by Diana Serbe
Located a short drive out of Fredericksburg, August E's is housed in an old train depot brought from Colorado to Fredericksburg. The rustic exterior gives no hint at what lies within, for inside the brick and mortar walls is a refined aesthetic that extends to every detail of the well-appointed dining room and to the food which stands as a paradigm for the subtlety of nouveau Texas cuisine.
You have the choice to dine indoors or to relax on an expansive terrace. The terrace floats over fields that come alive with bluebonnets in spring, and ripple with amber waves in the autumn, but it's the feeling of floating that matters, and the terrace is so expansive, the view so calming in any season that you can only lean back to savor the fusion food prepared by Chef Leu Savanh.
Chef Savanh is from Thailand and brings those subtle tastes to his cooking, but he also harnesses the strength of nouveau Texan cooking. This is real food for real people, but done with sophistication. It doesn't ignore the Texan's love of beef, and the menu offers inch-thick aged Prime Rib Eye, grilled over mesquite. But there are also dishes such as the signature Saigon Spring Rolls or the Leu's Very Crab cakes, moist and tender.
We tried a special on the menu for the day - a pair of entwined large shrimp that had been passed lightly over the flames of a grill and wrapped in finely sliced prosciutto. The result was succulent, both light and substantial at the same time.
We went on to a grilled duck topped with a honey balsamic port wine reduction, with sweet potatoes and baby broccoli on the side. The sweet elements of the wine reduction brought out the sweetness in the duck.
On the side we ate organic butter lettuce with a citrus truffle vinaigrette, a salad that was beautiful to the eye, tender to the tongue, exquisite to the palate. We were happy when the attentive wait staff told us that the restaurant emphasizes organic ingredients. August E's is located close to the finest organic farms, and their produce is picked just hours before serving.
August E's also offers sushi, though they limit sushi to two nights a week when they are guaranteed to get fresh ingredients. The terrace has a bar and two fireplaces and you can lean back and sip your choice of wines or ask for a recommendation. We tried a Chardonnay that was delicate with no traces of tannins. A perfect accompaniment to the sophisticated meal.