New Orleans is one of those cities for eating out; lots of very good restaurants and lots of seafood. So TPP has done his best, mostly with the help of Mrs. Phactor and the recommendations of others, to sample several restaurants that are well above average. Our choices included two well established classics and two up and coming restaurants: Mulates, NOLA, SoBou, and Kingfish. Take these comments for what they are worth; but TPP would not steer you wrong.
Mulates is old New Orleans, Cajun home cooking and live Cajun music. Definitely family friendly and a reasonable value; you will not leave hungry; the portions are big, too big really. But it is a classic. You can't get a better value on food and music especially if you have kids. Who's in the kitchen? Someone's Cajun mother. Here's the near perfect red beans and rice with Andouille sausage. NOLA - This is Emeril Lagasse's casual restaurant, and it too is now a classic. This is a good as Cajun food can get. A few more progressive elements do sneak onto the menu like blueberry-lavender sorbet (quite memorable). Without question this is fine dining based on Cajun classics. TPP had a garlic-parmesan cheese crusted filet of drum. Wonderful, although two decades ago no one would have thought of eating drum, but so it goes in a world of overfishing. Mrs. Phactor had smoked duck, a very rich dish. SoBou (south of Bourbon) is a relatively young restaurant that in terms of ambiance seems a bit out of place in the French Quarter. It's décor would be more at home in New York. The menu is sort of a New Orleans fusion. The BBQ pork ribs came with a habanero infused cotton candy that was pretty funky, but very good. TPP had an heirloom tomato salad with beans and corn that was excellent. Also his Old Fashioned cocktail was the best he's ever been served, although Stephanie Izzard's (Girl and a Goat) was a close second. Last, but not least, Kingfish is only 4 months in business, but you would never know; it was running on all cylinders. TPP would call this modern New Orleans from the nicely renovated but period décor, the Huey Long memorabilia, and an up-dated menu. Rather than sports, the TV over the bar was playing old Doris Day movies. Go figure, but a nice change of pace. TPP got the best mint julep ever. All four of us rated our meals superior, flavorful, attractive, nicely presented, and just plain excellent. It was impossible to pick the best dish. A warm loaf of fresh bread came to the table in its paper wrapper along with a zesty pimento cheese spread. This was a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience. The heat and humidity this week have been a might oppressive, but NO remains irrepressible. Love this place. TPP should mention that the waiters and waitresses here are the most personable, friendly, and professional you will ever experience, and it seems quite genuine, not just smoozing for tips. Let TPP know if you've been in any of these places.
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