Dining solo in New Orleans was actually a concern of mine. While I have easily dined solo around the world, I was unsure how the madness of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter would affect my comfort level – would everyone be couples or groups having fun to the point where I did actually feel alone? Luckily, this ended up being unfounded as I started my dining experience at SoBou, the restaurant that is connected to the W French Quarter. Normally, the hotel restaurant is the not the first place people want to eat and yet overlooking it can cause you to miss out on a great meal and experience. With so many hotels nowadays inviting famous chefs, great concepts and frankly finding a way out of running a restaurant, there are definite gems to find (i.e. – dinner in the Park Hyatt Sydney!)
SoBou – a spirited restaurant, South of Bourbon has three points of entry – Chartres Street (restaurant), W French Quarter living room (bar/lounge) and from the interior courtyard (bar area). If you enter from the street like I did, you immediately notice the glass on the walls – the empty bottles to be more precise that glow with the light. A very romantic warm space. The interior design of the space is contemporary and communal like an modern pub with amazing food options. The other patrons varied from dressed up business people, couples and relaxed people on vacation. The host sat me at the front two top table with a view of the street, I chose to sit with my back to the street and take in the people watching in the restaurant (there was no wi-fi to entertain me as the W French Quarter didn’t have a reach into the restaurant). SoBou was called by Zagat in 2013 “One of the 25 Most Important Restaurants”
My server was friendly to greet me but for the most part, I had to flag her down much of the meal (as did the other solo diner) despite not being a full restaurant. Points off for that. She did help answer my queries about the food and portion sizes. The manager had been chatting with the other solo diner about the unusual wine list he had curated. I asked about the wine kiosk options (go to the bar, get a card, load it with money and your off to explore a taste, a swirl or a glass of wine from the machine). He then gave me the tasting menu and we talked about the wine regions of the world as well.
Small bites, large bites and family style tasting plates of modern creole foods meant to be shared. Dining solo with no one to share with, I tried to figure out best combos for a meal and chose the following:
Big Bites: Creekstone Farms Grilled Black Angus Beef ($17)- carmelized onion & wilted argula over gorgonzola dolce smashed new potatoes with a port wine & foie gras reduction
Snacky Things: The Fries ($5) with pickled okra mayo
Dessert: Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Sauce, Mousse filling
No overeating or leftovers for me, the portions were actually right sized for a solo diner. The flavors worked with my glass of Malbec and I ended with chocolate. So all three parts of my happy place – red meat, red wine and chocolate.
Breakfast in the restaurant was quick and tasty. Service in the morning was more attentive than at night. The egg platter is named in a very New Orleans way “Who Dat”
The Bar & Lounge – here’s what I missed although everyone seemed to being have a fun time!
If only the conference ended sooner for me to enjoy the Happier Hour Menu (from 3pm – 6pm) with $3-$6 drinks and snacks. But the most interesting item (this being New Orleans so I think it was ok) was the 25 cent Martinis! Buy an entree between 11:30am – 3pm and really go to town with your three Martini Lunch (that’s the limit)
The bar/lounge area had tables with their own beer tap and the wine kiosks I love (first encountered on Celebrity Cruises)