Sunday, October 30, 2011

Where to Eat in NoLa

There are so many great places to eat in New Orleans, and since usually we were eating late, in dimly lit bars with a few to-go beers under our belt, I won't even attempt to fix up most of these pictures to post. 

Acme Oysters gets a lot of hype, almost enough to make one a bit suspicious about trying it, but its worth every minute in that out the door line. The oysters from Louisiana are large, mild and flavorful, great on the half shell here and even better chargrilled with butter and cheese (believe it!). The fried shrimp and oyster po boy sounds like it would be way too fishy with too much bread(ing), but they use a soft fresh roll, a flavored mayo, lettuce and tomato to vary the tastes and textures. The sampler platter of gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice and grilled sausage is fantastic, but you better like rice if you order it.

Coops Place is also great for some original Cajun-style food. The fried chicken, crispy and flavorful with a tender interior, is definitely on par with the fried chicken you'd find at Brooklyn Bowl or the Redhead, only with more Southern spices (they call it a Bayou Blend and they put it on everything). It comes with a rabbit and sausage jambalaya that most people love but I found a little dry. Don't dare to order the fried oyster dinner unless you're ready for lots of fried oysters and french fries. All entrees here are between $8 and $18.

We had lunch at the House of Blues on a whim one day; we were starving and the hawker was convincing. Fun and unique atmosphere, lots of jazz portraits and voodoo trinkets in a large churchlike space.

The steak tacos were unimaginative but good; the lobster mac and cheese was definitely the highlight. Crunchy, creamy, large hunks of lobster and piping hot!

We had a great brunch at Stanley on our last day. Breaux Bridge benedict for me with fried boudin, ham, cheese and creole hollandaise. I can still taste it (dreamy sigh). Corned beef hash for him with huge chunks of corned beef, potatoes and pastrami. Also, they have ice cream for breakfast a LOT down in NoLa. We waited a bit for our brunch (which was nothing compared to most of our waits in Brooklyn, but whatever) so they comped us a free dessert. We had their house made ice creams: Chunky Chartres (a cute spin on Rocky Road) and peanut butter chocolate chip. Fantastic. Go early if you visit on a weekend, they get a crazy line out the door!

If you venture out a bit farther from the French Quarter and into the Garden District, its worth a visit to the small plates Cajun spot Cochon. We split a wonderful crab salad dish with orange beets, fried boudin and a few other plates. We also tried to fried alligator here, which I can't say I recommend, but I won't hold that against Cochon. 

One place I can't say I recommend is Brennan's, but I felt I really needed to go there since its the birthplace of bananas foster. We had a ridiculously overpriced breakfast (the bill came to $100!) that involved yawn-worthy hot soups, over-hollandaised eggs and a pretentious atmosphere. But I did get to have the bananas foster, and they were pretty good.

here's the before picture with a mound of sugar, the bananas and the alcohol vials they use to blow it into oblivion.


Then they serve it with vanilla ice cream. A flamey sugar rush to help you forget the rest of the meal.

Acme Oyster House
724 Iberville St.(between Bourbon and Royal St)

Coops Place
1109 Decatur St

House of Blues
225 Decatur St.

Stanley Restaurant
547 St. Ann St. at Chartres St.

930 Tchoupitoulas St

Brennan's Restaurant
417 Royal St.

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