Last Updated on Monday, 11 June 2012 19:51
Maybe Not. But Here Are Two Dozen Best Lists Anyway.
Do You Really Have To Take
Your Father To Dinner?
I am the father of two children, both old enough to understand that the idea of Father's Day is to make Daddy feel good about himself and let him enjoy the day. My wife also knows this, and so the bunch of them conspire every year to figure out some big slate of activities that will be a lot of fun.
But a dark secret lurks behind this happy fantasy. It was eloquently expressed in a "Drabble" comic strip, when wife and kids said to the man of the house, "Dad, we have a great plan for your day. First, a nice Father's Day brunch. Then a movie! After that, we'll go shopping. Finally, we'll all go to the park for a wonderful family afternoon!"
To which Dad replies, "Great! Great!" In the final panels, mom and kids wave as they leave the house, and the smiling father falls into a chair with a remote control in one hand and a beer in the other, thinking, "This is the best Father's Day ever!"
Yes, mothers love all the attention they get on Mother's Day, but most dads would prefer being left the hell alone, with nothing to do for anybody. Unfortunately, very few families are willing to believe that this is really what Dad wants, let alone give it to him. And Dad can't insist too much, lest he come across as a selfish pig. Which Dad is not allowed to be, not even on Father's Day.
The restaurants will not allow this, either. For years, they saw Father's Day as just another Sunday--if that good. But in the past five years or so, they've seen that it's easy to pack their dining rooms on Father's Day--at premium prices, yet. All they have to do is market to the wives and their guilt. And come up with a menu that has a manly ring to it.
This is not a stretch for certain places. Steakhouses are a natural for Father's Day. Enough so that Dad won't need to be talked into the idea. Casual restaurants with the likes of barbecue, big burgers and seafood platters are also popular, especially now that they're all bedecked with big screens so nobody can miss a play of that great football game eighteen months ago.
Fathers of the gentler sort might be persuaded to go out for a major, formal dinner somewhere, but with some masculinity about it. Galatoire's, the Rib Room, the Windsor Court, Antoine's, Arnaud's, and GW Fins come to mind. But a choice like that brings up a conflict: if the kids are young, no matter how good the intentions are, there may be conflict. When the rest of the family is unhappy, Dad is unhappy, too.
No matter where you wind up, the ultimate irony on Father's Day is that when the check arrives, father pays it. This isn't really so bad. He knows it's coming. And most fathers actually like paying for that which gives the family a good time. On the other hand, when Mom--who pretends to be the host--reaches for the check and, seeing how expensive it is, may go into a mood.
That remote control sounds better and better.
Dozen Best Father's Day Restaurants, Midday Meal
1. Arnaud's. French Quarter: 813 Bienville. 504-523-5433. Best brunch in town, jazz, and a great scene.
2. Galatoire's. French Quarter: 209 Bourbon. 504-525-2021. Everyone will be forced to dress up. Big menu.
3. Muriel's. French Quarter: 801 Chartres. 504-568-1885. Show the kids their New Orleans roots, before or after a fine Creole brunch or dinner.
4. La Provence. Lacombe: 25020 US 190. 985-626-7662. Always a special occasion. Open all afternoon into the early evening.
5. Gallagher's Grill. Covington: 509 S Tyler. 985-892-9992. Pat Gallagher will serve his dinner menu from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Steaks, oysters Pedro, grilled pompano, lamb chops and quail, and other guy food at the highest levels.
6. Crescent City Steak House. Mid-City: 1001 N Broad. 504-821-3271. The original New Orleans-style steakhouse, with Prime dry-aged beef, but at prices a shade lower than other major steakhouses. No frills.
7. Mr. B's Bistro. French Quarter: 201 Royal. 504-523-2078. The best collection of traditional Creole specialties in town, brunch or dinner.
8. Zea. Harahan: 1655 Hickory Ave. 504-738-0799. || Kenner: 1325 West Esplanade Ave. 504-468-7733. || Lee Circle Area: 1525 St Charles Ave. 504-520-8100. || Metairie: 4450 Veterans Blvd (Clearview Mall). 504-780-9090. || Covington: 110 Lake Dr. 985-327-0520. || Harvey: 1121 Manhattan Blvd. 504-361-8293. || Slidell: 173 Northshore Blvd. 985-273-0500. Something for everybody, from the oldest to the youngest. Open all day into the night.
9. Begue's. French Quarter: 300 Bourbon. 504-553-2278. The only buffet on this list. They plan to turn Begue's into a sports bar for the occasion.
10. Café B. Old Metairie: 2700 Metairie Road. 504-934-4700. Easygoing, relaxed, moderate Sunday brunch. A bunch of crabmeat specialties right now.
11. Mandina's. Mid-City: 3800 Canal. 504-482-9179. If your father likes dining in the old neighborhood style. Seafood, Italian food.
12. Cafe East. Metairie: 4628 Rye. 504-888-0078. If the family has a love of Chinese food, this is the place.
Dozen Best Father's Day Restaurants For Evening Dinner
1. Emeril's. Warehouse District: 800 Tchoupitoulas. 504-528-9393. Very masculine, better than you think. A powerful place.
2. Pelican Club. French Quarter: 615 Bienville. 504-523-1504. Consistently terrific food, just quirky enough to be interesting, but with many basic specialties.
3. Ruth's Chris Steak House. Metairie: 3633 Veterans Blvd. 504-888-3600. Still the definitive local steakhouse, corporate though it may be. Always a thrill.
4. Tommy's Cuisine. Warehouse District: 746 Tchoupitoulas. 504-581-1103. A lusty menu of Creole and Italian dishes, emphasis on good food, on a building with a pleasing masculinity.
5. Delmonico. Lee Circle Area: 1300 St Charles Ave. 504-525-4937. Emeril's other place, with dry-aged steaks and a large menu of small plates.
6. GW Fins. French Quarter: 808 Bienville. 504-581-3467. The best seafood restaurant in town, just formal enough to be special.
7. Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse. French Quarter: 716 Iberville. 504-522-2467. The Brennans' steakhouse fantasy, with a good deal of variety and Prime beef.
8. Cafe Giovanni. French Quarter: 117 Decatur. 504-529-2154. Lusty, original Italian food. Maybe the opera singers will be there, but my guess would be not.
9. Charlie's Steak House. Uptown: 4510 Dryades. 504-895-9705. The basics, in a one-of-a-kind steakhouse.
10. Sal and Judy's. Lacombe: 27491 Highway 190. 985-882-9443. If you can get in, fantastic food at prices hard to believe (on the low end).
11. Domenica. CBD: 123 Baronne (Roosevelt Hotel). 504-648-6020. Start with pizza, explore the unique Italian menu.
12. Lüke. CBD: 333 St Charles Ave. 504-378-2840. Very masculine, and with a huge menu that ranges from hamburgers to complex Alsatian dishes.