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Bistro Orleans

Metairie 2: Orleans Line To Houma Blvd: 3216 West Esplanade Ave. 504-304-1469. Map.
Casual.
AE MC V
Website

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
The neighborhood cafes so much liked in New Orleans proper are not in common in the neighborhoods of Metairie. Part of this is because of the many national chain restaurants in all the local suburbs. The independent eateries that do manage to break through are often fun and good to find. Bistro Orleans is one such. In a strip mall space that was home for a number of good to superb cafes over the years, Bistro Orleans has that blend of seafood, sandwiches and Italian food which, with a few daily specials, add up to the neighborhood flavor.

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
As the name “bistro” suggests, there is more to the kitchen here than the basics. They buy better ingredients than one might expect to find, and sell them at prices a bit higher than other neighborhood cafes offer. Although the seafood in particular is a good bet, there is room for some polish.

Fried Des Allemands catfish platter.

Fried Des Allemands catfish platter.

Bananas foster, prepared with one hand by Chef Archie.

Bananas foster, prepared with one hand by Chef Archie.

WHAT’S GOOD
The kitchen’s specialties are concentrated in a few clusters of similar dishes. They make an excellent red sauce, giving birth to a dozen or so good pasta dishes with a wide range of proteins. The seafood platters could be cooked with a bit more boldness, but they already achieve some distinction. The catfish is wild-caught from Des Allemands–a claim very few restaurants can make. A full-fledged oyster bar greets you on the way in, promising the bivalves on the half-shell as well as a host of grilled and bakes oyster dishes. Daily specials are attractive for both their goodness and their value.

BACKSTORY
In 2012, Bistro Orleans began its life in a well-worn space hidden behind East Jefferson Hospital off the main traffic streams. In 2014 it moved to a much more agreeable spot on West Esplanade, just off Causeway Boulevard. That address resonates with memories of past restaurants there, notably the extinct five-star French restaurant Crozier’s. For the last five or six years it was Chad’s Bistro, whose fried seafood boats brought a good bit of attention.

DINING ROOM
Anyone who ever dined at the old Crozier’s will recognize the layout and decor, with a big main dining room and a smaller one right behind it. Sets of walls with a cross-shaped footprint make the big room’s tables more intimate. The oyster bar is the first thing you see. Behind it is the liquor bar, which almost seems to be in a different suite. A few nights a week there is live music.

REVIEWER’S NOTEPAD

FULL ONLINE MENU

BEST DISHES
Starters
Crab cake, artichoke sauce
Calamari, fried, marinara sauce
Hearts of artichoke, fried, marinara sauce
Grilled stuffed mushrooms
Chicken and andouille gumbo
Cream of oyster and artichoke soup

Entrees
Red beans and rice, sausage or pork chop
Veal, eggplant or chicken parmesan
Crawfish Madeline (crawfish, artichokes, eggplant medallions, pasta, cream sauce
Spaghetti and meatballs or Italian sausage
Breaded veal cutlet, fettuccine Alfredo
Boats of fried oysters, shrimp, or catfish
Fried catfish, oyster, shrimp or combo platters
Fried shrimp, crawfish, catfish or oyster poor boy
Roast beef poor boy
Meatball poor boy
Italian sausage marinara poor boy

Desserts
Bananas Foster
Bread pudding
Carrot cake

FOR BEST RESULTS
They run many good daily specials here, notably involving oysters and catfish.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Consistency is less than perfect. Across the menu. The best dishes are very good indeed, but others (seafood gumbo being the most notorious) could use new recipes. The cocktail bar is in need of enhancement of its range of skills. If the place has a web site, it has hidden it very well.

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

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

 

  • Live music some nights
  • Outdoor tables, drinks only
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Oyster bar (Thursdays)
  • Unusually large servings
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • No reservations

 

 

6 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. D. Marinello on September 23, 2015

    Their onion rings are excellent..some of the best in the city. Their gumbo on the other hand is some of the worst I’ve ever had as you noted. Seafood seems okay. Red sauce is good but meatballs could be softer.

  2. Louis Maumus on September 24, 2015

    We had lunch at Bistro Orleans and will probably not return. The oyster and artichoke soup and gumbo was not good. The roast beef po-boy was a disappointment; soggy bread and tough meat. Don’t think we will return, since there are so many better options in Metairie.

    • Tom Fitzmorris Author on September 24, 2015

      Ah, the curse of inconsistency. I’ve had generally (but not totally) good luck here, especiall with the oysters and catfish. But they could ride the kitchen a little harder to improve the reliability.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

  3. Carlo C. Christina on September 24, 2015

    Tom,
    I am hosting a lunch for 20 friends next Monday, Sept. 28. at Bistro Orleans. My invitation listed the address at 3216 West Esplanade Ave., but I noted that your web site shows the old address on Houma Blvd.

    Any chance that you can change it so that my guests don’t go to the Houma Blvd. address.
    Thanks, C C C

  4. jay on April 22, 2016

    My lady and I eat there this week and it was terrific. The appetizer of crispy baked oysters in a great cream sauce was some of the best we’ve had and big enough to share. Her oyster/eggplant entre, also in a light cream sauce,and mine, the fried shrimp and oyster platter, were some of the best we’ve had. Staff was efficient, friendly and informative. Overall, one of most enjoyable dining experiences and well worth the reasonable price. We can’t recommend the Bistro more highly.- Jay

  5. Virginia Grybb on July 4, 2017

    We have eaten at the Bistro on many ocassions. From a group of 18 to a table for 2. The food is delicious, especially the charboiled oysters. We are always greeted at the door by a smileing face an served in a professional manner. We will try it again.

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