James knows I love trying new places and recalled stumbling across a few things in the local Downtown LA newspaper.  What caught his eye about NOLA’s was that there was live jazz!  We’ve been on a search for live entertainment while dining, so we were happy to check this place out!

NOLA’s is located in the Arts District of Downtown LA, just a block up from Wurstkuche.  We were greeted by 2 hosts wearing sequined mardi gras masks!  I loved them and thought it was just great that they get to wear masks to work!  (I should learn to take more photos and not be so shy to ask to take photos of other people as I would love to be able to insert a photo of the mardi-gras-mask-wearing hosts here.)  We did have to wait a few minutes as they were clearing and setting up a table for us, but it was fine as we got to talk to the hosts a little bit and found out that this place has only been open for a solid 2 months.

As we were led to our table, we were impressed by how big the place was.  There is a long corridor of tables and then it opens up to a bar area with bar tables and stools, more dining tables, and then the stage all the way at the end of the restaurant.  The place is modern looking and I actually felt it was missing all the fun-flare of typical New Orleans style restaurants and am actually hoping that they’ll add their beads, banners, glitter, and sequins, but that might not be the look they’re going for.

We were seated at, what we thought, was the best table in the house.  The table between the set of tables by the stage and the long row of booth tables by the entrance.  We had a center view of the whole place to check it out.  The host, Daniel, was great!  He told us who our server was going to be and made sure we were settled in and comfortable.  We were immediately given 2 glasses of water and checked out the menu, decided what we were going to order, and waited and waited.  As some Yelp reviewers mention, they still need to work on the kinks of service as I had to finally flag down another server to get our server.  But once we got our server, service was fine.

Drink menu.  The drink list looked yummy, but I really didn’t feel like having a drink since I had just hit the gym after over a week of not going (yes, I went home and showered first), and I think I’m still recuperating from partying 3 days straight in Vegas last weekend.  I also thought that the drinks were a bit pricey at $13 – I didn’t think the restaurant was that “fancy”.  ..but I think they’re going for a bar & live entertainment venue that can command that price.  Since J doesn’t drink alcohol either, he requested for a special non-alcoholic concoction that was a nice passion-fruity drink that came with fresh fruits.

Cornbread.  Their cornbread is OK, but it comes with a cinnamon spread that’s oh so yummy!  I was actually eating small dabs of just the cinnamon spread and wondered what else it would be good on.

I didn’t get good photos of our dinner because of the dim lighting and I was starving, but this is what we had:

Louisiana Hot Wings – Spicy, but not too spicy and a flavorful spicy.  I like that.  I don’t like when food is just hot with no flavor.  They were also juicy and not over-fried.

The “BIG EASY” Sampler – Includes seafood gumbo, seafood jambalaya, shrimp etouffee, and red beans & rice.  I liked the gumbo and etouffee and J liked the jambalaya.  The first piece of shrimp I had in the etouffee wasn’t very good though, but the shrimp I had in the gumbo was yummy.  It’s a great dish to order if you want to try a bit of everything, but I thought it was a bit pricey at $25.

Collard Greens – Not completely bland, but missing a little flavor.

Sweet Potato Fries – Crispy and flavorful!

Live Jazz.  As I had mentioned before, we were excited to check this place out because of the live jazz that they offer nightly.  However, we were a bit disappointed in last night’s band.  Perhaps it’s because we’re spoiled by the jazz band that plays at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on Fridays and Saturdays, but we felt that last night’s band was boring.  They read sheet music all night and there was actually a moment where they spent a few minutes flipping through their sheet music for their next song.  I felt like we were a test-audience and they were trying out their new playlist/skit on us or something like that.  The jazz band that performs a the Millennium Biltmore Hotel is much more impromptu and has more passion and sway when they play.  Perhaps it’s just this band, but we hope that the other acts that they hire are a bit more livelier.  They do have a calendar on their website, so perhaps we’ll go back when another band is performing.

Bar.  It’s a nice full long bar with ample seating.  As you can see, they have TVs all around the restaurant where you can watch your sports.

I would go back to NOLA’s and would love to bring my friend Lisa, who’s from NOLA to see what she thinks.  She had text me during dinner that New Orleans food in LA is for her like pizza in LA is for me (I’m from NYC and LA just can’t get pizza right!), so we shall see.  I would like to check out their Sunday brunch that they have from 11am – 3pm for $19.95 with unlimited mimosas.  I hear that the fried chicken that they offer for brunch is good and they have beignets for Sunday brunch only!

After dinner, we joined our friend Eric and headed to Perch.  We’ve been meaning to check out Perch since before it opened for it’s rooftop-view of Pershing Square.

Perch is a rooftop lounge located on top of the Pershing Square Building and has 2 floors.  You have to take 2 elevators (or the stairs instead of the 2nd elevator ride) to get to their 2-level lounge on the 15th & 16th floors.  I’m sure they have specialty cocktails, but again, for some odd reason, I didn’t feel like drinking much last night and only had a glass of Shiraz.

16th Floor.  The building is tiered at the top, so from the 16th floor, you can see the edge of the 15th floor.

Pershing Square. And there you have it, Perch’s view of Pershing Square.  Our little concrete park in the middle of Downtown LA.

We love the buildings of Downtown LA.

The cool thing about the lobby of the Pershing Square Building is that it has 2 fish tanks!  ..and this one’s got an eel in it!

See him????  We were lucky to catch him slithering around as we were exiting.  So cool!

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