In New Orleans, the Three Grand Dames of French Quarter dining are Antoine’s, Galatoire’s and Arnaud’s. All three are on my Foodie Bucket List. Since I was only going to be in town 1 day, I could only pick 1 for this visit and it was going to be for Sunday Brunch.
I messaged my friend Luis to enlist his expertise. He suggested Arnaud’s. His friend Augie works there and he helped to make my visit pure perfection.
When you step into Arnaud’s, the decor takes your breath away. Bold red and white stripes, ornate mirrors, and statues line the hall to the reception desk. It is meant to make a statement and it does it well.
You are then seated in the Dining Room. Classically decorated, bright and cheerful, you have to snap yourself back to present reality after imagining all the special occasions and milestones in people’s lives that have been celebrated here in the last 100 years.
There is a 3 piece (trumpet, bass and banjo) jazz band that makes the rounds. The trumpet player has a deep voice that made me close my eyes and believe him when he crooned “Summertime and the living is easy”. They take requests and they have their favorites.
Here is how Brunch works at Arnaud’s. Bread and butter come to the table. You choose an appetizer. Then you get a salad. The price of your meal depends on the entree you choose. Then you pick your dessert.
First up for my Foodie Dream Meal was the Shrimp Arnaud – chilled shrimp with a spicy remoulade sauce. This is the restaurant’s signature dish. It is very rich and there is a lot of it. It was delicious.
Next they brought out the salad. I loved the crunchy pistachios.
I chose the Crab Cakes with a White Remoulade drizzle. The crispy fried cakes were large and the crab was super fresh. After tasting it, I felt like holding my head back and laughing in delight. But since I was by myself and being fancy, I refrained.
I had a hard time choosing dessert so I asked my server to choose for me.
Soon, Strawberries Arnaud arrived. Fresh strawberries marinaded in Port Wine Sauce, served over Brocato’s French vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream. There is a cookie shaped like a spoon I used to dip in the luscious whipped cream. Served in a metal bowl, the ice cream stays frozen in the smooth sauce.
To top my experience off, the band came over and chatted for a bit. Then they played Louis Armstrong’s On The Sunny Side Of The Street just for me.
At the conclusion of the meal, I stood up and was drunk on food. The 15 minute stroll back to the hotel was needed. After my 4:00 am start that morning, so was a nap.
Here are a few important things to know before going to Arnaud’s:
- Reservations are needed.
- There is a dress code.
- For gentlemen, collared shirts are required & jackets are preferred. No shorts, t-shirts, or flip flops are permitted.
- Bring an appetite. You don’t want to waste a meal like this if you are just sort of hungry.
- Plan on spending a couple of hours here. Each course is served separately and meant to be savored.
- Tip well. The service here is exemplary and the staff know what they are doing. They go above and beyond to make sure your expectations are exceeded.
Location: 29.95579, -90.06869