Of all the decadent foods that we ate in New Orleans, August Restaurant wins hands down as what we think is arguably the best restaurant in that city. All dressed up, we were pumped up for a night of fine dining and August delivered. The entire execution of the dining experience and food at August stayed true to Chef John Besh's awards: Top 10 Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine magazine, James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast 2006, America’s Top 50 Restaurants by Gourmet magazine.
If the amuse bouche was any indication to the level of goodness of the rest of our meal, it certainly was a good way to start us off. The egg shell was filled with fish mouse and topped with black caviar and a tiny sprig of parsley. There was no hint of fishiness in the mousse which should be the way how fresh fish items are. The mousse was light and maybe even a little fluffy.
Luke and managed to eat an obscene amount of raw oysters and therefore would not have been able to stomach a 5-course dinner. Our server told us that if we liked any of the items from the 5-course degustation menu, we could order them ala carte style. Score.
The sunfish crudo was a winner in its own category. Dressed with a citrus vinaigrette, the sunfish slices were perfect for every bite. While we have seen ceviche in many places, we noticed that crudo seems to be popping up at restaurant menus these days. Crudo is raw fish in Italian and the fish is commonly accompanied with some sort of citrus dressing. While ceviche and crudo sound and look similar, the difference is that crudo is not "cooked" in the citrus juice but serves as an accompaniment.
The mangalitsa pork belly was amazing in its own right. We first learned about the Mangalitsa pig from Ming Tsai who said during one of the episodes of The Next Iron Chef that this breed is one of the most expensive and premium swines around and it is noted for its lard. While we have not seen Mangalitsa pork in any Chicago restaurants, they definitely are making the rounds in Chef John Besh's New Orleans restaurants including Luke which we also went to.
If there was a category for decadence, the best contender would have to be the duckling breast served with roasted duck foie gras. The duckling breast was tender and juicy done medium rare. The foie gras was rich and its petite serving was well portioned.
We topped off our meal with a deconstructed Hummingbird cake. The bite-size sponge cake was lightly seared on one side which gave it a slight crisp and burnt fragrance. It also came with a scoop of cream cheese ice-cream which replaced the traditional cream cheese frosting of a Hummingbird cake.
A large part of our travels involve gastronomic adventures and at the end of each trip we always ask each other So what was your favorite meal? August it was for the both of us.
301 Tchoupitoulas Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
2008 Food & Wine Magazine 50 Best Chef Hall of Fame
2008 Bon Appetit Magazine The Hot 10 Restaurants
2006 James Beard Award Best Chef in the Southeast
2006 Gourmet Magazine Top 50 Restaurants
1999 Food & Wine Magazine Best New Chef