August or Commander's Palace?
Am curious for some feedback. I have one big dinner in New Orleans - Christmas Eve - and am trying to pick between August and Commander's Palace. I understand August to be pretty amazing, and Commander's Palace to be a little more traditional NO fare. We're in from New York so if August is more of a ... New York style place that happens to be in New Orleans, I might be inclined to go with Commander's Palace. BUT my instinct is for August - how much of a local cuisine and flavor factors into the tasting menu at August?
Basically I'm looking to be convinced that yes, August has some authentic New Orleans taste to it and I should go for that ... or no, its just like eating in New York City ... in which case I'd probably opt for Commander's Palace.
They are both open that night.
On our recent trip to NOLA my wife and I ate dinners at both Commanders and August. Not only was August heads and shoulders better than Commanders, the dinner at Commanders was the worst meal I had in NOLA (not terrible bad, but no where near as good as any of the other food we ate).
The dinner at August, however (we did the six course tasting at both) was the best we had in NOLA. The other nice thing about August is that they will switch out a course on the six course tasting if you don't like one.
Run, don't walk to Restaurant August!
I too, am a New Yorker and as much as I have loved the 2 experiences I've had at Commander's...August has been one of the most memorable food experience's I've had ever. John Besh is one of this country's top chef's and in accordance with modern culinary etiquette, uses local flavors to blow...you...away.
August--not just like eating in NYC: very "local" in flavors, ingredients, but just as refined and elegant as high end NYC. You may even "discover" that some of the things you're used to eating in NYC we also grow (or can put our own twist on here). John Besh is home-grown and rooted in our traditions (see his recent book, My New Orleans), but his food is never provincial, never staid, and yes, it is "amazing."
I love New York and its fabulous restaurants, but always wonder why people who hear August is "amazing" immediately assume /worry that it's "just like eating in New York." It ain't.
I'm with EC on this. The only gripe that I had with Restaurant August was the sommelier's wine pairings, but here is a new sommelier there, and I hear great things about her talents.
There is also a very similar thread on this board, so you might want to check that out for more input.
CP is good, but lunch/brunch is usually better, IMHO.