First Look: TruOrleans

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TruOrleans Restaurant & Gallery sits on the early part of H St NE, before all the hustle and bustle you’ll find closer to Sticky Rice, Toki Underground and Granville Moore’s. If you stand across from it (by Ethiopic), TruOrleans really seems to command the entire block.

It is 2 floors with an open deck. The space is great, and the staff is friendly. Every time I make my way around the place, I’m greeted by the hostess, a waiter and a bartender. This friendliness is a saving grace.

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To me everything tastes like bar food, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just call it what it is. The gator tenders were fine. Nothing special. The fact that they came out about two minutes after putting in the order didn’t make me feel much better. The dipping sauce here was the best part.
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The Crawfish Étouffée was a dish I should have sent back, salted to the extreme. Thankfully, I had some extra (good) rice. The hushpuppies were not much better, though the free price tag is always a plus and the outside was perfectly crisp.
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What rocks here are the drinks – hurricanes by “category” and a fun selection of specialty cocktails to read through.

So go here to be wowed by the service and the cool drinks, not the food, which is average at best – at least for now. I definitely see the place succeeding though, and I’m definitely hoping for some nice improvements.

TruOrleans is located at 400 H Street, NE. The closest metro stop is Union Station. For more information, call (202) 290-1244.

Tricia is a native Washingtonian, born and raised in Columbia Heights. She loves DC so much that she was only able to leave the city for one year after college and immediately came running back. Tricia works in PR during the day, and spends her nights trying out new restaurants in DC with friends or watching The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Tricia recently decided to eat her way though all of Zagat’s 2011 restaurants until she realized she would be old and broke by the time she finished. Follow her on Twitter and email her at Tricia (at)

5 thoughts on “First Look: TruOrleans

  1. More like BOO-orleans. I wish people would stop opening up Ruby Tuesdays and slapping beads on the wall and calling it a New Orleans experience.

  2. Hands down the food here is really good; a little pricey but the flavors are very good. I had the crawfish Etoufee also when I visited; the flavors kept me intrigued till the last bite!

    @Jennifer, Have you visited?

  3. @Zesty

    I’ve been there and I’d have to agree with Jennifer. Food was bland, at best. I haven’t made it upstairs the the veranda, but the inside of the ground floor does remind me of a cookie-cutter themed chain type restaurant, similar too, but not quite as cookie-cutter as say Outback. The hosts are nice. And the live band was fun and enjoyable. But I wouldn’t recommend the food to anyone.

    @Brian Beignets were awful. I was excited about them, too, since I live nearby and they have started to be open weekday mornings before work to serve beignets with coffee. Oh well.

  4. I went about three weeks ago and had almost the exact same experience. Loved the upper deck, loved the atmosphere, but the gator tenders were just like over-fried popcorn chicken, and my catfish ettoufee was so salty I did send it back. My date also sent back his steak: he wanted rare and got well-done.

    I had one of the infused drinks, which was wonderful, and the oysters were great. But the entres were just not good.