Trip Report Part One: Royal House, Brennan's, Commander's, Saint John

My husband Jerry and I just returned from a brief four night stay in New Orleans. Loved every minute of it. Great sights, sounds, people and food. Being our first visit to NOLA, I did a lot of research on hotels, restaurants and music venues. Overall I believe we chose well but would love to return and discover more. I divided this report is in two parts to accommodate all the photos .

We arrived to NOLA’s airport at 11 a.m., took a taxi ($36 flat fee) and were at the Hotel Provincial in the quiet side of the French Quarter, at 11:20. So we decided to go for an early lunch. A couple of Louisiana residents on a YouTube video highly touted the jambalaya with blackened chicken at Royal House at 441 Royal Street. Even though Royal House specializes in oysters and seafood (no go for me, I’m allergic), the couple said this non-seafood jambalaya was their favorite in NOLA. So we gave it a whirl, and loved it. The rice had a depth of creole spices while not being too spicy or overwhelming and was cooked perfectly. The blackened chicken along with andouille sausage was a flavorful contrast. Thumbs WAY up for this dish. Seafood lovers, you can get this with shrimp instead of chicken. While walking to the restaurant we saw so many people carrying drinks with them, we decided to try our first Hurricane at Royal House. I thought it was a bit too heavy and acidic for my taste, but Jerry liked it. I did however like the Voodoo Juice Cocktail, which was blue from curacao and lighter overall. Nice meal and great introduction to the flavor of New Orleans.



Brennan’s is just a couple doors down from Royal House so we decided to stop in after lunch to see if we could try their famous Bananas Foster. We did not have a reservation so I asked the man at the front desk if they could accommodate us just for dessert. (My husband was wearing a collared shirt and unlined black sportscoat which he wears when we go to places with dress codes on our trips). While there was not a table available, the man said we could sit at the bar if we’d like. We liked. So we ordered the Bananas Foster, which is prepared tableside, and in our case barside. It was delicious, rich and caramelly. We also enjoyed a lemon/pineapple spritzer and coffee. Tip: If you want to go to Brennan’s observe dress code and be polite to front desk.




I wanted one splurge meal at a New Orleans stalwart and the contenders were Brennan’s, Arnaud’s, Antoine’s, Galatoire’s and Commander’s Palace. (If K-Paul’s hadn’t closed, that would have been my choice). I chose Commander’s Palace, where Emeril Lagasse and the late Paul Prudhomme honed their craft. We went to the Jazz Brunch which is served on Saturdays and Sundays (make rezzie well in advance). I was hoping for a nice meal, but wasn’t expecting so much fun as well. There are balloons on each table as well as a three piece band that goes table to table playing requests. I asked for some Herb Alpert and got some nice trumpet licks. The table next to us had a bride-to-be and the whole room joined in the chorus of Chapel of Love. I was feeling no pain while sipping their signature Vodka Collins. My favorite drink of the trip.

The food in a nutshell, was excellent. The price of each entree on the brunch menu includes a starter and dessert, which I thought was a good value. Of course extra libations will up the bill.

For starters, we had Biscuits and Gravy, a traditionally heavy breakfast dish that was surprisingly whimsical and light. CP’s version consisted of tiny “buttermilk biscuit beignets,” little pillowy puffs, topped with andouille gravy and chicory coffee crumble. Unexpected and delicious.

We also tried the Turtle Soup (a first for us) which was rich in flavor from the trinity - onions, celery and green pepper.

Entrees: Perfectly seasoned and cooked Tournedos of Beef, and Grilled Tenderloin Pork.

Desserts: A proper warm pecan pie with housemade ice cream and Cookies & Cocoa with delicious cinnamon ice cream. Why isn’t cinnamon a more common ice cream flavor? It’s delicious. We were so full from this meal that we skipped dinner and just opted for a nightcap at our hotel’s bar.








We had the pleasure to dine at Saint John for our last meal in New Orleans. Chose it based on recommendations on this board and a New Orleans Facebook page. Wow food, cool decor and vibe! Ask for a seat at the Chef’s Table, a long counter in front of the open kitchen. Chef Kent (did not catch his last name) treated us like royalty, offering up extra dishes for us to taste.

Wow#1: Smothered Turkey Necks. Kent said we had to try them. Absolutely delicious. The meaty necks were roasted then slow-braised in a rich brown sauce. A great dish to share.

A simple green salad was tossed with a light sugarcane dressing and crunchy toasted pecans. Gumbo was rich with a touch of spice. Macaroni and cheese was served in a cake-like wedge. A double cut pork chop was tender and had a flavorful glaze. People next to us were enjoying whole deep-fried trout.

Wow#2: Creole Beef Daube (Short Ribs) were some of the best short ribs I have ever tasted. Braised in red wine, very French and super tender. A++.

Bottomline: Great food and ambiance at Saint John.









That turtle soup at Commander’s (excellent choice) is one of my all time favorites and also at one of my all time favorite restaurants. They make it a special occasion, so elegant but fun too. The beignets there look great too - i like how they experiment w various savory beignets. You ate well!

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Great report! Agree about the ambiance at Saint John, such a lively festive vibe.

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Excited to hear about St. John — got a rez there for Friday :partying_face:

Have a great time!

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Wow - jealous!!!

I’ll be there on Saturday, don’t eat all the oysters.

I think there may be a few of them left. But I’m here another day :wink:

Oh, I thought you were there on the 25th. I’ll call and make sure they re-order before I arrive!

A good friend of mine and oyster lover arrives on Tuesday. She may just snarf them all up before you get there :slight_smile:

I will try to post a NOLA report once I put the fork down.

Thank you. Heading that way in September.