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He heads an empire and pioneered New Orleans’ modern restaurant scene, but Emeril’s flagship restaurant has never flagged. It’s still high quality (and high priced), interesting, exciting dining with dishes that build meaningfully on tradition. The wine list is intelligent and broad; service is helpful and professional but unstuffy; and noise is well-managed in the buoyant room. The plate shows clear commitment to first-rate, locally sourced ingredients: A salad of local tomatoes and melon is dotted with tiny, crispy duck hearts and a wisp of herb in the vinaigrette. Grilled pork chops, done perfectly despite their girth, are artfully glazed with tamarind and tomatillo molé sauces. Meyer lemon crème elevates brandied lobster bucatini. Order chocolate soufflé with your entrée but get banana cream pie too. Tips: The open-kitchen bar seating is perfect for single diners; the $23 three-course lunch is a great deal. Reserve well in advance.