"The energetic vibe at NOLA starts before the restaurant opens when the staff holds its nightly pep rallies."
The scene: Just two blocks from Jackson Square, this spot is the most casual (and touristy) of the three. Exposed brick walls and a glass elevator to the second floor lend a hip vibe to this eatery in the heart of the French Quarter.
Lagasse’s Lagniappe: “People ask, why do you have Vietnamese influences on the menu? Well, about 65% to 75% of our fishing fleet is now Vietnamese. That’s why―because that’s what NOLA stands for. NOLA reflects what’s happening in the state.”
Our pick: The duck confit-and-Parmesan pizza, drizzled with truffle oil and topped with arugula, stood out as one of the best dishes we ate in any of Emeril’s restaurants. Almost sweet, balanced with the earthy flavors of truffles and duck, it packs a surprising flavor.
The scene: The 19th-century building on St. Charles Avenue used to be a private club for gentlemen in New Orleans, complete with a boxing area upstairs. That kind of genteel history still fills the place. Chandeliers, an elegant bar downstairs, and floor-to-ceiling windows create a sense of old-world romanticism.
Lagasse’s Lagniappe: “When we bought Delmonico, I thought about how these classic New Orleans places needed to be preserved, how there were very few of them left―Antoine’s, Galatoire’s, Broussard’s, Delmonico’s, Commander’s Palace. I finally said, ‘You know what? I’m going to bring back as much of the classic New Orleans stuff as I can.’”
Our pick: Just for the pageantry of it, you need to try a Caesar salad prepared tableside. Then sample the duck leg and thigh in a cassoulet of beans, roasted squash, and French sausage. It’s hearty and filling, as are many dishes at Delmonico. But you don’t come to New Orleans to diet, do you?
"Three Sides of Emeril" is from the May 2008 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.