3 Fleur
Average check per person $25-$35
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Porter & Luke’s

Metairie 1: Old Metairie: 1517 Metairie Road. 504-875-4555. Map.
Casual
AE DC DS MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
If you heard the buzz emanating from early customers of Porter & Luke, you may have taken the impression that it’s a more complex restaurant than it is. Which is a classic New Orleans neighborhood cafe, the kind with everything on the menu. Poor boys, red beans, seafood platters, grilled fish, boiled crawfish, fried chicken, grilled oysters, and a lot of Italian dishes–it’s all here, in big portions at low prices. Think Mandina’s.

WHAT’S GOOD
The key to P&L is its chef, Vincent Manguno. He has already made a big splash with his fried chicken, a strong contender for best in town. But his good work extends through almost all of the menu, particularly seafood, appetizers, and pasta dishes. The ingredients are fine and the recipes a thrill for those who love neighborhood New Orleans cafe cooking.

Oysters Barataria.

BACKSTORY
After over a decade spent cooking with the legendary chef Goffredo Fraccaro at the extinct La Riviera, Vincent Manguno was the explanation for the goodness of several other Jefferson Parish restaurants where he worked–notably the Creole Grille and Nuccio’s. Porter & Luke’s used to be Zeke’s, a seafood place that was great until Zeke Unangst passed away, then dwindled and closed in 2012. Porter and Luke are the names of one of the two owners’ young sons. The operating partner is Ricky Christina, who comes from the bar business.

Eggplant Vincent..

DINING ROOM
The restaurant is in the center of an old, stark strip mall that happens to be surrounded by one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods. The three long rooms are, from right to left: the always-busy bar, the larger of the two dining rooms, and the smaller one. The tables are covered with tablecloths with white paper on top. The service has been good here since the beginning; there’s nothing they won’t get for you.

Fried chicken.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Starters
»Hot blue-crab dip, parmesan cream
Duck & wild mushroom quesadillas
»Tuna stack (fresh raw tuna, avocados, cucumber, wasabi vinaigrette
»Shrimp remoulade
»»Parmesan crusted fried eggplant
Fried green tomatoes, jumbo shrimp, ravigote sauce
Fried catfish strips
Onion rings
»Turtle soup
»Gumbo du jour
Soup du jour
»Boiled seafood in season: crawfish, crabs, shrimp
Salads
Creola salad (greens, crabmeat, shrimp, andouille, red onions, chopped egg, tomato
»Shrimp & avocado salad
»Cobb salad
»Wedge of lettuce, bacon, tomato, blue cheese
Caesar salad
House salad (greens, bacon, carrots, chopped egg, tomatoes)
Entrees
»»Fried chicken (half)
»Grilled Gulf fish of the day
»Pecan crusted catfish
»Fried catfish, shrimp, or oyster platter, fries
»Eggplant Vincent (panneed eggplant boat, shrimp & crawfish, butter cream sauce, angel hair pasta)
Barbecue shrimp
»Bourbon glazed pork chop
Filet mignon
»Panneed veal cutlet, pasta
Grilled chicken breast
Fettuccini alfredo
Meatballs, pasta
»Chicken, veal or eggplant parmesan, pasta
Chicken parmesan with pasta
Sandwiches
Roast beef poor boy, horseradish mayo
Ferdi (Chisesi ham, roast beef, Swiss, Creole mayo
Root beer-glazed ham shank, ciabatta bread, Creole mayo
Chicken pesto panini, mixed greens, tomatoes, pesto aioli
Club
Barbecue shrimp poor boy
Corned beef, Creole mustard, ciabatta
Reuben
Grilled portobello panini, caramelized red onions, pesto aioli
»Fried catfish, shrimp, or oyster poor boy
Chicken, veal, or eggplant parmesan poor boy
»Hamburger
Desserts
»Walnut raisin bread pudding
Doberge cake
Cheesecake
Sorbet
Ice cream
Abita root-beer float

FOR BEST RESULTS
The initial flush of business has toned down a bit, but it’s still a good idea to get a reservation on weekends. Order light: they really food you here.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Beverages are served in plastic cups that they really ought to swap out for glassware. Ditto for the cheap silverware and paper napkins. This food deserves better.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment
  • Consistency +2
  • Service+1
  • Value +2
  • Attitude +2
  • Wine & Bar +1
  • Hipness -1
  • Local Color

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Good for business meetings
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Unusually large servings
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • Reservations accepted

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Operating a restaurant along Metairie Road is a challenge. Dozens have opened over the decades. Only five of the twenty-six currently open have been there over ten years–and that’s an all-time high. Nearly every style has been tried, from gourmet bistros to seafood to French to Indian.

This is well enough known to potential operators that new restaurant openings are rare along the ancient highway (it is literally that; Metairie Road follows an above-sea-level bayou ridge). This year’s entry is trying something old, but new.


4 Readers Commented

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  1. ray on March 23, 2014

    Does restaurant have Banquet space ( if so how small)?

    • Tom Fitzmorris on March 31, 2014

      Yes. It has both small and large private rooms.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

  2. Roland Toca on July 28, 2014

    Thought I would try this place because of your review and other comments I have heard, but this was one of the worst dining experiences I have ever had. Went to eat around 3:30 pm on Sunday. No one at the reception desk, took over 5 minutes for someone to come and seat us. Then over 10 minutes before waitress came to take drink order. Waited so long for drinks to come – water, ice tea, and coke – I decided to walk out. Wife wanted to stay , so I came back in. Ordered turtle soup, I did not care for it at all, mostly vegetables and they were chopped much too large and tasted similar to beef stew – certainly far from the best in town as they claimed. Spinach and artichoke dip was not good either – artichoke pieces were much to large. Fried eggplant was alright, but I have had much better. Wife had the wedge lettuce salad, she said it was pretty good. Her son had the hamburger, he said it was alright but overcooked. I had the bourbon glazed pork chop, thought it was a little dry, although the sauce was good. substituted fettuccine alfredo for the potatoes, did not care for it at all – I like fettuccine pasta, not the papadelle pasta it came with, sauce was also not too good, only ate a bite. . Had to ask for water refill 3 times before I got refill. Appetizer plates stayed on table over 15 minutes after we were finished before someone bussed the table. I could see our waitress at the server station eating instead of waiting on customers. I know you say to complain when things are not right, but it was so bad, we just decided never to come here again.

    • Tom Fitzmorris on July 28, 2014

      Porter & Luke has a problem in sating that they’re open all afternoon, when in fact they just barely are. I have had terrible service myself in mid-afternoon, and they know who I am. I would imagine that Sunday at 3:30 would be the worst possible time to try the place.

      I do think that the food and service are generally good there, though. It would cause all sorts of good things to happen if you were to write to Ricky Christina, who is the managing partner, and tell him what you just told me (except for the part about your never going back again). I suspect that you would come away from this feeling better, and that they’ll rework their hours.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

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