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Deals Abound at New Orleans Dining Destinations During August
by Shay Sokol
August brings the heat and as a result fewer tourists to New Orleans. But now locals have a chance to go to the spots that are usually crowded with out-of-towners - and eat there for chepaer. Across the Crescent City, 57 restaurants will offer prix-fixe menus throughout this wet blanket of a month as part of the eighth annual COOLinary Restaurant Month. Eateries ranging from Grand Dames to diners will offer 2- to 3-course lunches for $20 or less, and 3-course dinners for $35 or less. The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau sponsors the month-long event, which also includes discounted cocktails.
The participating restaurants include Antoine’s, Brigtsen’s, Café Degas, Commander’s Palace, Galatoire’s, GW Fins, Iris, The Irish House, Maximo’s, Tujague’s, Pascal's Manale and 46 others. Antoine’s and Café Adelaide will join Commander's in offering martinis for 25 cents with lunch. Three drinks are on the house if you wear your favorite hat (baseball caps don’t count) to brunch on Saturdays and Sundays at Café Adelaide.
Angel Soulas, the manager of Café Degas in Mid-City, said the restaurant has participated in the month-long event since it began eight years ago. This year, Café Degas offers choice pre-fix lunch and dinner menus. The menu will change daily throughout the month depending on which fresh ingredients they receive. Today’s pre-fix lunch menu, for example, includes a choice of soup du jour or escargot for appetizer, Hanger steak with frites or pan-seared lemon fish over half of a steamed artichoke for main course, and crème brule or crepe suzette for desert.
“It’s a bargain,” Soulas said. “The fish alone today is $17, and you can get it as a 3-course meal for $20.”
Charlee Williamson of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group said COOLinary Restaurant Month is an “opportunity for locals to be able to experience restaurants that they might not normally try. Also, visitor’s here in the summer are different, they are typically spending their own money instead of someone else’s, so they are more conscious about how they spend their money.”
Red Fish Grill in the French Quarter, which has participated in COOLinary Restaurant month on-and-off since its inception.
Their $35 3-course dinner is an example of what's available at the other restaurants. For the first course, guests can choose an appetizer, Gulf shrimp over fried green tomatoes, or summer salad. For the main course, there are two fish selections of Gulf fish dictated by market availability and black drum. Plus, guests can choose between cobbler or bread pudding for dessert. The menu was chosen with an eye toward lighter fare to account for the summer heat, Williamson said.
For a full list of participating restaurants, visit the Coolinary website.
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