As summer approaches, the city that care forgot slows down just a little bit more encouraging you to enjoy a leisurely lunch. When that lunch runs late it takes you right in to Happy Hour. It’s almost summer in New Orleans, relax, enjoy! (note the soft shell crab photo, yes, tis the season for soft shell crabs – word on the wharf is that they are coming in slow and there is concern that the BP oil spill three years ago is starting to show it’s effects).
Many of the city’s fine dining establishments offer lovely summer lunch and happy hour incentives to encourage the Big Easy lifestyle. Laissez le bon temp roulez!
The offerings will take you all around town. Let’s start in the old town – the French Quarter – at the oldest restaurant in the city, Antoine’s. This classic restaurant has been serving French-Creole cuisine since 1840! They set the standard for dining in New Orleans over 160 years ago, yet they continue to stay contemporary, such as the addition of the Hermes Bar.
Their summer lunch teaser is the $20.13 three course lunch. As I mentioned earlier, take your time. Although Antoine’s lost the fabulous wine cellar after Katrina, the wine list is still stellar and of course the bar can create a light and refreshing libation for you. The prix fixe menu includes many of their classic dishes such as the Oysters Rockeller. When the dish was first created, the sauce was so rich and buttery, they decided to name it after the richest baron of the time…John D. Rockefeller. The entree selection covers the gamut with pork, veal or fish offerings.
You’ll have to wait until after Father’s Day to enjoy the annual Bayona anniversary Martini lunch special. It runs from June 19 through September. This will be their 23th anniversary, which means we can enjoy 23 cent martini’s, gin or vodka. If you’re not a fan of the martini, they will allow you to substitute with a Manhattan or Lemon Drop. Yippee!!!
Be certain to have the meal to go with it, you don’t want to be under the table too early in the day.The $23.00 Anniversary lunch special includes soup or salad, any entree (yes, any entree on the menu) plus a scoop of ice cream.
Now, one of the best values is the Palace Cafe temperature lunch special. Yesterday’s temperature is today’s 2-course lunch special price. For instance, it was 90 degrees yesterday, so today’s Oyster Boudin with citrus pepper jelly lunch (special changes daily) is $9.00. That comes with soup or salad. This runs all summer long, so as you can see the price just keeps going up and up, hopefully never past $10.00
For your down home lunch option, head to the Treme for Willie Mae’s 3-piece fried chicken lunch special at Willie’s Mae’s Scotch House. Now this special comes with a qualification, Wednesdays for locals, Thursdays for students and Friday’s for seniors. Bring an I.D.
Moving on to a few of the happy hours – wait, let me be more specific. Moving on to the Brennan Family happy hour. This family of world-class restauranteurs clearly enjoys an afternoon libation and an opportunity to relax with good company. The three happy hours below are all Brennan restaurants.
SoBou in the French Quarter (former location of Bacco) likes to say call their gathering, Happier Hour.
SoBou boasts BarBar’s Sips and Snacks: $3 – $6 from 3 – 6 PM. This self proclaimed Spirited Restaurant was selected as one of the 10 best new restaurants in America 2012 by Esquire Magazine. So Bou – so very good.
Commander’s Palace, a landmark of fine dining, offers 2 appetizers and 1 cocktail for $20.00. They’re showing the signs of the times. They used to offer a glass of wine with the summer special, but the the current cocktail craze has obviously provided a change. So feel free to challenge the mixologist with your favorite summer delight.
I’ve saved my favorite happy hour for last, Ralph’s on the Park. My favorite because it comes with live music. Tues – Thursday one of the city’s premiere piano players sets the mood in the bar. I never sit in the dining room at this Brennan Restaurant, always the bar, it is much warmer and friendlier in the bar. Plus you have the music. The special here is 3 appetizers with one glass of wine for $28.00. I often request the 2 and 2 special. 2 apps, 2 wines. But that’s me.
See you out and about in New Orleans for lunch and happy hour!
Every thing lovely,
Out and About is a weekly blog by Leslie Compton of Every Thing Lovely, a special event and creative consulting team, and is sponsored by Key to NOLA Properties, a full service real estate brokerage firm specializing in furnished rental properties in New Orleans. Key to NOLA Properties and Every Thing Lovely have joined forces to provide a full array of services for travelers’ (and locals’) personal and professional needs while in the Crescent City.