NOLA, a couple of questions (Gautreau’s, Bayona, 40th Birthday Dinner)


I love Mission Chinese and eat there at least once whenever I’m in the Bay Area. You should give it a try.

Then again, you don’t like Petit Trois, which I also adore, so maybe we are not food-compatible. :slight_smile:


Sorry I missed this post! How was your trip?


I’m leaving for NOLA next Tuesday and was wondering if anyone could give me any tips about the notorious “line-sitters” for Galatoire’s Friday lunch? I understand there are people that will get you in for around $60-80 a head by lining up at daybreak. I know it sounds kind of dirty to pay someone to stand in line for you but we’ve got a huge gift card and it’s our only free day / birthday celebration so I don’t want to leave anything to chance… plus its min. $20/hr if not more (no way anybody’s lining up 7+ hrs in advance) and people could really use the bread, so I can kind of reconcile the decision. How would I go about finding these “professional” line-sitters?


What a fun article if you haven’t seen it.


Thanks! I’ve seen it… and I just posted to Craigslist and found someone who’s very happy to do it (he texted me w/in 5 min of posting) so we’re all set!! :smiley:


I actually love the idea. Win-win! Have a great time and please report back.


Not going till October.
Many of the city’s well regarded sushi places are closed due to a relocation of the Tsukiji fish market but I got Rez at one decent place and some excellent non shushi options. But would love to hear your thoughts.

I am so surprised to hear that one need’s to have someone to wait to ensure entrance to Galatiores even on a Friday lunch. Amazing.


That link above said that it’s specifically Friday lunch and not upstairs. I love tales like that :wink:


Oh that’s perfect; I’ll send you all of our top spots when we get back from NOLA next week and I have more time to dig through our itinerary! Refresh my memory- were you just sticking to Tokyo or traveling anywhere else on this trip?

Here’s a tough question for next week:

We’ve got an 11am lunch reservation at Bon Ton Cafe and a 7:30pm dinner reservation at Clancy’s- both on the same day. I’m trying to decide whether I should go for the “Soft Shell Crab Alvin” at Bon Ton or the “Smoked Soft Shell Crab w Crabmeat Meunière” at Clancy’s… or both! :smiley:

If you were going to order one soft shell crab dish, would it be the ‘crab Alvin’ at Bon Ton or the famous ‘smoked soft shell crab’ at Clancy’s? The last time I was at Clancy’s it was unavailable so I ordered the smoked duck instead (the best I’ve ever had btw). I don’t remember ordering it at Bon Ton either but it’s one of their signature dishes. Are they different enough to try both??


noburi betsu

Can’t help with Clancy’s v. Bon Ton.
Your inclination to do both seems right!


DOWNSTAIRS Friday lunch @ Galatoire’s is something everyone needs to do once in their lives. That said, we do it almost every trip…we just call our waiter¹, and he takes care of the “line sitters.”

Remember that New Orleans is still a “three-Martini” [or Sazerac] kind of town². Fridays, it always seems like – for the kind of people who regularly attend Friday lunch at Galatoire’s – no one goes back to their office after lunch. The weekend starts now! :sunglasses: It will certainly be noisy, so be prepared for that; just sit back and enjoy the classic dishes and one of the best people-watching in all New Orleans…

UPSTAIRS @ Galatoire’s, they do take reservations, and it isn’t 1/10th the fun!

AND YES, after Friday lunch at Galatoire’s, you will only want something light for dinner…and probably later than you’d normally eat.

¹ Anyone who is a regular at Galatoire’s “has” a waiter. It’s hard to explain but the bottom line is that they know you, know your preferences, etc. Indeed, I don’t think we have ever seen a menu there; on our first ever visit, one of the regulars told us to ask for their waiter and he’s been ours ever since. Once, when we were in a local bookstore, the owner overheard my wife and I as we were looking at a book on NOLA restaurants and specifically at Galatoire’s and having your “own” waiter. He looked as us and said, “You? You have a waiter at Galatoire’s? Pray tell, WHO is your waiter?” When we mentioned our waiter’s name, he replied, “George*? George is your waiter? WELL, you HAVE arrived…” [“George” is not our waiter’s real name.]

² There are several restaurants in town that still sell Martinis (and some other cocktails) at lunch for 25¢ EACH, with a limit of three per person. Commander’s Palace for one…


We plan on spending the entire gluttonous afternoon there!

We’re going to order half the menu and just pass dishes around to other tables when we’re ready for the next spread! We received a very generous $500 gift certificate for my wife’s 40th, so let the good times roll!


Just got back from NOLA last night and I already want to go back!

Le Petit Grocery - It was okay. Everything was fresh and seasonal and well prepared but it just wasn’t that exciting, to be honest. We had the blue crab beignets, which I really enjoyed. Ricotta dumplings were excellent and recommended. Everything else was very good but not exceptional. I had paneed rabbit for my entree, which was enjoyable but nothing more. My wife had a red snapper dinner special, which was just okay. We’d planned on ordering the buttercotch pudding w pecan shortbread but since the whole meal was pretty MOR we just ended up skipping desert. The cocktails were all pretty good.

Cane+Table - Went after LPG and we were a bit disappointed compared to an earlier visit two years ago. They overhauled the entire menu and seem to have changed direction from the proto-tiki concept. I requested an old drink off-menu that the bartender offered to make (scotch and coconut) and while it was okay, it was a pale imitation of the original cocktail. The porcelain mugs were all chipped and needed to be replaced and the menu itself was downgraded from a conceptual map/compass highlighting the theme of the orig. bar to a boring old paper menu w/ drinks that mostly didn’t appeal to us. I ended up sampling rums instead of cocktails, though one of the bartenders offered to make me a complimentary Ramos gin fizz, which was excellent. It was fun but it’s no longer on our list of must visit bars.

Bon Ton Cafe - I really wanted to love this place (it embodies everything we enjoy about NOLA) but the food was simply not very good. We ordered their signature rum ramsey which was terrible Bourbon St quality and then moved on to turtle soup w sherry & crawfish bisque, which were both fine but that’s all. Crabmeat au gratin was disgusting; like school cafeteria. Redfish Bon Ton was fresh but completely uninteresting. Soft shell crab Alvin was not very good either. The bread pudding w/ whiskey sauce (tasted and smelled more like nail polish remover) was also pretty bad. I love the restaurant itself; the service is friendly and the atmosphere is a lot of fun. The owners came by our table several times to ask how we were doing. The kitchen just isn’t anything special. Give me a Cajun cookbook and I could have done everything better and with higher quality ingredients. Compared to similar places (Brennan’s, CP, Galatoire’s, etc) it just doesn’t cut it.

Clancy’s - My personal favorite in the city, if not anywhere. We’ve been before and I just love everything about this place from the food, drinks, ambiance (main dining room) and service. It’s the kind of classic American dining experience that makes NOLA really special. We had the fried eggplant, oysters w brie, crabmeat mandeville salad, smoked soft shell (OMG having this and BTC’s on the same day really put things in perspective!) and baby drum muddy waters. We had their signature lemon icebox pie for desert. Half a dozen old fashioned, sazeracs and wine glasses too. Everything was exceptional. It was hard to resist my favorite dish, their house smoked duck, but I’m glad that I finally got to try the signature soft shell crab. My only regret was that I’d wasted cash and calories on that sham dish earlier in the day.

Atchfalaya - Some dishes were really great, others a mess. I’d return despite inconsistency. Fried green tomatoes w remoulade were among the best I’ve tried. Sweet corn and mirliton bisque was also outstanding. My wife had a salad which she loved. It came w jalapeno cornbread, which was very good. I asked for direction w main dishes as I couldn’t decide between the eggs Atchfalaya, the biscuits eoufee, duck hash or low country benedict. Server strongly recommended the fried chicken w eggs ‘n’ biscuits smothered in sausage gravy. We saw it go by and it looked delicious so my wife opted for that. Big mistake. I’ve never had mushy fried chicken before. It was not crispy/crunchy at all. The biscuits were terrible. The whole plate had the texture and consistency of a pile of mush. I ended up going for the biscuits etoufee w crawfish, which was also a mistake. The crawfish etoufee was very good but extremely rich and heavy and the same inedible biscuits covered most of the plate. I’d be glad to return for the eggs Atchfalya and duck hash. Their sazerac w duck fat washed rye was nice at 10:30 am!

Gautreau’s - I understand why locals consider this the best restaurant in NOLA. It’s surely the most refined we’ve experienced in terms of flavors, ingredients, and perhaps above all, service. Their duck confit starter was the best I’ve ever had and I’m originally from Montreal, so that’s saying something. We had a Thai inspired blue crab salad that was outstanding. I think we may have also started with a gnocchi or scallops or something; I can’t remember but everything was terrific. I went with one of the daily specials which was a perfectly cooked veal chop that was delicious but I felt the sauce (dark reduction) on the plate was a bit heavy handed and easily overpowering. It was still very memorable. My wife went with an Asian/Thai inspired snapper, which she loved. Between the last two trips, she rates this restaurant and Upperline highest w Patois on the more casual/bistro end. Wines were well paired. Service was second to none. Creme brulee is also one of the best I’ve had. A++

Galatoire’s - My own Shangri-la. We spent the entire day. Arrived 5-10 mins. prior to opening only to find the dude who agreed to hold our place had completely flaked, despite texting w each other and confirming the day before. By sheer luck the planets somehow aligned and we got into the first seating in the main dining room! With the cash we ended up saving (which all went to tip) we didn’t spend a dime, since we had over $500 in gift cards! We literally sat there for 5+ hours and got props from half the restaurant for outlasting every other table! We ordered two bottles of champagne and a couple of brandy milk punch and let out waiter (Ralph) know our plans for the afternoon; it was all about the pacing… a couple of cocktails followed by a Galatoire goute (shrimp remoulade and crabmeat maison) then we slowly poured through a bottle of Gosset brut excellence while noshing on crabmeat ravigote and stuffed eggplant… then the best oysters rockerfeller in the entire world… followed by a proper crabmeat gratin (absolutely decadent!) and another bottle of Billecart rosee… then a blackened redfish w crabmeat Yvonne and some onion rings and souffle potatoes… then finally a banana bread pudding a la mode w/ coffee and cognac to cap it off. We stumbled out (literally) at around 5:30 p.m. and then dragged ourselves back to our hotel room, popped a few alka seltzers and passed out for the rest of the evening & night! It was one of the most memorable and celebratory birthdays I’ve ever had! If you’ve never experienced Galatoire’s over Friday lunch, do it – it’s so much fun!! I’ve got our waiter’s cell phone number and he said that he could arrange the line sitters in advance next time. I’m so glad it all worked out… I would’ve been devastated if we didn’t get in after all our planning.

Elizabeth’s - Yes, we still had an appetite for brunch the next day, believe it or not. This place was a major let down though. I’m baffled by its popularity. The place was buzzing when we arrived around 11 a.m. We waited almost 30 mins. at the bar upstairs. I ordered a bloody mary, which wasn’t bad. I’m usually not that into them (unless I’m pairing w shellfish) but this one had green beans and all sorts of pickled veggies sticking out, so I figured why not. My wife was still recovering so she drank soda water and bitters. After half an hour crowsing around the bar, we were called downstairs and seated right by the bottom staircase, which was kind of annoying as people were passing right by us constantly, including servers hovering trays above our heads. I started w/ the fried boudin balls w Creole mustard. Not sure whats Creole about the mustard… it just tasted like a pile of unbalanced store bought Dijon over boudin which was totally indistinct in flavor. I ate one and asked it to be cleared. Next was the fried chicken livers w pepper jelly, which was really the only good thing I tried on the menu. For mains, I was steered towards the Cajun bubble and squeak, which was just plain bad. Still, I’m glad I didn’t opt for the shrimp and grits as the ones that came w my dish were overcooked, dried out, and hadn’t even been deveined. That seems really out of character for New Orleans… who doesn’t cook shrimp properly in Louisiana?!? The whole plate was a mess; potatoes (not sure why they’re called hash browns) were so salty that neither of us could eat them. The cabbage and shrimp were stinky like a pair of fishy gym socks. It looked like half the people at other tables were leaving most of the food on their plates over. It was honestly one of the worst meals we’ve had in NOLA, which is surprising because it seems like such a local neighborhood place.

Seaworthy - This was a real surprise. I really had no expectations as I knew it was associated with the Ace Hotel and I usually don’t anticipate great meals at trendy hotel restaurants (see mediocre reviews of next door Italian spot) but we chose it primarily for ambiance (particularly the main dining room upstairs - request a window table beside the antique mantle if avail) and also for cocktails and raw bar; not to mention proximity to Civic Theatre several blocks away, where we were going after dinner. I assumed the cocktails and oysters would be great but the food was a big surprise! The local Gulf oysters were excellent but the blue crab starter was my favorite thing on the menu; it also seems to be their signature dish. The gulf seafood roll and redfish were both delicious. My wife especially loved the Gulf roll. I was really surprised that the redfish turned out as good as it was; it was a billion times better than Bon Ton! We enjoyed every cocktail (I got the holy water and another tiki inspired drink that I forget the name of) and the guava cheesecake for desert was terrific and complimentary since the waiter apologized that the owners were dining at the table next to us and treat the kitchen like its their own, lol. I really liked this place a lot!

Patois - A return visit. It was as great as always. We shared the gnocchi starter (delicious!) and I got an order of lamb ribs w pepper jelly that were so damn good. Next we shared a jumbo lump crabmeat salad and I ordered the almond crusted Gulf fish which came with a very light meuniere sauce. Desert was some sort of panna cotta w/ the most delicious local blueberry sauce that tasted so fresh and in season. My wife (still recovering from Galatoire’s lunch) went w the omelet du jour, which she declared as good as anything in France where she used to live. We ordered a bunch of cocktails: staycation, hot fuzz, I don’t remember what else. This is one of our favorite places in Nola. It’s what LPG tries to do but so much better. The service is extremely friendly but very professional and the ambiance is so wonderful and every time we’ve visited the kitchen’s firing on all cylinders. If we didn’t have an endless list of places to try, we’d both be happy to return every time!

We didn’t make it anywhere else on the trip… well a drunken late-night stop at Cafe du Monde for beignets, but that’s about it. Despite the record breaking heat, somehow we didn’t even get any snowballs this time around. And we didn’t make it to Mosca’s either, but that’s definitely happening next time we visit… it was 105F when we landed and I would’ve been very unpleasant if I hadn’t the foresight to order a small battery-powered handheld fan which I carried everywhere (even propped up on tables during meals!) and was a big hit with everyone! Next time, we’ll stick to spring travel!


Thanks @oliver
Sad about Bon Ton. I have not been in 15 years and I guess I won’t be going back.
Glad you enjoyed so many other spots to make up for it. We hit up Seaworthy shortly after it opened and were impressed.


Bon Ton isn’t bad… it just isn’t good either.