My friend Toma was in town from Juneau, AK last week. She had never been to chef John Besh's flagship restaurant Restaurant August. It was time to remedy that. I made the reservation and gave the chef a heads up that I was bringing a friend for her first meal there.
Kathy and Toma arrived just before me and were already seated when I arrived. Obligatory Sazeracs graced the table. August offers a prix fixe, 3-course lunch menu for $20.12. We all took advantage of this terrific deal.
The team that waited on us was engaging, knowledgable and fun. We placed our order and tore into the hot, fresh-baked french bread slathered with soft, room temperature butter.
First out was an amuse bouche of thinly sliced bresaola - Italian air-cured beef topped with finely chopped apples and other goodies. I was so busy admiring it that I didn't hear the entire description as it was placed in front of me. I also didn't take a picture of it. It was sumptuous.
Next out were our appetizers. Toma and I got the velouté of acorn squash and apple with Gulf shrimp. The soup was rich and velvety ... it was divine.
Kathy ordered the pate of local pork (the Besh Group raises its own pigs in Lacombe) with house made pickles and marmalades with toasted brioche. It's a big serving so we all got to have a taste. C'est si bon!
While we were totally engrossed in our appetizer course, the waiter brought out a plate of sashimi grade fish topped with cucumbers and mandarin oranges. Light, fresh, crisp, and sweet flavors.
We devoured every morsel of the food in front of us! Once those dishes were cleared, the chef sent out his version of alligator sauce picante. Small pieces of tender alligator with chopped tomatoes and thinly sliced fresh assorted hot peppers. The peppers had just a slight crunch and just the right amount of heat. Wow! Folks, this is not your mama's sauce picante!
At this point we were 4 courses into the meal, and hadn't gotten to our "entree" yet. As entrees, Kathy and Toma ordered the Manchac softshell crab “BLT” with garlicky bread pudding topped with tomato and bacon vinaigrette. Lightly battered, perfectly fried buster softshell crab - does it get any better than that? I don't think so. Luscious and decadent.
For my entree, I got the grilled Two Run Farms beef sausage with salsa verde, purple hull peas, peppers and grilled mustard greens. The sausage was tender with a bit of crunch to the exterior. Nice contrast of textures and flavors in the peas, peppers, and grilled mustard greens.
Now for dessert. We ordered coffee - perfectly brewed coffee & chicory. Then the very talented pastry chef, Kelly Fields, sent out a pre-dessert - her version of PB&J: a small cube of cake topped with chopped peanuts with a taste of house-made peanut butter and muscadine sorbet. Delicious!
Finally, it was time for the official dessert course. Kathy & I ordered the creme fraiche panna cotta with muscadine consomme and hazelnut cake. Perfection!
Toma got the crispy herb gougeres apple compote and warm gouda for dessert. She loved it. I didn't get a picture. Don't hate - at this point I was struggling to sit up.
I'd like to thank chef Michael Gulotta and pasty chef Kelly Fields for the lagniappe that made the experience all the more exceptional for the three of us. Without a doubt, this was one of the best meals I have ever had!