Commander’s Palace

For many, myself included, Commanders Palace is the quintessential New Orleans restaurant. I mean how can you not love a place that offers $.25 martinis at lunch. Owned since 1974 by the legendary Brennan family, Commander’s Palace launched the careers of renowned chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse and current chef Tory McPail was recently named a James Beard “Best Chef.” Garnering top ratings from Zagat and others and with a Wine Spectator Grand Award wine list, Commander’s is a must stop when you are in New Orleans.

Located among the mansions in the Garden District, Commander’s serves lunch and dinner Monday-Friday and an amazing Jazz Brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Hard to decide which meal to enjoy when you only have a few days in town.

The cooking here is described as modern New Orleans cooking meets haute Creole. McPail’s dirt to plate within 100 miles policy means they strive for 90% of their ingredients to come from within 100 miles. They even grow 1403 herbs on their own roof!

There’s so much to like on this menu, but here are some things you won’t want to miss; Soups 1-1-1 where you get a small taste of turtle, gumbo and the soup du jour; Cornbread Panzanella, Covey Rise Farm greens,drunken blueberries, cornbread croutons and pistachio crusted goat cheese with blackberry St. Germain vinaigrette; Pecan Crusted Gulf Fish with crushed sweet corn, spiced pecans, petite herbs, and Prosecco poached Louisiana blue crab. For dessert try the Louisianna Blueberry Buckle, Ponchatoula blueberries with pecans, white chocolate, and Creole cream cheese gelato.

The wine list is quite spectacular as you might expect with a “Grand” award, but it also has “60 Great Wines for Under $60” which is a great feature. Be sure to arrive a little early so you can enjoy one of the creative cocktails at the bar.

ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: This is a loud and lively place. Not too romantic, but who cares?

AAA Four Diamond Award
Wine Spectator Grand Award

The “nostalgic”, “old-world” ambiance will “make you feel like a king or queen” at this “genteel” Garden District Creole icon (the city’s Most Popular restaurant), as will the “first-class” staff (considered the Big Easy’s best) that treats “everyone the same: spectacularly”; “rich”, “leisurely” dinners are an “experience to savor”, and made even more “epic” by a “phenomenal wine list”, so it’s a “splurge” that’s “worth every penny”, though some “prefer” the “fabulous” lunch (could it be the “25-cent martinis”?); P.S. no shorts or T-shirts; jackets suggested for men. ZAGAT