Restaurant August (New Orleans, LA)
301 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130
Dining date: 6/13/15
Restaurant August was high on my list of places to try while in town. It’s John Besh’s flagship restaurant and consistently regarded as one of the top restaurants in the city. The food here combines Besh’s classical French training with the cuisine and ingredients of Louisiana. The decor is an upscale setting with old-world charm.
A few dining options were available – a la carte, a five course farmers market tasting ($72) and a five course degustation menu ($97). The restaurant allows each diner to choose which route they want to go; the tasting menu isn’t mandatory for the entire table. The flexibility allowed us to get one tasting menu and order a handful of a la carte dishes to create a custom tasting.
parmesan mousse, garlic, corn crumble
We began with an amuse bouche inside of an egg shell. Parmesan mousse and garlic provided savory notes while corn crumble brought some sweet texture.
market vegetable chop salad with petite herbs and champagne vinaigrette
After a week of dining out here, this chopped salad was just what the doctor ordered. Vibrant fresh vegetables were a great cleanse with plenty of interesting textures and a bright vinaigrette.
lemonfish cru tomato, basil, local pepper
The first dish from the degustation menu brought lemonfish, raw and sliced thinly. It displayed clean sea flavors with freshness of tomato and basil.
squid tagliatelle saffron
Continuing with the tasting menu, housemade squid ink pasta was tossed with tender squid in a savory, saffron-accented sauce. Citrus was a nice complement to the hearty noodles and squid.
handmade potato gnocchi tossed with blue crab and black truffle
A signature dish here, sweet blue crab was married with earthy truffle and tender gnocchi. Hard to go wrong with these ingredients and it sure didn’t disappoint.
crispy branzino royal red shrimp, spring onion
Coming back to the tasting menu, the third course featured branzino with a crispy skin and moist flesh. The sauce brought plenty of depth to the overall dish and the shrimp were sweet and succulent.
crawfish and guinea hen rapini, ricotta, sauce nantua
The last savory item on the tasting menu, guinea hen, was also a hit. The hen was complemented by sweet crawfish and bitter rapini, while a rich jus brought it all together.
roasted duckling tomatillo, hominy, blackened foie gras
The duck was tender; its richness was countered by bright tomatillo, fresh greens and radish. Luscious foie gras provided a boost of extra duck flavor.
“vietnamese iced coffee” dark chocolate, condensed milk, black cocoa sherbet
With plenty of chocolate flavor, this dessert resembled more of a caffe mocha than Vietnamese coffee . I actually wanted the coffee flavor to be more forward here.
A few more sweets ended the night.
Restaurant August was the the best all-around meal of this trip. Given the price point was a $98 tasting menu (at most), I found it very reasonable for this level of cooking. In fact, the restaurant has a three-course Friday lunch menu priced at just $20 (going up one cent each year, currently at $20.15). Besh’s cooking expertly blended his classical French background with local ingredients and flavors, creating some memorable bites. Highly recommended for any New Orleans trip, and I hope to return.