Nola (New Orleans)

Location: New Orleans, USA
Address: 534 St. Louis Street
Website: http://www.emerilsrestaurants.com/nola-restaurant
Type of Meal: Lunch



Shortly after hopping off the plane, we went over to Nola for lunch, one of Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant that takes the latest reservation. It was going to be our first taste of Creole cuisine and would set the benchmark for meals to come. Indeed the bar was set high as the classics we ordered were great and left us wanting more.

Nola’s rustic exposed brick dining room is opened and laid back. Despite arriving late into lunch service, many tables were still occupied with glimpses of dishes to come. To begin, we couldn’t help but order a mint julep ($10) a quintessential Southern drink, made with sweet bourbon, simple syrup, water and muddled mint. Nola definitely doesn’t skimp on the bourbon!


Shortly after ordering we were brought a selection of warm breads. The first a jalapeño cornbread was delicious with specks of jalapeño and soft without being oily. The simple ciabatta was fluffy and soft, great for wiping up the appetizer's sauces.


The first to arrive was the pork cheek boudin balls ($10) and is what I’d like to think of as Southern risotto balls. Rice and sausage meat are mixed together with a variety of spices. Deep fried so that it has a crispy exterior and soft moist interior these were very good. Topped with sweet marinara and a slightly spicy creole mustard aioli each ball packs a burst of flavour.


While the shrimp in Emeril’s barbequed gulf shrimp ($12) were only average (a bit small when it’s supposed to be the star ingredient) the sauce shines through. It’s sweet but has a hint of spice at the end, it was enjoyable with our ciabatta bun or the soft doughy rosemary biscuit which accompanied it.


The shrimp and grits ($19) was amazing and a must try in my opinion! Certainly, the grits were so well done that I was sadly disappointed when they were ordered a second time with breakfast at another restaurant. Nola’s grits were thick and creamy with dollops of smoked cheddar melted throughout to make the grits rich and decadent. The dish was further topped with pieces of toasted applewood bacon (adding salt & smoke) and small pieces of crimini mushrooms. The slightly spicy red chili butter glazed shrimp were also delicious, its plump meat going well with the smooth grits.


The duck confit pizza's ($12) crust was light and airy almost like naan mixed with Neapolitan dough. For a dish with duck confit topping it the pizza wasn’t too strong with just a bit of oil on it. It was also surprisingly flavourful, from the addition of truffle oil and parmesan cheese, despite looking sparse and bland when first brought to the table. Nonetheless, I would have liked more duck on it as there wasn’t much on each slice. The egg was satisfactory but really didn't add much in this case except for a nice pop of colour.  


To end we shared a trio of crème brûlée. It was a number of desserts in one as each brûlée had another mini dessert topping it - fresh sweet berries with the vanilla, a chocolate almond biscotti with the mocha and a coconut truffle with the coconut. Normally, the mocha would be my favourite but this one was too strong and reminded me of Reisin candies (something my grandmother always had at her house and I detested). Meanwhile, the vanilla bean, made with real vanilla pods, was nice and flavourful my favourite of the three. The coconut added to the last brûlée is something I normally wouldn’t like but actually turned out to be quite delicious. All in all, a good dessert for sharing.



Service at Nola was friendly and efficient; our waitress Fallon was a pleasure bringing out sharing plates as required. Overall, Nola was a great introduction to Creole cooking and made us look forward to the bold rich flavours to come. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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