Stella vs. Restaurant August
I'll be in New Orleans briefly for a conference in May, and have time for one nice dinner out. My husband and I want to do a tasting menu, and after a lot of searching on this board and others I've narrowed it down to Stella vs. Restaurant August. Please help me with the pros/cons, opinions of both. We enjoy all types of food and do not have any dietary restrictions. Dinner would be on a Tuesday (or possibly Wednesday) night. Thanks!
301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
i would have to agree with August. I'm not a real wine connoissuer, but am a serious foodie and former resident and frequent visitor to New Orleans. The one complaint I've heard about August is the wine choices, but I always enjoyed them. Have been to both restaurants, some of our selections at Stella were fantastic, others just seemed they were trying to hard to be different. The worst though was the way we were shuffled in and out of there like it was a cattle car. They appear to be overbooking the place, and literally got us out of there in maybe a little over 45 minutes (for a three-course meal) and they were literally dozens of people waiting at the very small bar for their table (I have to assume they all had reservations). My husband and I were horrified, part of what makes NOLA, NOLA is the service. And no, this was not Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest. August has always been a delight, the food and service for the most part is impeccable.
Will be in town early May for three nights. My dinner plans are Brightsens, August and I thought I would try GW Fins as it seems to get fairly good reviews. Commander's for brunch and will try to stop by Port of Call (though maybe try Yo Mama's for some comparison) and Mona Lisa for casual lunches. I can eat an astonishing amount of food when in town...
Mona Lisa Restaurant
1212 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Port of Call
838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116
August is absolutely fantastic
Innovative, fresh, and impeccable service
I have eaten there 8 times in 1 year--one of which was when I had a group of 12, including two vegetarians who showed up 1 hr late--the staff created dishes (including an incredible risotto) without missing a beat on serving everyone on time and at the same time!
I am a big Besh fan, so the answer is obvious.
More information on the exact same question:
My take: Stella focuses on exotic ingredients prepared in a fusion sort of way, e.g., sharkfin broth, - which thankfully was pulled from the menu - venison, chilean seabass, etc. No local flavor at all. August's food is prepared in a more traditional french, haute style but with a laser-like focus on local ingredients. I think Besh takes risks at August, so I've found some hits and some misses, the same with Stella. August is always inventive and creative though, except for the same ole amuse bouche they've been serving forever. So in a nutshell, go to Stella if you want excellent food made out of imported ingredients. Go to August if you want haute cuisine crafted from Louisiana's finest. I'll add that you can get Stella type food in any major city in this country. You can't get August food any where else in the country. For me it's a toss-up, but for someone visiting from out of town, I would lean toward August.
Tough call. We have enjoyed both, and would return in a heart beat.
Last trip, I gave my wife, the NOLA native, the option. She chose Stella!, but probably was still grading August down, due to the sommelier on our last trip. He has been replaced, and the new sommelier has gotten great reviews.
I'd have to think long and hard, if I could only do one. Since I have dined at Stella! more often, I might lean towards August and the new sommelier. Heck, my wife got to choose last time, so it's now my turn!