Sylvain

**** (4 stars)

This intimate gastropub is a great place to dine by candlelight.

The wine list is a bit limited and the selections rather quirky, but there are plenty of cocktails.

The short menu is heavy on gastropub staples like pork and beef cheeks, but they also have a good hamburger, and a fairly sophisticated scallop entree.

My favorite was the chicken sandwich, which has been voted among the top 25 in the country, and with good reason. A think, succulent slab of white meat is  sealed in a wonderful crust without being greasy at all. Served with house made pickles on a bun, with fresh from the fryer crispy fries. Four condiments elevated it even further.

The root beer float was a great dessert.

Service was friendly and attentive. Recommended.

Sylvain
625 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 265-8123
http://www.yelp.com/biz/sylvain-new-orleans

GW Fins

**** (4 stars)

I love the interior decor of this place, which is fairly intimate, even when bustling. The metallic fish room dividers are particularly cool, and the lighting is dramatic yet subdued.

There’s an extensive list of wines by the glass, mostly white. We grazed our way through six different appetizers and two entrees. The appetizers where the standouts, particularly the tuna crudo, tuna tacos, and shrimp remoulade. Cobia crudo was also good, but needed a bit more citrus drizzle.

Parmesan crusted sheepshead (the fish, not the ovine kind) was an interesting and unconventional offering.

Service was quick and helpful.

GW Fins
808 Bienville St
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 581-3467
http://www.yelp.com/biz/gw-fins-new-orleans-2

Restaurant R’evolution

***** (5 stars)

This was our best meal in New Orleans, one of those magical evenings where everything comes together to create perfection.

R’evolution is a sprawling space in the Sonesta Hotel. Each room is decorated differently, and has a different ambience. While all of them looked great, most were very energetic, so I was happy we were seated in the more refined Bienville room.

All of the food we had was great, but I was particularly impressed by my selections. The foie gras mousses was served in a jar accompanied by toast, pickled vegetables, and four condiments, all for the ridiculously low price of $6. Quail three ways was stunning. Each quail was completely different, and all were deboned to make them easy to eat.

The 10,000 bottle wine list is full of gems, and some are at reasonable price points. There is also a dessert beverage cart with some really interesting offerings. We couldn’t pass up the 1907 Madeira, a Malvasia which might be the best Madeira I’ve had, which is saying a lot.

A tour of the restaurant and kitchen afterwards was the perfect way to end a perfect meal.

Restaurant R’evolution
777 Bienville St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 553-2277
http://www.yelp.com/biz/restaurant-revolution-new-orleans-3

Emeril’s New Orleans

***** (5 stars)

Coming from Orlando, I’ve eaten at Emeril’s at Citywalk many times, so we wanted to check out the original while in New Orleans. We stopped in for lunch, and I have to say that in all respects I found it superior to the Orlando version. The space is smaller, more nicely decorated, the acoustics are better, the food was perfectly prepared, and the service was extremely gracious.

The barbecue shrimp is a favorite appetizer, but the mini lettuce wrap taco concoctions are my new favorite. Duck wings were mighty sticky! The glazed salmon entree was great.

I would definitely go out of my way to return to this original location on future visits.

Emeril’s New Orleans
800 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 528-9393
http://www.yelp.com/biz/emerils-new-orleans-new-orleans

Café Du Monde

***** (5 stars)

This place serves basically two things, coffee and beignets, and you want both of them. The cafe au lait is excellent, and the famous beignets are crisp outside, fluffy inside, and buried in powdered sugar. There is always a long line here for both seating and take out, so allow time, or plan to come at an off time (if there is one).

Café Du Monde
French Market
800 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 525-4544
http://www.yelp.com/biz/caf%C3%A9-du-monde-new-orleans-12

Alberto’s Cheese & Wine Bistro

***** (5 stars)

This little gem in the Farmer’s Market section of the French Market offers just two seats at the counter and four tables across the aisle. The muffulettas are huge, and stuffed with a mild olive salad, served on excellent crunchy bread. The cheese plates–available with three or five cheeses–feature your choice of top quality cheeses, and are served with grilled bread and crackers. The spinach salad is huge, and may be one of the most healthful choices in all of the French Quarter. Service is very friendly.

Alberto’s Cheese & Wine Bistro
1100 N Peters St
Bay 11
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 522-0507
http://www.yelp.com/biz/albertos-cheese-and-wine-bistro-new-orleans

Café Amelie

***** (5 stars)

There are few better places for lunch on a nice day in the French Quarter than Cafe Amelie. It’s secluded garden patio is an oasis from the touristy surroundings.

The lunch menu features New Orleans standards such as blackened catfish, along with creative starters like glazed shrimp. The breads are delicious, and there are some nice wines and cocktails, all at reasonable prices.

Service is very friendly and gracious.

Café Amelie
912 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 412-8965
http://www.yelp.com/biz/caf%C3%A9-amelie-new-orleans-2

Commander’s Palace

*** (3 stars)

This century old establishment is still doing things the same way they always have. The sprawling dining rooms cover much of the block, with the nicest rooms upstairs, and the least nice through the kitchen and across the enclosed patio.

We began with the soup sampler, a nice way to get a reasonable size sampling of their famous turtle soup, the best of the three. (No turtle is used in the soup.)

Entrees were less impressive. My giant lamb rack was nicely crusted and cooked, but may have been the toughest lamb I’ve ever had.

Desserts also seemed pretty run of the mill.

The wine list is designed to impress, and it certainly impressed the Wine Spectator, who awarded it the stamp of Excellence. Unfortunately the prices seem designed to avoid depleting inventory. While there are 60 wines at under $60 featured at the front of the menu, and there are plenty of prestige bottles at $400 and up, there are surprisingly few gems in the range in between, making it a difficult list.

Service was definitely a well-oiled machine, although like a machine it seemed a bit mechanical. Perhaps that’s the only way to cope with so many tables.

Commander’s Palace
1403 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 899-8221
http://www.yelp.com/biz/commanders-palace-new-orleans-2