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The Pelican Club

December 6 2016 | Restaurant Reviews

How Do You Say “Wow” in Creole French? Pelican Club.

According to webminer.com, there are approximately 700,000 restaurants in the United States. After just one spoonful of gumbo, you’ll understand why Conde Naste Traveler named the Pelican Club in the New Orleans French Quarter one of “America’s Top 250 Restaurants.” Celebrities like Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift have dined here. You should, too.

Unlike chefs or groups who own many restaurants, Chef Richard Hughes and his architect/business manager wife Jeanne have poured their hearts into this one restaurant, located in a 250-year-old building on Exchange Place. Like all French Quarter buildings, the Pelican Club is reputed to be haunted. Chances are, you’ll be too busy admiring the local artwork on the walls to worry about ghosts.

The Hughe’s dedication to making their restaurant a French Quarter stand-out shows. Chef Hughes was born and raised in South Louisiana, but trained both here and in New York. If you only have only so many nights in New Orleans, you’ll want to spend one of them with Chef Hughes. Park your car at the Monteleone – it’ll cost you just $5 with restaurant validation – and prepare to be impressed.

There are so many great choices on the menu – where do you start? With a drink, course. The Pelican Club offers an imaginative and reasonably priced wine list and a fun assortment of hand-crafted cocktails. The Pimm’s Cup does not disappoint.

Like we said, if you’re a connoisseur of seafood gumbo, ordering a cup here should be your next move. The flavor is magnificently rich and there’s no skimping on the good stuff either. With every dip of the spoon, you’ll pull up a nice sweet chunk of Louisiana blue crab.

The appetizer offerings are all so enticing you’ll just want to throw up your hands and ask the waiter to choose for you. The Pelican Club Baked Oysters and the Seafood Martini Ravigote are both amazing, but you can’t go wrong with the Clay Pot of Barbecued Shrimp either.

The entrée list, too, will make you want to close your eyes and just randomly point to a winner. While the offerings include the Creole staples tourists look for, Chef Hughes somehow manages to rise above the cliché. The butterflied lobster stuffed with pan seared sea scallops and jumbo Gulf shrimp is truly sumptuous as are the Whole Crispy Flounder and the Trio of Ducking. When asked which entrees are ordered the most, our waiter Chris was at a loss. “I wish I could narrow it down for you, but honestly they are all so popular,” he said.

And when it comes to dessert, don’t order one and share. Oh, the servings are big enough for more than one person but it would be cruel to have to choose between Warm White Chocolate Bread Pudding and the Vanilla Bean and Brandy Crème Brulee. If there are three in your group, go ahead and order the Chocolate Decadence Cake with Mint Chocolate Ice Cream as well. You can work it off with a stroll through the Quarter afterwards. 


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