A brief trip report from a recent long weekend in a city that I adore and don't get to nearly enough:
Luke -- Ate at the bar as I was dining solo and late night. Loved it. Their pate dish is probably the best I've ever had. I also really liked the shrimp and grits, although I would probably prefer to turn the cheese level down from an 11 to an 8. Great cocktails but a mediocre beer list. That being said, this a great spot for a late night bite at a bar.
Domilise's -- I really liked the vibe of this place. However, I thought their shrimp po boy was good but nothing exceptional. I think the ketchup they add when it's dressed really detracts from it. It's way off the beaten path, but if you want to spend a few hours walking up Magazine St to the Quarter (a terrific way to see the city), it's a good launching point for that.
Parkway Tavern -- Holy mother of god. This is the best po boy I've had by orders of magnitude. Both the shrimp po boy and the roast beef are out of this world. The bread is on point and the shrimp were perfectly fried. As if they need to accomplish anything else, the gumbo was fan-frickin-tastic as well. Ate at the bar which was the perfect setting for it all. Loved it so much our group came back a few days later on the way to the airport. If I lived in this wonderful city, I'd be there every week.
Cochon Butcher -- Another knockout. Their hot muffuletta is my new benchmark for the sandwich. It makes Central Grocery seem so average by comparison. Tried their cubano too, although I'm more of a traditionalist on these and wasn't blown away. Their beer list is terrific as well. Awesome spot.
Restaurant Rebirth -- Our only miss of the trip. The food was OK, but nothing special. The service was adequate but lacked warmth and our red wine tasted like it came from a 85 degree room. Nothing to write home about and I would suggest skipping it with all of the other amazing options one has.
Shaya -- Wow. Just wow. I'm a huge fan of Middle Eastern food and this place did not disappoint. The pita is otherworldly good as were every single meze and dish we ordered. Service was phenomenal. This place deserves all of the praise it is getting.
Gumbo Shop -- In my search for some good red beans and rice and jambalaya on a non-Monday, this place was recommended by a bartender. I think the quote was "If it comes out of a large pot, they do it well. Just don't order anything else there." Our group enjoyed it quite a bit. Beer selection isn't that good and it's definitely touristy, but I enjoyed the red beans and rice, our primary reason for the visit.
Bacchanal -- No longer a well kept secret for locals, but his place is still awesome. A nice cheese plate and a few bottles of wine and beer to launch the evening while listening to great music outdoors. Loved it.
Le Bon Temps Roule -- Such a cool spot. The Soul Rebels were playing and they were terrific. We really enjoyed the venue and the crowd, which definitely skewed toward the younger side.
R Bar (1431 Royal St) -- It turns out that just about my perfect ideal of a bar happens to reside on the outskirts of the madness of the Quarter right along the long walk to Frenchman. Their beer list is very extensive, they've got a great jukebox, and their clientele are mostly interesting locals. We actually went back for a second visit on our short trip out there, a testament to how much we loved it. There's a certain punk rock ethos to the place, just in case that's not your cup of tea.
Lots of other late night standards (Molly's on the Market, Absinthe House, Spotted Cat, DBA) were hit and thoroughly enjoyed.
All in all, a terrific long weekend in one of the greatest cities in this country.