It’s never a good sign when a West Village restaurant with an bright, covered garden has empty tables during prime, Sunday brunch time. I so badly wanted to love August, especially after all of the rave reviews about this adorable spot. Never have a left a meal feeling more guilty, since August served a meal that was mediocre, at best, for my sister’s birthday brunch. I blame my preference in places that accept reservations versus those that do not for the poor decision.
There are so many wonderful components to August that make you wish, really wish, that they could get the food right. The backyard set up is absolutely adorable, especially on a bright, spring afternoon with the sun streaming through the high glass ceiling into the lovely dining area.
The wait staff is super friendly and accommodating, trying to make your meal as pleasant as possible. August definitely hires personable individuals, who are knowledgeable about the menu. I ultimately opted for the special of the day, sweet potato and short rib hash. Amanda and my Dad opted to order their ‘famous’ Wood Oven Baked Eggs en Cocotte, while my mom went a more traditional route with the Eggs Benedict.
It’s a hash with a personality disorder. The slow cooked onions and peppers seemed better placed on top of a sausage sandwich, but instead were mixed in with the short ribs and sweet potatoes. I found myself digging around the onions and peppers to find some of the good stuff. The hash was also overly seasoned, with the burning sensation of pepper leaving you wanting some kind of cheese or sauce to mellow the flavor. Mixing the yolk into the dish helped a bit, but not much. I was definitely disappointed by this dish, which seemed to have so much potential.
Baking eggs is an art form, which makes it a rarity on many brunch menus. It takes perfect timing and patience to get this dish just right, cooking the egg whites all the way through, while keeping a runny yolk. When my dad and Amanda dug into their baked eggs, they both pulled out one hard egg yolk, cooked as if to be used in an egg salad. The other yolk was over-medium, at best, barely adding any sauce and richness to the dish. The salty chorizo and blistered peppers added elements of flavor and texture to a bland dish.
I think I understand why they started agreeing to accept reservations. Reviews dating back to 2010 are outdated for August, with statements about long lines at this ‘no reservation’ spot. It seems that times have radically changed, since August needs to hook people. Allowing for reservations, causes individuals, like myself, to be fooled by the adorable setting and relying on reviews of days past. I wonder if there was a change in ownership, or just a lack of care put into a meal here. There’s a reason why the hype has seemed to die down about this place, because the food at August really is mediocre, at best.
August – 359 Bleecker Street – New York, NY