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Port of Call
January 15th, 2010 by Joemoney

2 votes, average: 5.50 out of 102 votes, average: 5.50 out of 102 votes, average: 5.50 out of 102 votes, average: 5.50 out of 102 votes, average: 5.50 out of 102 votes, average: 5.50 out of 102 votes, average: 5.50 out of 102 votes, average: 5.50 out of 102 votes, average: 5.50 out of 102 votes, average: 5.50 out of 10
(2 votes, average: 5.50 out of 10)
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Port of Call
http://portofcallnola.com
838 Esplanade Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70116

All Aboard! –

The Christmas holidays are a wonderful time. It’s a time for both my wife and I to head back to Baton Rouge, LA and spend time with family and friends. Being that this was also the first Burger Tyme Christmas holiday I thought it to be extremely appropriate to add yet another Louisiana burger joint to the list. For years I’ve had friends tell me how great Port of Call in New Orleans is. This was also confirmed by being the only burger joint in Louisiana to make the book Hamburger America. It was also voted Gambit Weekly Best Burger in 2008 by local New Orleaneans. So with much free time and a few willing burger tymers, we made our way down to New Orleans on probably one of the coldest days in South Louisiana history. It was about 30F which is about as cold as it gets. When we arrived in the French Quarter we parked by beautiful Jackson Square and the St Louis Cathedral. The cold weather actually made it quite pleasant as usually bad smells in the French Quarter are usually compounded by the heat and humidity. We made our way past many world renowned restaurants, past art shops, and past a few other unknown burger places, to Dauphine and Esplanade, about half a block  just North of Bourbon St to Port of Call. Like many other shops and restaurants in this eclectic and misunderstood part of New Orleans, Port of Call is inconspicuously situated in an old house with a sign hanging out front. I had heard tale that this place was kind of a dive but it was actually nicer than I expected. Something that surprised my was how every table was full inside even though they did not even look open from the outside. We made our way in and it was very dark inside at 1pm. After our eyes adjusted we were directed to take a seat. As we sat I looked around at what everyone else was having. Other than the many fruity drinks they offer, everyone was having the burger. That’s why we were here too.

Calling All Carbs –

The menu states :

“All our burgers are half pound ground fresh daily, and come with baked potato with butter.”

This seemed like a very promising start. Fresh beef, a baked potato instead of fries, a soft drink cup that I get to take home!!! I went ahead and placed my order for the cheeseburger which comes in at a hard to swallow $10.75 soft drink not included. But I’m willing to pay extra for burger perfection. The wait was not too long and we were able to fill our time listening to the bartender (who coincidentally spoke like a pirate, although I don’t think it was intentional) give parenting tips to his coworkers. When our burgers arrived there were mixed emotions running through my mind. The first thing I noticed was the cheese. The unmelted, shredded cheddar cheese on top of the patty. My eye was then drawn to the very uninspiring bun. It was at best a regular seeded bun from the grocery store with little if any toasting. This is OK at this point. The veggies served on the side were very plain. A whole slice of an onion, a leaf of iceberg lettuce, and a slice of tomato. The condiments were on the table for your use including mayonnaise (doesn’t this need to be refrigerated?). I assembled my burger and took a bite. It was juicy. The meat tasted fresh and of good quality but that is about all I can say good about  it. The meat lacked almost any kind of seasoning. Almost everything about this burger was pretty unimpressive… Well, except for the baked potato. I actually really liked it in place of french fries.  But even it was just basic butter, bacon bits, sour cream, and chives.

The Wrap it Up-

In spite of all of these objections running through my mind I ate the burger rather quickly. I have to give credit to the fresh and high quality of the meat used. The other ingredients, however, could definitely stand to step up their game. As I was talking to a friend in Baton Rouge about this burger his comment was that I was the first person he had heard say bad things about this burger. No doubt, Port of Call has it’s fans. They have been making the same burger there for almost 50 years. That being said (and it pains me to say this about a Louisiana Burger), I think there are better burger out there in the world and possibly New Orleans has a better one to offer. For a total of about $15 I would recommend trying some of the other excellent cuisine the French Quarter and getting some beignets and hot chocolate at Cafe du Monde while the weather is still cold.


Comments

comments

7 Responses  
  • BurgerDogBoy writes:
    January 18th, 20103:23 amat

    I used to live there and year after year I was befuddled by my fellow crescent city-ites voting this the best burger in town. I always thought there were better ones around. Easily Tuckers up in Treme – home of the deep-fried stuffed burger, one one up on Port O Call. New Orleanians often vote with history in mind rather than their palate – if it was their momma’s favorite, it’s their favorite. That’s ok, but I like to be a little more adventurous! Yours, in good burgers!

  • Sorry writes:
    January 18th, 201011:16 amat

    This is my first time reading your blog and I must say that unfortunately it will be the last. Your lack of knowledge, specifically with the Port of Call posting, astounds me. Sometimes basic is better, especially with this location. I dont do this often, but I agree with your friend with Baton Rouge…you missed the boat on this one my friend. Time to book another trip to NOLA.

  • mmmhmmm writes:
    January 18th, 20101:05 pmat

    this posting is utterly ridiculous…clearly the only reason you have a blog is because your views are so utterly wrong, no one will pay you to publish them in any decent publication

  • kallan writes:
    January 19th, 201011:45 amat

    I agree totally with BurgerTyme.

    For me, I think this burger was too hyped. I went into it with really high expectations and it was just OK. It didn’t taste like anything but just plain meat. Do they not season their patties at all? Not even salt and pepper? I guess Sorry and mmmhmmm like bland meat. It did taste fresh and wasn’t greasy, which I like, but the baked potato was my favorite part of that meal. It surprised me how well it went with the burger.

  • MoarBurgersPLZ writes:
    February 15th, 20121:44 pmat

    Port of call is overrated. By the time I received mine I had just about finished my monsoon so perhaps my memory of the burger is flawed. That must be why so many love it so. It is just a TON of meat with sub par accoutrements. Maybe I am a burger snob, but I like a little creativity and I don’t want to feel like most of my bites are just-ok meat.

    There are so many DELICIOUS new burger places that are worthy of a visit and don’t have the 30 minute plus wait. COMPANY BURGER! COWBELL! The burgers at Capdeville are outstanding too! PLEASE BURGER TYME COME BACK TO NOLA! You can find a mind-blowing burger if you happen to get burnt out on creole fare.

  • Burger Tyme - The Company Burger | Burger Tyme writes:
    February 22nd, 20127:53 amat

    […] “Best” burger of the crescent city was the beloved, but less than impressive burger at Port of Call. Straightforward, beefy patty, with a baked potato on the side. That has been the standard for […]

  • AyUaxe writes:
    June 11th, 20124:49 pmat

    Found this searching for something else about Port of Call and am compelled to comment, because the review is just wrong. There is very little, subtle spice blended into their burger. Yes, it is mild and 99% just fresh good quality hamburger meat cooked just right; but I assure you it has some mild seasoning that is very difficult to precisely put your finger on. Get it plain–no cheese or mushrooms or other carp–and you might be able to taste it, if you’re taste buds aren’t messed up from eating too much “fast food.”

    My wife, btw, is much more sensitive than I am and can usually determine exactly what spices are in any dish. It’s funny to see her talk to a restaurant owner about their special dish and see them marvel at her “analysis” and then try to take the conversation really low, so no one else will hear. Anyway, the point is, she agrees there’s some very mild spice in the burger–maybe just a touch of garlic powder or garlic salt and regular salt–but it’s subtle enough she hasn’t quite put her finger on it yet.

    More importantly, though, than the burger is the ambiance of the bar, the restaurant, the patrons, the FQ, Esplanade, and the Marigny, all converging in one place over drinks, burgers, and baked potatoes. You really feel like you’re in some dive sailors’ bar from the 1800s–maybe you are!? That’s perhaps the greater draw of Port of Call and what really kept it going through times (like in the 1980’s) when it was so dangerous to go into that neighborhood after dark, almost no one would without an armed escort. The area is much safer now (though one should still watch out going and coming in the dark along Esplanade), so go and enjoy the whole PoC experience!


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