In France there are little corner restaurants everywhere that have the same set menu and plats du jour, and a small bar with coffee and drinks.
That's what Degas is. One would think New Orleans would have quite a few places following this ancient formula. We don't.
I can only honestly review lunch, which I do quite a bit. I've only been to the bar at night- it's lovely if the French style is what you like. It is very small.
Degas does the classic set menu very well. I've had everything on it, it's all nicely done. The specials are where you will find a more local twist- I have found them all to be very nice- if they are doing lamb or softshell crab, that tends to be a good reason to go off the set menu.
Set menu is the classics- blanquette de veau- good, Salade Nicoise, I like theirs- the crab salad and crab omelette are both nice- steak and frites are solid. Mussels Mariniere, escargot, and the Salade au Chèvre Tiede all pass the French test. Nobody thinks to order liver and onions in a restaurant, but you might just want to here- it is excellent!
Cheese plates and charcuterie vary daily, but they are generally an excellent choice. In fact, those and maybe some apps- soups and salads are all good choices. Add wine or coffee drinks, or whatever- a great midday choice for a group. Desserts are generally the classics- they even do Crepes Suzette.
Out can even be a choice that includes vegetarians pretty well ( which is difficult in New Orleans!) but Vegans, I would say no. As to children- possibly, depends on the kids.
So you can do a lot of different things for your midday stop here, especially with a group.
It truly is one of my favorite places, but I knock off one from a full Excellent rating for several reasons.
They can and sometimes do mess up the food. The service almost always leaves much to be desired. They really could stand some new tables and chairs, and some rethinking of the layout. It isn't as comfortable as it could be.
Do keep in kind that this is very much a little neighborhood spot- there is a much more laissez faire vibe in the neighborhood places than there is downtown and the Quarter. As such- it just is what it is- while there can be less than stellar service at this place, much of it is just a level of casual that most people just aren't used to. Believe me, they aren't like that because they hate the cut of your jib or something- it isn't personal. Razor sharp professionalism just doesn't make it to out if the way neighborhood spots. Honestly- it struggles in the busy parts of town!
My TA comments are geared towards a tourist perspective, rather than local. That said- I don't know if it would be worth it to go out of your way to go to Degas- unless you have an incredible craving for classic French rather than the local fare.
Should you be spending time in Bayou St. John, it's a great choice. Spend day at City Park, the museum, the sculpture garden,St. Louis#3 Cemetery- there is also a carousel and a small amusement park in City Park- add in a meal at Degas, it makes for a pretty perfect day.
The 91 bus stops near the Quarter at Esplande and N. Rampart and will take you through Esplanade to both Degas and the park, so it's a pleasant and scenic adventure. You can also continue on up City Park Ave. to the part if town we call Cemetaries. Guess what you will find there? That's right- boneyards and lots of em! And they're very pretty and peaceful and full of history.
You can even start that day with lunch at Degas and finish with dinner at Ralph's on the Park. Or vice versa.
A very picture perfect New Orleans outing. Highly recommended!