Is Restaurant August the real deal or hype?
I will be traveling to new orleans this week for four days and will finally try August. I have wondered for a long time whether it really is that great or just another good restaurant. John Besh looks like a Hollywood model and has lots of charisma. Which leads to the question is August really great for the food or is it Besh's charm and good looks and media hype that sells this restaurant?
301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
It's very good. The restaurant was well known and considered among the best in New Orleans long before besh became a food celeb. I'd have a really hard time naming the "best restaurant" in new orleans, but August is definitely top 3 in a city filled with fantastic restaurants.
Had the $20 prix fixe lunch yesterday....possibly the best fine-dining deal in town ('cause otherwise, the prize goes to the buy a dozen, get one free bahn mi deal at Dong Phuong). Three courses for $20.11, after tax/before tip, it's $22.90. Three choices for each course...I had a watermelon gazpacho, sheepshead over a silver queen corn custard, and a fig tart. All were impeccable, appropriately sized for lunch, and delicious.
Real deal. Other great lunches: Commander's (resv garden room) and Coquette's 3 course prix fixe.
It's rather hard to say. I have never interviewed Chef Besh, but have have had a few private conversations with him. He seems to be real, as he has had zero reason to be otherwise with me. I have never been anything but a patron.
Do I believe everything that he has told me? Well, I have no reason to doubt anything, though I have not investigated every comment.
Now, we have greatly enjoyed several culinary events, with Chef Besh (my wife has done about six, if I count correctly), and have dined there twice - August, that is.
The only complaints that I had on those, happened to be with the sommelier, and the "sommelier's pairings," but that was a rather long time ago, and the sommeliers have changed, with great reviews following. I think that both of my reviews might still be up on the NOLA Board. We did the two, slightly different Chef's Tasting Menus, one each, and both were extremely good to excellent - save for the wines.
I have also dealt with some of his other restaurants, though not directly with Chef Besh. I cannot speak too highly of those interactions, with his staff. They were totally professional, and attentive, plus greatly accommodating. To me, this speaks of the "upper management," whether in London, or just up the street. The staff, with whom I interacted, were as good as it gets, even without 3 Michelin stars in Europe. I could never have asked for more. To me, this reflects from the top down.
There could well be hype, but if the upper management lives up to it, I just overlook it.
Sign me (well US) up as fans.
re: Bill Hunt
I have only gone for lunch and sat at the bar for that matter. BTW, my only negative comment would be that the hostess was a bit snobby when I didn't have a reservation. I took it upon myself to tell her I was more than happy to sit at the bar, and indeed I was. It was a day where I had to go to work after lunch so I only wanted to have one glass of wine. My appetizer was the pate and my entree was the squid ink pasta. A waitress came up to the bar and gave me the perfect one-glass pairing for my meal. Sadly, I cannot remember what it was, but I certainly remember how well the lovely waitstaff took care of me.