I recently met up with some friends to dine at August in the West Village. August is a nice little bistro-y restaurant located at 359 Bleecker Street that serves European fare. We started off with good conversation and delicious cups of coffee. I was impressed by the elective selection of music playing over the speakers at August—the music ranged from “The Sun King” by The Beatles, to Lou Reed, to that song that goes “I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller, I wish I had a girl that looked good I would call her.” And to top it all off, the food that followed was incredible.
As soon as I saw “Grilled Lamb Belly with Tzatziki and Black Sesame” on the menu I knew exactly what I was ordering. Lamb belly? I never even knew that lamb belly was a thing, but I was pretty sure that I would love it. Apparently it’s the midsection of the lamb that is located just below the loin. It arrived in a cast-iron pan –a nice hunk of lamb belly encrusted in black sesame seeds and sitting pretty on a bed of tzatziki. The meat was incredibly flavorful and tender. It fell lovingly off the bone, and the warm meat juxtaposed nicely with the cool Greek yogurt tossed with cucumber and dill. The dish was also served with fresh dill and mint leaves. Absolutely heavenly. As my friend Phil described it, it was “dill-licious.”
Annie ordered the tarte flambé—an alsatian onion and bacon tart with crème fraiche. It was another beautiful creation. The bacon was cut into thick pieces and it seemed like the onions had been caramelized. The tart was baked in a wood-fired oven, giving it a rustic and smoky quality, and the crème fraiche added a nice creaminess to the savory flavors.
Phil opted for the August burger, which had also tempted me when I perused the menu. The burger was topped with bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg, and it was served with smoky mayo and fries. There’s just something so sexy about a bright yellow, luscious egg yolk oozing sensually into the crevices of meat and bread. The meat was cooked to a nice medium-rare and the thick-cut bacon was perfectly crisp. It was definitely one of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted.
The smoky mayo was a high point of the meal. The mayo was smooth and creamy and each bite revealed subtle layers of smoky flavor. But where did the smoke come from? We asked our server and he told us that they smoke the oil first before adding it to the mayonnaise. However, he didn’t know what smoking the oil actually entailed. My guess was that they simply brought the oil to its smoking point, but when I did a quick search online about smoking points many websites claimed that bringing an oil to its smoking point makes the oil taste bad, and the mayo tasted amazing not bad. [Note: doing a Google search on “how to smoke oil” will return many results for how to smoke hash oil but very few relating to food] Despite not being able to figure out how the concoction was created, it was still the perfect condiment for dipping the crispy, salty fries in.
Lunch at August was a nice treat—what’s better than eating good food and catching up with friends? I would definitely head back to August again, and I know there dinner menu is even more extensive than their lunch options. I highly recommend August to anyone looking for a fine meal in the West Village.