with the intention of splitting them, so we could try as much as possible.  Portions are well sized and service was very good. Continue reading

Brigtsen’s, New Orleans, 8/8/17

entrance
entrance

Opened in 1986, Brigtsen’s is located in an old house in the Garden District, about 20 minutes by cab from the French Quarter.  It is worth the trip!   Owner Marna Brigtsen greets you at the door and guides you to your seat.  Music plays in the background, lighting is low and the nicely spaced tables are appointed with lovely linens. Painted wood walls, fireplaces and many windows give the relatively small adjoined rooms a very cozy feel.  The several rooms are packed with people and tables turnover throughout the evening, but the noise level is not bad at all.  Marna’s husband and co-owner Frank Brigtsen is the chef in the kitchen.  They offer a fixed price 3 course menu, with several choices for each course, an a la carte menu and a few specials of the day.   Continue reading

Shaya, New Orleans, 8/8/17

building
building

Shaya is a good sized place with additional seating available at the bar and on the patio.  A long bench seat lines one wall where most of the 2-tops are located.  The other tables are more generously spaced and all enjoy the light of spoked fixtures with silver tipped bulbs hanging from the ceiling and a wall of windows to the street.  There is background music but the noise level was low which was good considering the percentage of tables that were occupied.  Beyond the open wood-fired oven for the pita bread is the patio which was not well filled, but it was a warm day.  There is different menu at lunch than in the evening, which we looked at outside.   Continue reading

Clancy’s Restaurant, New Orleans, 8/7/17

window sign
window sign

This is a repeat visit but Clancy’s is worth another visit.  This time was during a less active season however the place was still super busy with people coming and going, but it dies down by 10:00 pm.  The large dining room downstairs was filled with lots of groups as well as couples but the noise level is very livable.  Located on a corner in a mixed commercial/residential neighborhood the restaurant is appointed with lovely tablecloths, napkins and formally dressed waiters which in turn attract a fairly dressy crowd even in the hot summer. You can’t miss the “Clancy’s” written on on the outside facing windows and the guard out front.  Service is friendly, helpful and efficient – in fact it’s a fun show to watch them set up a new table which is assembled in a lightning speed symphony of movements. Continue reading

Peche Seafood Grill, New Orleans, 8/7/17

building
building

Peche is a large place that’s about  a 15 minute cab ride from the French Quarter. Seating is available in 3 booths, bar counter stools and a number of well spaced tables throughout.  Windows to the street form one wall of the place and add nice natural light during the day.  Tables are of bare wood and matching unfinished beams line the ceiling while soft  rock music plays in the background.  Lots of seafood art adorns the walls and the street wall is of the natural brick. Service is exceptionally friendly and helpful.  Our waiter provided many details about how the various dishes are prepared and was nicely opinionated about how we might configure our order.  Freshness of ingredients is stressed.   Continue reading

Café Beignet, New Orleans, 8/7/17

building
building

Café Beignet is a small space made more spacious by an adjacent patio.  You enter and walk to the back counter to order, commonly there is a line to get in.  They offer sandwiches and the like but the main draw here are the beignets and coffee.  They are an order of 3 for $3.99 and are a staple of New Orleans food.  Many people go to the larger Cafe du Monde but I like the less chaotic feel here and the beignets are ‘fatter’ with a better bite to me.   Continue reading

Herbsaint, New Orleans, 12/22/16

entry
entry

HERBSAINT is a fairly large restaurant in the Garden District.  It is part of the Link Group which also runs “peche” and Cochon.   It is has a good sized bar area, a dining room next to the kitchen window with 2 sides of street windows and an additional smaller dining room in the back near the wine storage and hanging meat cabinet (where they cure their own meat, some as much as 2 years old. They also make sausage and lardo and  age lamb).  It is noisy with a more lively buzz in the front room.  I saw several tables of celebrating parties with mixed ages and dress in the dining rooms.   Continue reading

Brennan’s Restaurant, New Orleans, 12/22/16

building
building

Brennan’s has been an institution (since 1946) in New Orlean’s French Quarter but it has recently undergone a major renovation and re-opened in the fall of 2014.  The large restaurant has many different public and private dining areas, extensive wine cellar and bar area serving breakfast breakfast/lunch and dinner.  It was filled with many tourists as well as local folks, some celebrating the holiday or just having a good meal.  Their menu is a la carte but does feature daily specials, combination meals and the off-the-menu Steak Diane.  While the front of the restaurant has elegantly appointed dining rooms, I really preferred the ‘garden room’ in the back where we had lunch.   Continue reading

La Petite Grocery, New Orleans, 12/21/16

exterior
exterior

La Petite Grocery is a good sized place in the Garden District, about a 15 minute cab ride from the French Quarter. The room has a narrow portion due to a partition that separates the tables that are in the same room with the large bar.  There is another partition that forms one larger room in the back of the building.  The building was re-built in 1908 after the original building burned.  It did start as a grocery but all that remains of that structure are the tin ceiling and the front awning. When is was a grocery the front two areas were the store and the back room was storage, thus it truly was a petite grocery. The casual crowd was there to eat as I saw no one at the bar that was not awaiting the rest of their dinner party.  There is low lighting throughout but even dimmer in the front two areas.  It offers an a la carte menu with a few verbally delivered specials.   Continue reading

Galatoire’s Restaurant, New Orleans, 12/21/16

dining room before they opened
dining room before they opened

Galatoire’s is a large restaurant in the French Quarter that I like to visit at least once every year.  The food has an amazing consistency of goodness, the waitstaff are all adaptable to any request and it is just fun being in there.  We had a wonderful lunch of old favorites starting with a couple of New Orleans signature drinks, sazeracs.  The only reservations are for the upstairs dining rooms which have the same kitchen but somehow the vibe is not the same. This trip we found they were taking names inside to reserve a seat for the lunch seating as opposed to lining up out front.   Continue reading

Galatoire’s, New Orleans, 12/19/15

interior
interior

This large restaurant in the French Quarter gets a visit from us every time in town, so sorry about another posting on it, but that says something for the quality of the place.  That day it was filled with local folks having their Christmas parties and with all the red bows and garlands it was extra festive. Again, the waiters here will customize anything to your liking and love to throw extra crab meat on your dish. Continue reading

August, New Orleans, 12/19/15

exterior
exterior

This large John Besh restaurant is divided into multiple rooms, each having a different feel. We were in the “library” which was open to the second story where it had a wrap around wine cellar. A good room compared to the bustle of the front room or the remoteness of the rooms in the back.  The service is efficient and friendly but more on the formal side. They offer an a la carte menu as well as 2 tastings, one being
vegetarian.  We had their Reveillon menu which is a longer menu offered prior to the Christmas/New Year’s.   Continue reading

Square Root, New Orleans, 12/18/15

Exterior
Exterior

Located in the Garden District, a short cab ride from the Quarter, is something new for New Orleans- a counter seating with only a tasting for about 20 people. The menu changes regularly and they will work to accommodate allergies or preferences, like they did for the vegetarian that was there the night we were.  They have a small wine list and offer pairings for the courses.  It is about 15 courses of small bites all prepared in the kitchen in the room. Continue reading

The Old Coffee Pot, New Orleans,12/18/15

exterior
exterior

This place calls itself the “best breakfast in the French Quarter” and I believe it is. They have a small inside dining room and a large covered patio serviced by some really old school waiters. They are efficient and to the point, but aim to please. The eggs look nice and the coffee is reasonably strong but the main reason I go here is for Lost Bread – a creole Continue reading

Clancy’s, New Orleans, 12/18/15

exterior
exterior

A medium sized place with several dining areas as well as a bar space. Ask for the downstairs dining room, as that’s where the best vibe is. The day we were there the ladies Christmas lunches were taking over the room. Lunch is different than dinner too, as downstairs has windows all along one side that give it a light airy feel. This is old school New Orleans dining, with starched white linens, tuxedoed waiters and a changing array of seafood. Continue reading

Coquette, New Orleans, 1/30/15

Coquette exterior
Coquette exterior

This restaurant is a couple miles from the Quarter but worth the walk or cab ride! I thought I wanted the downstairs dining room but was pleased to find the upstairs quieter and airy with lots of windows for nice lighting. They offer a 3 course lunch menu and a number of other plates to add to the meal. Even the “small plates” are enough to share. I would warn that the wine list is a little spendy, with a pretty good markup.

Continue reading

Commander’s Palace, New Orleans, 5/20/15

Garden room windows
Garden room windows

This place continues to be on the “best of lists” for New Orleans but it really didn’t merit the accolades this evening. It is a beautiful dining room upstairs where the large windows in the garden room give it a treehouse affect. The other upstairs rooms are windowless and not nearly as pretty. Downstairs is the more conventional room (they still have a dress code that forbids jeans) and a much more serious vibe. We were surrounded by tables celebrating and thus adorned with balloons and hats. They offer a large menu and a large tasting menu but we chose a combo dinner after having had a large lunch. Continue reading

Galatoire’s, New Orleans, 5/19 &20/15

Galatoire's exteriorAlways a favorite of ours and it’s in the Quarter so just a short walk from many hotels. It’s been there forever and does get a tourist crowd since it’s in the Quarter but also many locals go to celebrate occasions or enjoy the old style service and food. Nothing fancy but the waitstaff love to customize your order – change fish, add crabmeat, sauce or preparation. Go often and get a regular waiter and the experience is sublime. Continue reading

Coquette, New Orleans, 5/19/15

Coquette entrance                  IMG_5626

A wonderful place outside of the Quarter and a re-visit this year. This time we sat in the downstairs dining room and it was a much cozier spot than the upstairs, which is nice for lunch as the windows provide great lighting. We lucked out and had some of the same waitstaff, which again were helpful, friendly and attentive. They have an a la carte menu but we chose the Surprise Tasting Menu which was a wonderful choice. Frankie made friends with 2 magnums of champagne.Frankie felt small next to these champagnes    Continue reading