If slaving away in the kitchen doesn’t sound much like a holiday, let the chefs in the Crescent City cook up a delicious meal with all the trimmings for you. Although New Orleans’ seafood industry has absorbed some big blows over the last five years, due to Hurricane Katrina, the economic downturn, and the oil spill in the Gulf, chefs are adamant to maintain New Orleans’ haute cuisine status. There are a bounty of restaurants and staff ready and willing to do all the Thanksgiving cooking for you.
So if you’re looking for an exciting place to visit over the upcoming holiday, New Orleans has plenty to offer, including some of the finest cuisine in all the nation. All you need to do is show up with an appetite.
Here’s a sampling of what some of the top restaurants in the Big Easy will be serving for Thanksgiving.
Chef Chris Montero has pulled out all the stops this holiday with the three-course Thanksgiving menu sure to satisfy even the largest of appetites. Starting at $32, the dinners include a choice of appetizer, main course and dessert. Go the seafood route with calamari Creole, grilled filet of gulf fish or main lobster. You can also feast on the traditional turkey dinner with giblet gravy, cranberry sauce and pancetta cornbread dressing. The most expensive option is the grilled Black Angus filet mignon, served with black Umbrian truffle butter, fingerling potatoes, baby vegetables and a rich veal demi-glace for $49.
Commander’s Palace www.commanderspalace.com
Here you’ll discover contemporary Creole cuisine at its finest. Signature dishes include turtle soup with sherry, Parmesan-crusted oysters and bread pudding soufflé. The restaurant is open 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Turkey Day, and they serve a three-course menu with several options, and prices range from $35 to $55. Bonus: the New Orleans Saints play on Thanksgiving Day, so Commander’s Palace will also serve Thanksgiving on Wednesday night. What a good way to feast before exerting your energies cheering at the big game.
A meal at Broussard’s in the French Quarter is an old-fashioned spectacle not to be missed. Fine china, chandeliers and polished wood woods offer an air of elegance that will make your time at the restaurant feel like a holiday. Start your $45 Thanksgiving meal with a trio of oysters; Parma ham with asparagus; or a yummy sweet potato, shrimp and corn bisque. Oven-roasted turkey is dressed with candied yams and bread and sausage stuffing. If turkey’s not your thing, dine on garlic and mustard-crusted sirloin, barbecued pork loin or a fried redfish. Dessert is sweet and decadent with your choice of cranberry walnut torte or vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce with toasted almonds.
This jazz bistro envelopes you in style, from its gorgeous mosaic floors to the ornate bar. The meal begins with Arnaud’s signature dish, the shrimp Arnaude—fresh Gulf shrimp marinated in a tangy Creole remoulade sauce. Wet your appetite further with a green salad tossed with spiced pecans, dried cranberries and a sweet cane syrup vinaigrette. Here you’ll be served Thanksgiving turkey with cornbread or oyster dressing and candied yams. Or, you can choose the stuffed pork loin or the gulf fish Amadine, which is a crisply fried, almond-crusted fillet topped with a lemon butter sauce. Pecan pie or chocolate ganache wrap up the meal, and you get it all for $42.50 per person.
Ralph’s on the Park www.ralphsonthepark.com
For a more relaxed, neighborhood vibe, opt for Ralph’s on the Park, which is nestled among the live oak trees and clapboard houses of the City Park neighborhood. Begin your meal with some authentic Louisiana cuisine: turtle soup, shrimp remoulade or crab beignets. The second courses are homey and satisfying. Select from a dizzying array of six choices for the main course, which include the traditional roasted turkey, bbq shrimp or blackened fish with crab butter sauce. There’s something for everyone’s sweet tooth, too. Prices start at $36 per person.