Pelican Club

312 Exchange Alley (at 615 Bienville), French Quar, New Orleans, 70310 2225 , United States

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By a whisker, the best place in town in my experience, based on three visits (one in 1999, two in 2000). There is a welcoming bar area with a piano and a relaxing dining room with reasonable spaces between the tables. Shrimp and crawfish cakes were served with mesculun greens and an excellent chipotle mayonnaise with a nice tropical salsa.  Seafood jambalaya was of a high standard, as was the seared yellowfin tuna, seared and served over asparagus and a bed of noodles with a pepper wasabi sauce, and some snow peas thrown in to add yet another flavour (the norm in the US seems to be to be the more flavours the better). Desserts were weaker, as was indeed true of every restaurant we visited, though the crème brulee was fair. pelican Club had very competent, friendly service, and a fairly priced and well-chosen wine list. 

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  • Alex Chambers

    This is still producing great food at laughably low prices (given the current exchange rate). A modern, airy, room is decorated with local artwork that lends a degree of sophistication to proceedings, making a pleasant change from the rather more typical creole joints in the area. We started with claypot barbeque shrimp that had a pleasant zing and remarkable freshness, and a huge soft shell crab special that put the standard southern version to shame- both 5 or 6 out of 10. A Shellfish Cioppino main was obscenely large, though once again the shellfish (notably clams) were astonishly fresh and the pasta was notable- the only quibble would be that the chilli was rather underpowered; we both wondered whether this had been toned down for "outsider" tastebuds- if so it was misjudged. Perhaps 4/10. A lobster special also fell into the gargantuan bracket. The behemoth itself weighed in at over 1.5lbs and was served with scallops, crawfish, shrimp and various other accoutrements. The lobster itself was stunning- no hint of chewiness and a sublime sweet butter dressing, though I'd question whether all the additional shellfish were necessary. 7/10. To finish up we shared a pecan and bourbon pie that was just as lethal as anything you'd find on Bourbon Street, though rather more refined. All in all, a fine meal in a town still suffering the post Katrina tourism effects- a strong 5/10 meal overall, but I suspect when the kitchen is firing on all cylinders this could do much much better. A delightful surprise.