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Trip Report: August, Stanley, Emeril's, Italian Barrel, Maximo's, Domenica, Muriel's, Red Fish Grill

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We visited from 12/26-1/2.

Stanley -- had brunch at the bar. Really tasty and creative egg dishes. I'll definitely go back. I had the Breaux Bridge Benedict with Boudin, Smoked Ham, American Cheese, Poached Eggs, and Creole Hollandaise. So many other things on the menu I would like to try.

Maximo's -- Nice plate of charcuterie and cheese. I had a salad of greens and big crab lumps. Very good. Then the house made fettucini Bolognese with prosciutto, ground veal, and Italian sausage. My only complaint involved seating. The first booth we were led to even the skinny ladies in our party could not squeeze into. Then the table we got was the kitchen door location. A really impressive Italian wine list.

Italian Barrel -- Really tiny bistro. You'll know your neighbor by the end of the meal. I had a simple but tasty appetizer of fresh, slighty pickled?, anchovies. Then a perfectly cooked filet with a crab sauce. It might have been a bit too rich, but I'm not really complaining. The ladies were very happy with several options of ravioli stuffed with pumpkin, spinach, fire roasted tomatoes, or porcini and truffle. This is not a well known place but the menu is creative.

August -- We had the $20.12 three course lunch. What a steal! We had a tri-layer cauliflower mousse in an egg shell as an amuse bouche. I had a first course of pate of local pork, house made pickles and marmalades with toasted brioche. My main was a gulf sheepshead poêlé with pumpkin custard, pearl barley, and brown butter. This was one of the best fish dishes I've ever had. I can't recall exactly what the dessert was except it was triple doses of chocolate and very good, though the Meyer Lemon dessert my friends had was even better. This was the best meal of the trip. Not only was the food great, the room is beautiful, and the service was top notch.

Emeril's -- Another $20 lunch special and another bargain for a top restaurant, though not as impressive as August. I had gumbo, a porchetta sandwich, and a berry sorbet. Great server. Try to do this deal, too, but if you can only do one, pick August.

Domenica -- Another John Besh restaurant (like August). Domenica, in the Roosevelt Hotel, has half price drinks and pizza from 3 to 6. We got two of their artisan pizzas, a wild mushroom and an eggplant version. These would be good at $14, but they're great at $7.

Muriel's -- We had New Year's Eve dinner at Muriel's and booked the last seating so we could be finishing dessert at midnight. I had a very good version of turtle soup, a so-so veal t-bone, and one of the better bread puddings I've had. Service was only adequate, but NYE tends to stretch even great restaurants pretty thin, so I'm willing to cut some slack there.

Red Fish Grill -- alligator sausage and seafood gumbo. Then a BBQ Oyster Po-Boy. The gumbo was spicy and hearty. I thought the Crystal hot sauce was a little heavy in the po-boy, so the oyster flavor kinda got lost. I would make a different choice next time.

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  1. Great report! Very cool array of places visited.

    Yes! New amuse bouche at August! They had just started the cauliflower when we were there on Xmas Eve, and the server presenting it said that they will be shifting the egg ingredients seasonally. Subtle departure, but still excited they're switching it up some.

    1. Nice report. I was also in NO that week and had the Emiril's lunch as well. My husband had what you had for the app and I tried the crawfish soup (very good), and we both had the porchetta sandwich and peanut butter pie. So good. I wish Toronto had deals like that!

      1. I'm interested that August is calling sheep(s)head by its real name. Most places use that faux "Bay Snapper" monniker. Glad to hear that.

        "Breaux Bridge Benedict" is one of those names that causes recoil in the spine. Might be good but come up with something else. It is too fake-cute for words