The beloved daughter of my friend was graduating from Tulane Law, and her "ungodly parents" had come to New Orleans to witness the momentous occasion. As a fitting celebration for the achievement, they took us all to dinner at Emeril's. I have to admit that it was a fabulous evening.
The restaurant itself didn't knock my socks off with its decor, which is fairly modern (interesting fixtures in the Ladies' for instance). But the service was simply incredible. We had three waitstaff assigned to our table, which meant that there was never a pause while you wondered whether you could get someone to refill a water glass or bring an extra napkin or another cocktail.
No sooner were we seated than the lovely green-edged Emeril's plates were whisked away, which I thought was a puzzling way to begin. But then one of the servers appeared with a basket of warm breads -- sweet potato, potato, and cornbread -- which we all enjoyed as our host perused the wine list. (We had a marvelous red, Chappellet, which I can highly recommend, and two other bottles which I liked less well although they found eager takers elsewhere.) The menu is quite extensive and we all took our time with it, but in the end, our host simply decided that we'd get one of every single special on the menu, plus a few additional appetizers that sounded too good to miss.
The wine arrived, and with it the first of several starters. The soft-shell crab was marvelous. The calamari were marvelous. I can't remember the other stuff, but I'm sure it was marvelous, too. There was almost a complete change of cutlery after the first course, and we all noticed that the table was laid in an odd fashion, with forks' tines pointing down and knives facing away from the plate. One of the servers explained that this had to do with the special Emeril's casting, and so naturally we had to examine the cutlery minutely (we happened to have a magnifying glass, and the host had a little flashlight on his key ring), as you can see in one of the photos.
I have to say that I was somewhat less enthralled with all the entrees. They were all beautifully presented, of course, but I found a couple of the combinations distinctly odd -- fois gras on waffles saturated with maple syrup, for example, seemed a little precious. But the boudin-stuffed quail was a treat.
Personally, I could have happily stopped there, but when I returned from a visit to the powder room, I discovered that the host had waved his magic wand and made a full panoply of desserts materialize. I couldn't imagine how we weren't going to embarrass ourselves by leaving most of them untouched, but I reckoned without the melting goodness of the key lime pie (almost worth a return trip to have again) or the flavor of the house-made gelatos. What was embarrassing was that we left almost nothing!
Of course, this kind of service and quality does not come cheaply. I'm extremely grateful that someone else was picking up the check, which approached four figures.
What can I say? The master at preparing food and serving it up in a setting fit for royalty, this was a real dining experience to say the least. I went for lunch and ordered a luncheon special. Three courses for something like thirty bucks. You were to receive your food in something like thirty minutes. I did and was very satisfied with my meal.
I ordered salmon and a salad. The fish was cooked to perfection; medium well and tender. The meal was to come with potatoes that had anduille sausage cooked in them but I don't eat red meat. The restaurant was very accommodating and served my fish with fried potatoes or onions (can't remember which) instead. The salad, which was the first course, was served with the freshest of greens and the dressing was very tasty. For dessert I ordered creme brulee and coffee.
The restaurant itself was beautiful. Quite spacious, and airy, the dining area was host to a sit around cooking area where one could watch the food being prepared. Although the main dining area may hold up to 150 or more (i'm guessing at this) I did not feel cramped or crowded. The bar area was also quite spacious and several signature drinks were par for the course. The wait staff was extremely attentive.
Favorite Dish: Since I only ate there once, i don't have a favorite dish. I can say, however, that my entire meal was delicious. I'd love to return in order to try something else. Then again, a repeat of what I had would also be fine.
emeril's new orleans is the famous television chef emeril lagasse's flagship restaurant. emeril's is known for it's main stream cajun cuisine. the seafood selections are very good and moderately priced. because emeril's is one of the most popular restaurants in new orleans service can be a little slow. reservations are a must.
It would seem strange to visit New Orleans and not take the opportunity to drop in on one of the celeb restaurants around town, so we chose Emeril's.
The restaurant's decor was warehouse-style with high ceilings and large dining expanse, intricately woven ceiling and exposed brick wall--all of these touches giving it a great deal of character. The street view through oversized windows was particularly appealing with the outdoor lamp lights reflected on the rain-soaked pavement. However, we were a bit disappointed in our dinner.
The waitstaff was moderately attentive and gave suggestions as to what was highlighted that evening. At the waiter's suggestion, Jim and I ordered a BBQ shrimp appetizer to share (5 pieces) which was very good. Our soup selection was pumpkin bisque, a smooth blending of pumpkin and spices warmed up and delicious.
I deliberated between chosing beef or the maple rosemary chicken--and ordered the chicken, as did my husband. It was full of flavor, but boney with not much meat to it. Herein lies our disappointment. We perhaps should have said something, but we didn't.
Jim and I ended our evening at Emeril's by sharing a wondrous banana creme pie topped with chocolate shavings--scrumptious! Our meal total (including a glass of wine, I think) came to $106.00.
We would certainly recommend dining at Emeril's, but cannot recommend the entree we selected.
Emeril's wasn't actually on our dining itinerary this particular trip. It was Labor Day weekend and we had trekked uptown to Jaques - Imos which I had heard good things about, only to discover it was closed until after the holiday weekend. (many local places seemed to close during the dog days of August). Disappointed, we decided to try somewhere close to where we were staying in the CBD, and Emeril's happened to be right down the block. We actually didn't expect to get in, but we were able to secure one of their lovely tables in the bar area without a wait. I sometimes enjoy the more casual atmosphere of the bar area, if you're not that hungry you don't feel bad about not ordering multiple courses or spending huge amounts on a costly bottle of wine, etc... Of course, far be it from us to be thrifty, as my boyfriend and I both ordered the tasting menu. (There were so many delicious things to choose from, I had to try as many as possible!) It was a great choice as all the courses were superb. The food, the casual elegance of the restaurant, and the great service, really saved the evening, more than making up for missing out on Jaques-imos.
Without a doubt Emeril's (NOT NOLA's or Delmonico's) was my favorite restaurant, not of N.O. but of any place I have ever eaten. It helps that I didn't have to pay, because it can be pretty expensive. But, man, is it worth it.
This is not a meal, it is an event. (Worth the price of admission.) The service is the best you can get. Everything about this place screams 5-star. The ambience is wonderful.
Favorite Dish: The menu is very dynamic, changing I think every season, so this might not be an option anymore. But the roasted lamb with rosemary mashed potatoes and asparagus. For desert I had this Grand Mariner 'thing'. It was like a pudding or something. FABULOUS!
a true reflection of the man and the Cajun influence.
a note of caution-this place is LOUD..if you want romance and ambiance, ask to be seated away from large groups.
Favorite Dish: I'm vegetarian, so I asked for a special dish. I got heirloom tomatoes in a timbale with roasted corn and dirty rice....yumm! NOTE: most restaurants in NO aren't that veggie-friendly, as I found out in two years, but if you speak to the waiters ahead of time, they tend to be accomodating, especially at some of the larger restaurants
NOLA. New Orleans Shorthand for a return address with a hurricane swirl . . . . the strength of the storm by which Emeril Lagasse has taken his adopted home New Orleans with a whirlwind of fresh adaptations of classic Creole cuisine.
The atmosphere is great in this restaurant. It is decorated beautifully, the service was great, and to top it off, the night we went Emeril himself was there!! He signed a book for my sister Sarah, who was there on her birthday. A great experience :-)
Favorite Dish: The veal was wonderful, and also the tomato bisque - this was the best food I've ever had!