On this trip I wanted try as many new places as I could. I started off with dinner at the Maringy Brasserie, 640 Frenchmen Street near the music clubs (504) 945-4472. I had an excellent blackened red fish with crawfish cream sauce and Southern fried rice.
Next was lunch at Dooky Chase Restaurant 2301 Orleans Ave in Treme. (504) 821-0535. I had their gumbo and Shrimp Clemenceau that is shrimp with nice flavor and small fried potatoes with peas. They also had a great looking buffet that I only resisted because I would eat too much. Frommer’s wrote, “For decades, Leah and husband Dooky Chase have served prominent African-American politicians, musicians, and businesspeople Chef Leah's classic soul food as gloriously influenced by the city's French, Sicilian, and Italian traditions. This was the place people like Ray Charles (who wrote "Early in the Morning" about it) would come to after local shows and stay up until the wee hours telling stories and eating gumbo -- one of the city's best.”
Dinner was at Coop’s Place 1109 Decatur St. in the Lower French Quarter. I had gone there once before and sat next to an off duty chef who had the crawfish with tasso ham cream sauce on pasta. I had to come back to try it and the dish did not disappoint. It was the single best dish I had on the trip and was only $10.
Breakfast was nice creme pie at Croissant D'or Patisserie 617 Ursulines Ave in the lower French Quarter. I have been here many times and it was close to my hotel. As the name implies their croissants was excellent.
I went to Magazine Street for lunch at Casamento’s 4330 Magazine St. (504) 895-9761, a place I have long wanted to try. It is famous for its oysters and the oyster man was very busy at the bar. I had oyster bisque and a soft shell crab loaf. They call it a loaf because it is not on French bread like a poboy but was really good anyway.
Dinner was at the bar at Dick & Jenny’s, 4501 Tchoupitoulas Street, (504) 894-9880. I had two appetizers: Duck confit pie and fried frogs’ legs in a crystal hot sauce butter with cole slaw. Both were excellent. They came with a nice basket of cornbread and I did a painting of it that you can see below. This was another place I had wanted to go. Like Cassamento’s and Coop’s Place, they do not take reservations but it is easier as one to get into these places without a wait.
When I came back to New Orleans from the Lafayette Opelousas area I started with breakfast at Stanley’s. My hotel recommended it. I had walked by the place many times but because it was on Jackson Square I had assumed it was a tourist place. The food was actually excellent. I had a variation on Eggs Benedict with two poached eggs sitting on top of some boudin sausage from Charlie T’s in the Lafayette area, hollandaise sauce and French bread. It is now on my list of places to trust in the Quarter.
I had lunch at Willie Mae's Scotch House (2401 St. Ann Street, 504.822.9503). It serves some of the best fried chicken I have eaten: “caramel brown, audibly crisp, juicy as meat can naturally be.” It was also the only place that was a repeat for lunch or dinner except for Coop’s Place where I had a very different dish from the first visit. Of course at Willie Mae’s I repeated the fried chicken with some very flavorful green beans and a nice rice side with subtle light sauce.
Dinner was at Clancy’s 6100 Annunciation Street (504) 895-1111. Prior to the 80s it had been a neighborhood bar and poboy restaurant similar in style to those found in nearly every New Orleans neighborhood at the time. Then it was transformed into a white table cloth place serving classic Creole cuisine. It was another place I have wanted to try for some time. I had two appetizers at the bar, shrimp remoulade and a rabbit sausage en coute with a nice sauce.
On my way to the airport I had lunch at Luizza’s by the Track 1518 N. Lopez 504-218-7888 near the Fairgrounds race track, site of Jazzfest. I had their award winning gumbo that was the best I had on this trip and some excellent shrimp remoulade. After lunch I walked around the area on a warm sunny day in December in the mid-70s and wondered way I was getting on a plane to go North.
The best value for money in alphabetical order are: Coop's Place, Luizza's by the Track and Willie Mae's. The best high end place for me remains at Patois located at Laurel Street near the zoo. I did not eat there this time as I wanted to try new places but on a past trip I ate both lunch and dinner there. The dish you see below is a potato gnocchi with crawfish. We had it for lunch and then again at dinner. You also see their gumbo. We also had the roasted pheasant breast and confit leg and almond crusted Gulf fish, as well as a crispy duck confit salad. 6078 Laurel Street 504.895.9441.