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