Sunday, February 21, 2010


My lovely wife The Rock Star and I have made no secret of our desire to someday move to Fredericksburg, that lovely Germanic hamlet just about an hour's drive from both San Antonio and Austin. We love the charming, very liveable and walkable downtown, the burgeoning music scene, and the delightful restaurants, most of which feature good, honest, unpretentious cuisine that warms and pleases the soul. However, we sometimes wish that this rather smallish town would add a few fine dining establishments that would not only please but thrill our palates. Luckily, this need has been anticipated and is being met, little by little. First, Cabernet Grill (formerly The Cotton Gin Restaurant, so named because of the restored building where it resides) set the bar quite nicely with a mostly surf and turf menu on one of our first visits. Then, on an expedition late last year, Navajo Grill pushed the envelope a bit farther, delivering excellent nouveau Texas food in a charmingly ramshackle house. Finally, on our most recent trip, we discovered August E's, which may be most praiseworthy of all. Since Fredericksburg is, after all, quite the little place, it was only a short drive from our favorite bed and breakfast to our newly discovered cathedral of consumption.

August E's is housed in a warehouse-type structure that would make Le Corbusier proud. Exposed metal beams and concrete walls give an Elmer Rice feel to the place, made warmer by excellent postmodern artwork hanging from said walls. White tablecloths and black-clad waitstaff add a touch of elegance to the place, a very urban feel unlike any other to be found in the Hill Country outside of Austin. Since we had Valentine's Day celebration reservations, we were shown right to our table and were taken charge of almost at once.

We began our repast with salad, specifically the Ebers Haus Green Salad, a fetching blend of field greens, tomatoes, spiced pecans, and a delightfully tart Dijon honey balsamic vinaigrette with parmesan cheese. A salad designed to whet rather than totally sate the appetite. Since August E's is a sushi house as well as a formal restaurant, we decided to attack a sushi roll appetizer next. The Jimmy Walker featured a shrimp tempura roll with cucumber, avocado, and caviar. Very good, but not quite as dyno-mite as I would have hoped; a bit more heat might just have punched this palate pleaser to the next level. Luckily, our entrees took the dining experience to that level. In most class establishments, getting the Fish Du Jour is often an excellent choice, and my wife's entree was very fresh fish, simply grilled and served with creamy marscapone whipped potatoes and sauteed sugar snap peas with herb butter cream. Light yet rich and very satisfying. My own choice was Beef Wellington, very rare tenderloin topped with pate and duxelles and served with more of those marscapone potatoes and seasonal mixed vegetables. Again, quite filling but light at the same time; chef Leu Savanh really knows how to sate his guests without stuffing them to the point where movement becomes difficult. We paired our dishes with Castle Rock Pinot Noir, a great food wine with plenty of berries and spice. Dessert was another knockout, flourless chocolate cake with chocolate sauce, more like cheesecake than cake cake, again, quite satisfying without being overwhelming.

Service was excellent and perfectly paced for a leisurely celebration that nonetheless moved along in timely fashion. Website is, and reservations are recommended, particularly on busy evenings.

Overall, August E's Restaurant is another Fredericksburg establishment which, if it were moved a couple of hundred miles north, could easily give Dallas chefs a run for their money. Discover your postmodern place soon, and remember:


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