A man's hand pouring wine at Emeril's restaurant

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Dining at iconic Emeril’s in New Orleans

As fate would have it, I was celebrating a milestone birthday in New Orleans. After contemplating where to spend the momentous occasion, I knew only one place would due. New Orleans hometown hero, a place that has shared Creole cuisine with countless guests over decades, the one and only: Emeril’s. Emeril’s in New Orleans, nestled in the Warehouse District, is not just a place you go to consume food. It’s a place you go to feast on forty eight years worth of culinary expertise. Where you experience theater, and, ingest… art.

The very first amuse bouche, in the open kitchen
The very first amuse bouche, in the open kitchen

Who is Emeril Lagasse?

Unfortunately, Emeril himself was not at the restaurant during the evening I dined there. However, his son, also named Emeril, who is twenty one years young, is now at the helm of the Lagasse flagship.

Emeril Lagasse, belongs to a very special little club we’ve coined as “Celebrity Chefs.” Not only has he been cooking up masterpieces since 1990 at the Emeril’s flagship. But, apparently, his career really began as a teenager working at a Portuguese bakery.

Emeril, born to a Portuguese mother and French Canadian father, is globally known restauranteur, cookbook author, television personality, husband and father. Chef Lagasse is the owner, operator and chef of 10 restaurants.

A Tale of Two Tasting Menus

There are two tasting menus to choose from at the flagship location. One is the classic tasting menu and the other is the seasonal tasting menu. Unlike the classic menu, the seasonal menu changes periodically. Unless you see something that you are really drawn to on the seasonal menu, if you’re a first time diner at Emeril’s, I highly recommend trying the classic menu.

Classic Tasting Menu

Once seated, the meal actually begins with three darling amuse bouche, compliments of the chef. Thereafter, a beautiful seven course meal is to ensue. Having dined at Michellin starred restaurants around the world, Emeril’s is truly a pleasure.

Additionally, I have actually never felt so full during any tasting menu I’ve experienced. Comparatively, restaurants of similar caliber and style, might not leave you feeling as satiated. Emeril’s is extremely generous with not only it’s portions, but extra surprises. Likewise, the southern hospitality is evident in both the thoughtful card you are greeted with, and the familiar touches such a cornbread with their velvety house made butter.

Amuse Bouche and Chef’s Surprises

A light, airy amuse bouche
A light, airy amuse bouche
Another gorgeous amuse bouche
Another gorgeous amuse bouche
A third artful amuse bouche
A third artful amuse bouche

It’s always a nice touch when the staff suggests a specific order to eat the amuse bouche that will be most flattering to flavors, notes and textures to your palette. Following the amuse bouche were a couple thoughtful canapés – a BBQ shrimp tart and a Glazed Ham Gougere.

Tip: Want to know the difference between an Amuse Bouche and a Canapé? An Amuse Bouche is not a menu item. It is a ‘surprise,’ a chef presents its dinner guests as an appetizer, solely at the chefs selection. A Canapé is a specific type of hors d’oeuvre that rests on a cracker or bread of some type, with the topping on top, finished with a garnish.

A couple of Canapés (left and center) Oyster Stew from Classic tasting (right)
A canapé (left and center), Oyster Stew from Classic tasting (right)
Oyster Stew with Herbsaint Cream
Oyster Stew with Herbsaint Cream

After the amuse bouches and the first course, bread service comes out. Impressively, all of the bread is baked fresh in house. The bread is warm, fluffy, delicate and delicious. But, for me, the highlight was the buttery cornbread – a quintessential southern accompaniment.

House Made Butter and Bread Service

Emerils in New Orleans bread service - luscious cornbread, velvety butter and two other rolls
Emerils in New Orleans bread service – luscious cornbread, velvety butter and two other rolls

It was exciting to try Emeril’s famed smoked salmon cheesecake, which is a savory dish. The entire top of it is coated with caviar and it’s… lovely.

Artful and beautiful signature dishes

house made mound of butter
Look at this house made mound of butter
Emerils famed Smoked Salmon Cheesecake
Emerils famed Smoked Salmon Cheesecake
Trout Almandine with green beans and potatoes
Trout Almandine with green beans and potatoes

Main Courses

As Emeril’s son EJ has shared, “we are all firm believers that you can’t come to a restaurant in New Orleans without having a gumbo course somewhere in the menu.” I don’t disagree, EJ. The Lobster Gumbo on the Classic tasting menu is certainly delicious and unique.

Emerils signature Maine Lobster gumbo
Emerils signature Maine Lobster gumbo
Wagyu and Daube Glacé
Wagyu and Daube Glacé

A sweet ending, with some fun surprises!

So, did you think it was interesting that there’s Snoballs on the tasting menu? Straightaway, I thought it was a compelling conversation starter. Well, Snoballs happen to be a big part of New Orleanians culture and, like many foods in Nola, it is accompanied with a story.

In the 1930’s New Orleanians Ernest Hansen and George Ortolano invented a “Sno-Bliz” machine. To this day, Hansens Sno Bliz is family owned and operated, serving up Snoballs with homemade syrups. It’s located on the same street as Emeril’s and has been there since 1939.

Emeril’s has partnered with Hansens and is serving their ‘Cream of Nectar syrup’ as a flavoring option for the pre -dessert snoball. Yours truly opted for this flavor and it did, in fact, taste like a “pink fluffy cloud” as described.

The three 'Snoball' flavors
The three ‘Snoball’ flavors
Emeril's signature snoball
The city’s beloved Snoballs
Emeril's snoball in another flavor
Emeril’s snoball in another flavor

Emeril’s Iconic Banana Cream Pie

The star of the dessert show, was a highlight for me. Emeril’s famed Banana Cream pie. Isn’t it beautiful? Come to find out, that this Emeril’s signature was reimagined during the renovation.

Prior to debuting the reinvented version, Emeril’s banana cream pie used to contain 9 bananas in – about three pounds of bananas, and was served to a single guest. You can see the classic Emeril recipe: here.

A complimentary tiny slice of Opera cake for my birthday
A complimentary tiny slice of Opera cake for my birthday
Emeril's famed Banana Cream Pie
Emeril’s famed Banana Cream Pie
Mignardise and little beignets
Mignardise and little beignets

I was so incredibly full by the time the dessert courses rolled around. Markedly moreso than when I’ve experienced almost any other tasting menu. I attribute this to rich nature of cajun, creole and southern cuisine. Also, the portions are sizable and Emeril’s in New Orleans showers their Guests with ‘extras.’

While the tasting does not include an actual Mignardise cart, at the very end of the meal four beautiful Mignardise are served. Specifically, Praline Bon Bons, Pâte de Fruits, Pastéis de Nata and Coffee and Chicory Beignets!

Seasonal Tasting Menu

Because the seasonal menu is always changing, I won’t dive too deep into specifics. The last thing we need is for you to become excited about a dish that may not be available when you dine at Emerils in New Orleans.

Grand Isle shrimp and caviar
Grand Isle shrimp and caviar. Look at all that caviar!
First course of the seasonal menu, a thin cut of protein draped over a starch set atop a large white textured dome
Loved the presentation of this first course of the seasonal menu – Glazed Ham Gougere
A course with abundance of black truffles sitting in a white dish with a green rim
Potato Alexa – look at all those black truffles!

However, it does appear as though some of the dishes do repeat on other seasonal menus. You can view the current season menu: here.

A beautiful Crawfish pie
A beautiful Crawfish pie
Sweet Breads, Asparagus, Morel and Sauce Vin Jaune
Sweet Breads, Asparagus, Morel and Sauce Vin Jaune
The seasonal tasting dessert - a work of art
The seasonal tasting dessert – a work of art

Service, Atmosphere and Cost

The Atmosphere

Our server shared with us in conversation how the dining room – and restaurant – received a major overhaul recently. Reimagined by Emeril’s son EJ, in fall of 2023, the renovation’s unveiling revealed some thoughtful enhancements.

Possibly most notably, is the gaping glass window that allows the entire dining room to view the fascinating, artful magic happening in the kitchen.

Unlike completely open kitchen concepts, Emeril’s in New Orleans, has all the culinary intricacies happening behind glass window panes.

POV from dining table at Emerils in New Orleans, with a view directly into the kitchen
View from our table, directly in front of the kitchen!
The kitchen team hard at work
The kitchen team hard at work
One of the many kitchen stations
One of the many kitchen stations

Honestly, it’s kind of brilliant. Whereas many restaurants I’ve dined in that have a completely open kitchen make the dining room exceptionally loud. Still, there is nothing wrong with that at all, it’s just… a choice.

Especially in certain settings, a choice that has a significant impact on the overall ambiance. Unlike Emeril’s in New Orleans, where you get the visual benefit of a visible kitchen, but they can all hear each other clearly and… so can you and your dinner partners.

Overall, the restaurant’s decor is tastefully decorated in understated elegance. The chairs are remarkably comfortable (an important element to a long meal). The kitchen activity is a bit of theatre during your dinner. Lastly, the meal is the star of the show. Undeniably, your food is the centerpiece of the room, no matter where you’re sitting. A job well done.

The Service

Indeed, I would describe the service at Emeril’s New Orleans as warm and well intended. Perhaps, not seamless, but aiming for it. Upon entrance, we were greeted by a mature, stately gentleman whom checked us in and showed us to our table. While I made specific seating requests, they did not just honor them, instead, they significantly superseded them. Delighted, to say the least.

Cost

Certainly, this is another area where Emeril’s shines. For the quality and volume of food, the caliber of experience and ambiance, the prices at Emeri’s in New Orleans are very reasonable. Particularly, in comparison to similar restaurants.

Classic Tasting menu is $195 USD per person – 7 courses

Seasonal Tasting menu is $175 per person 7 courses

Know before you go

You must use Tock to make a reservation at Emeril’s in New Orleans. In order to secure your reservation, you need to pay a $100 deposit per Guest at the time of booking. This entirety of your deposit is put towards your final bill. You can book your reservation: here.

Emeril’s in New Orleans offers private dining in “The Library at Emeril’s.” In order to book this room through Tock, you must a $500 room fee. Additionally, you must pay for all parties in advance at the time of booking. The library can accommodate 1- 8 guests. So, yes, if you want to dine in the library by yourself, with a good book… you can.

The restaurant welcomes all guests over the age of 8.

Do you have any questions about dining at Emeril’s in New Orleans? If so, drop them in the comments below!

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