NYC Hounds try Cuvee and August
In New Orleans for the weekend and had reservations Cuvee and August, based on recommendations received here.
Cuvee is absolutely beautiful, exposed brick and very welcoming. For starters I had the Eggs, Bacon and Toast, a scrambled egg served inside its shell accompanied with a cube of bacon and a piece of “toast” more like a scone. As simple as this seems, the dish was fantastic and the flavors played well with one another (I also like the idea that I was having breakfast for dinner, something that seemed appropriate being in New Orleans.) My significantly better half (SBH) had the lump crab meat and beet salad which was also very nice. For our mains, I chose the bouillabaisse (over the “Duck” which seemed to be a whole duck prepared in various ways . . . confit, foie gras . . . ) The bouillabaisse did not disappoint however, perfect bits of lobster and shellfish in a subtle fennel-based stock. My SBH had the appetizer portion of the scallops with a foie gras ravioli. This was a relatively simple dish but the ravioli seemed to overpower the scallop. For dessert, we shared the moon pie, absolutely fantastic. Overall, the food is very impressive at Cuvee and we’re looking fwd to going back (for the Duck!) However, the service was a little slow and sloppy and the wait staff appeared at times to be overwhelmed (this is something I’ve noticed at a few other placed around the city and my advice to any ambitious line cooks or waiters looking to make a name for themselves is to make for New Orleans post-haste. A wealth of opportunity here in a great city!)
August had a very different vibe than Cuvee, much more formal (almost pompously so I felt.) Nonetheless, the experience speaks for itself and I concur with the other Hounds who say this is the best restaurant in the city. To start, my SBH had the gnocchi. This was like no gnocchi I’d ever had before, delicately light and flavorful. I had the small ravioli-like dish (the name escapes me) of three smallish seafood-based raviolis in a delectable sauce. A great beginning! For our mains, my SBH had a perfectly cooked filet that was somehow infused with a savory porcini mushroom flavor. The flavor was pervasive but not so much as to over-power the cut. I had the catteloni stuffed with lobster, rabbit and sweatbreads (a strange mix I thought but one that worked perfectly.) For dessert, we shared the banana rum and white chocolate cake that in addition to being very tasty was beautifully presented. Also, all of the service issues I’d seen at other places was not in evidence at all at August. The wait staff was incredibly attentive and professional in the most welcoming sort of way (which again, seemed at odds with the décor and somewhat "stuffy" vibe.) Also, the best old fashioned I had this trip was to be found at the bar at August.
No reservations tonight, our last night in town and we’re playing it loose (would like to try the Pelican Club though . . . ) Many thanks all for your recommendations and for steering us to Cuvee and August!
So glad you enjoyed them! I had the exact opposite service issues on my last visits to Cuvee and August-- flawless at Cuvee, very slow and perhaps training about 5 new people at August. The two times before that at August were on par with your experience. The service issues of which you speak seem to strike every restaurant on random nights. But I figure the food is worth it. :)