Garden District's Best Lunch: Driving by the blue Victorian facade of Commander's Palace in the Garden District of New Orleans immediately invokes curiosity. What's in there? Just a five star upscale restaurant whose kitchen was tended to by a young pre-famed Emeril Legasse some many years ago is all. Commander's Palace was battered a bit by Katrina, but it is back in full force now, serving up dishes starring local meats, seafood, vegetables and fruits. In keeping with tradition, the Palace requires patrons to wear slacks and button ups, with suit jackets recommended for dinner. Stepping inside the time warp that is the front door, be prepared to experience New Orleans dining like it was, back in the day.
Garden District's Best Brunch: Driving by the blue Victorian facade of Commander's Palace in the Garden District of New Orleans immediately invokes curiosity. What's in there? Just a five star upscale restaurant whose kitchen was tended to by a young pre-famed Emeril Legasse some many years ago is all. Commander's Palace specializes in modern Creole dishes starring local meats, seafood, vegetables and fruits. In keeping with tradition, the Palace requires patrons to wear slacks and button ups, with suit jackets recommended for dinner. Stepping inside the time warp that is the front door, be prepared to experience New Orleans dining like it was, back in the day. Brunch is set to a live jazz soundtrack, three course priced in the $40s that turn any weekend into a special occasion.
Romantic Dining: The blue Victorian facade of Commander's Palace in the Garden District of New Orleans has been the site of five-star dining since 1880, and a hallmark of the Brennan family since 1974. The kitchen that gave the world Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse is now the domain of chef Tory McPhail, a fearless culinarian who earned the 2013 Best Chef in the South award from the James Beard Foundation. Everything is good, but don't miss any featured gumbo, the chargrilled oyster stew with kale, bacon and cream and local fish crusted with spiced pecans. Dan Davis' wine program is second to none, with an average of 45 wines by the glass always in rotation. Menu stand outs include Commander's Palace was renovated handsomely post-Katrina and is a gorgeous place to celebrate something special, or simply people watch and sip $.25 martinis at lunch. In keeping with tradition, Commander's requires business attire, with suit jackets recommended for dinner and jeans frowned upon. Be prepared to experience New Orleans dining at its best.
Best Restaurants: The turquoise and white awning is the first sign of good taste at this flagship of the Brennan family, housed in a gorgeous Victorian mansion in the Garden District since 1880. Sporting a post-Katrina redo that combines whimsy with elegance, Commanders is a dressy spot, no shorts or t-shirts and jackets are preferred - but not required - for gents at dinner. The kitchen, where Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme started and chef Tory McPhail now presides, delivers haute Creole specialties including oysters with absinthe and skillet seared gulf fish. From your first sip of a Sazerac to your last crumb of bread pudding soufflé, you will enjoy Brennan family hospitality at its best. Ask about chef Tory's new line of bottled sauces, all natural and full of flavor, they're a great way to take home a taste of New Orleans.
Creole: "Dirt to plate within 100 miles", is the M.O. of head Creole chef Tory McPhail of Commander's Palace, located in the Garden District of New Orleans. He strives to have 90% of his ingredients come to his restaurant from within the aforementioned distance, showing his respect and appreciation for local farmers and produce. Start off a meal with the Wild White Shrimp Rémoulade, a Creole appetizer, before segueing into the Soft Shell Crab entree. Another option is The Peacemaker, an oyster and shrimp filled po'boy that will establish your palette's po'boy standard. The restaurant offers one of the most diverse wine selections in the city, so finding something to drink with your spicy Creole food is no issue.
Beignets: Answer the siren call of the green and white signature awning to dine at Commander's Palace, the must-eat restaurant housed in a beautiful Victorian mansion in the Garden District. Chef Tory McPhail is always up to something startling, as his Crawfish Boil beignets demonstrate. Made with spicy wild crawfish tails and roasted chilies rolled into a savory sweet corn dough, these addictive bites are served with red pepper aioli and warm remoulade sauce. Lunch is less formal than dinner, but you still want to look a little uptown when you visit this iconic New Orleans restaurant. Jazz brunch is an event on Sundays.
Local Expert Beth D'Addono Says:
Garden District's Best Lunch: "25 cent martinis at lunch. That's all there is to say."
Garden District's Best Brunch: "Jazz brunch is an epic New Orleans experience at this Creole institution."
Romantic Dining: "Have a drink at the back bar - you get there through the kitchen, and ask to see the private wine room for a real wow!"
Best Restaurants: "Two course lunches are just $16, best enjoyed 25 cent martinis at lunch - "only" three to a customer."
Creole: "Reservations are required at the Palace on Washington Ave."
Beignets: "Yes, the restaurant serve 25-cent martinis at lunch, reason enough to head to Commander's."
Best for Garden District's Best Lunch Because: Lunching at Commander's Palace allows you to indulge in their scrumptious meals at a fraction of what it would cost at dinner.
Best for Garden District's Best Brunch Because: Commander's Palace offers a swank brunch priced in the $40s, three courses if Creole goodness that guarantees a special occasion.
Best for Romantic Dining Because: Bucket list eating starts with Commander's Palace in New Orleans.
Recommended as Best Restaurants Because: This is an iconic New Orleans eatery, the shining star in the Brennan family crown.
Best for Creole Because: This is a bucket list restaurant that is part of New Orleans dining culture.
Best for Beignets Because: This flagship of the Brennan family offers a seminal New Orleans dining experience
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