August, Alberta, Herbsaint, Pelican Club, Vizard's - Pick 2
Hands down August! First and foremost. I feel sorry for those of you who have had a bad experience because I have had a wonderful experience every time I have eaten there. And I've been there at least 6 times! A far second would be Alberta. The only thing bad there was the risotto. It was bland and absolutely tasteless. Otherwise, pretty good. Never been to Pelican Club or Vizard's. Herbsaint was really good the one time i ate there.
Never been to Pelican or Vizard. I thought Herbsaint was mediocre at best (before and after storm). Went to August for the first time after the storm (early 2006) and it was horrid. I had some terrible fried dish and...well nothing close to good.
Went to Alberta for the first time last week. Here's a review I posted in another thread:
They don't have a handle on the house. People are waiting 45 minutes with a reservation--some walking out.
The two of us eventually got seated and we started with an amuse bouche--crab and guacamole on a cucumber slice. It was a failure in conception and execution. The guacamole was, well, guacamole. It's a very low-cuisine creation (which I generally do like) and it overwhelmed whatever crab there was supposed to have been. The cucumber was thin and limp almost like a soggy cracker.
Our appetizers were sweetbreads and escargots. The sweetbreads were essentially deepfried. Might as well have been McD chicken nuggets. My date liked the escargot a lot. I sampled a small bit. The recipe was original--in a reduction sauce (though they were swimming in it). I wasn't bowled over myself, but I would have liked to try that one again.
Entrees. I had scorched scallops. Think burnt popcorn at the bottom of the bag for the effect. (I should have thought to trim off the outsides and salvage something). They were with a risotto that was so undercooked it was very nearly crunchy. My date had a redfish, I believe. Not as bad as my scallops but it was rather chewy or gummy.
The server made a remark about a new kitchen staff. I saw 2 or 3 teenagers coming out of the back when we entered. I assumed they were there to take out the recycling or something. Apparently not.
If someone gave me those choices I would go straight to Alberta which then to Vizard's. I just am not a huge fan of August like everyone else. I can't put my finger on what bothers me but I am biased. It seems that the rest of the world adores it. Herbsaint is very good but I perfer it at lunch when the sun shines through the big windows. I like the Pelican Club and you will certainly have a good meal, but the food at Vizard's is extraordinarily good.