Few restaurants in NYC do romantic rusticity as well as August, the intimate West Village homage to hearty pan-European cuisine. A tavern-like front room with distressed plaster walls, wooden flooring, an arched cork ceiling and wine bottles wedged all akimbo in available nooks and crannies leads into a cozy, glass-enclosed garden with a cobblestone floor in the back. In-between the two is August’s heralded wood-burning brick oven, which infuses dishes likes its tarte flambée and Alsatian onion tart with smoky overtones. Many of those dishes are served in black cast-iron cookware. Such countrified touches and decor make it easy to forget you are in Manhattan, transporting you to some distant rural idyll.

The straightforward and simple cooking draws on a diverse array of international influences with Spain, Italy and France being especially prominent. Thus, there are dishes such as a fresh cavatelli with white veal bouillionaise and ricotta salata, but also hamachi tartare with Asian pear, lemon cream and raddish sprout. The menu changes frequently to incorporate local and seasonal ingredients and many of its best dishes lamentably disappear from time to time. The restaurant is conspicuous among our list for how reasonably priced it is given the quality of its cuisine and its thoughtful wine list is similarly affordable. The no-reservations restaurant becomes especially crowded during its outstanding brunch, where it serves several varieties of wood-oven baked eggs en cocotte and challah bread French toast. It is easy to see why a homey, casual neighborhood restaurant like August has become so popular – it exudes warmth and hospitality while also serving outstanding food at one of the best values in all of NYC.


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West Village
359 Bleecker St.
New York (nr. Charles St.)
(212) 929-8727
Mon-Thurs, noon-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10pm; Fri, noon-2:30pm, 5:30pm-11pm; Sat, 11am-3pm, 5:30pm-11pm; Sun, 11am-3pm, 5:30pm-10pm
    Josh Eden, Chef