Emeril’s Restaurant is chef/restaurateur Emeril Lagasse’s famed flagship restaurant housed in a renovated pharmacy warehouse in New Orleans’ Warehouse District. Since opening in 1990, Emeril’s has been a definitive force in contemporary New Orleans cuisine and has earned rave reviews and accolades for nearly 25 years, including Esquire magazine’s “Restaurant of the Year” and Wine Spectator’s “Grand Award” for 14 consecutive years.

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One of the first celebrity chefs with their own cooking shows on the fledgling Food Network in the early 1990’s Emeril became known for his jovial hosting style and signature catchphrases, including “Bam!” which began as a way to keep his studio crew alert during a full day of taping shows.

While Emeril wasn’t in residence during my lunch visit, patrons wanting to watch his chefs in action are invited to sit on bar stools at the counter overlooking the kitchen.

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Dining solo I opted to sit at the bar for the banter with the bartender but another solo guest attending an event at the nearby convention center sat next to me and we carried on a casual conversation over lunch and I was grateful for the contact as sitting at a table would’ve left me all alone.

I started with a classic Cajun appetizer of homemade Andouille and Boudin sausages  which are very different as the former is a  smoked pork sausage while the latter is a mixture of pork, liver and rice which comes accompanied by southern greens, Emeril’s Worcestershire Sauce  and whole grain mustard.  Crumbly cornbread and an Abita Amber beer compliment the appetizer.

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Cautious of a suspected shellfish allergy, I opted for comfort food in the form of Emeril’s “Who Dat” double stacked hamburger with hand cut fries.  Unlike in many American restaurants, Emeril’s bartender didn’t ask how I wanted my burger cooked and it came cooked to perfection and was hands down one the best burgers I’ve ever had.

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For a landmark restaurant I didn’t find Emeril’s New Orleans prices exorbitant – the big burger entree for example is USD$16 – or the atmosphere stuffy so very much enjoyed my leisurely lunch.

If you are visiting New Orleans and unsure of your schedule you may inquire at the restaurant but I confirmed my reservation online in advance through OpenTable.

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