A Late Summer Brunch at August
When my parents were in town last weekend, I found myself looking for the perfect Sunday brunch spot, in the village, that I had never been to before, and that wasn’t too stuffy. I considered the Spotted Pig, but the menu was too intimidating for before noon; Wallse was too Austrian (weinerschnitzl before happy hour seems wrong); Bobo was too formal, and Philip Marie/Bus Stop Cafe too informal. Finally, I hit upon August, a recommendation from my boyfriend who has been there for dinner once.
Walking into August, you feel as though you’ve stepped into a country farmhouse – and the menu only verifies that, yes, you have stepped into a Bavarian country farmhouse. Warm, both in feeling and temperature, August is cramped, bustling, and smells like my grandmother’s kitchen.
The restaurant is separated into two rooms – the front room and the ‘greenhouse.’ The front has about 8-10 rough hewn wooden tables under warm lighting, while the back has about 10 tables under a large class arched ceiling. Both rooms are supremely atmospheric, convincing in their efforts to transport you from busy Bleecker St to a bucoclic village cottage.
The brunch menu is very limited, and my entire party had difficulty identifying something they wanted. Luckily, once the food arrived, everyone was satisfied and impressed by the quality of the cuisine. Chef Terrence Gallivan pulls inspiration from all over Europe, blending Mediterranean and Northern European flavors with everything continental in between. He also makes full use of the wood-burning oven, producing greasy, smoky, garlicky masterpieces that warm the body from the inside out.
My father had the unusual combination of the Smoked Trout and a scone. The trout was, in his opinion, delightful – cooked well, flavorful, and out-of-the-ordinary. I personally opted for the Frittata of the Day – an absolutely delicious concoction of eggs, peas, bacon, cheese and chives baked into a hot pan. It was hearty and rich with beautifully fluffy eggs. I couldn’t get anywhere near finishing the large portion, but I certainly wished it were the type of dish I could take home. My mother went for the August Burger, which was absolutely gigantic. She had to cut it into small pieces in order to eat it without wearing it. Either way, while it was not the best burger in New York, it was by no means weak or unfulfilling – and the fries were the ideal mix of crispy, salty, and crunchy.
The congenial service added to the homey experience. Our waiter magically seemed to anticipate every time we needed something, showing up just as the thought of wanting more water crossed my mind. However, I will note, I think we got lucky with our server. The other server in the room was sour and incompetent (maybe just hungover?).
August is cozy. It’s not trendy or ‘elegant.’ It is warm and inviting. I find it ideal for dates or for catching up with friends. It’s the type of place that makes you feel good, even if the food might give you a heart attack.