Rising national star chef John Besh holds sway at this innovative and elegant dining spot, Restaurant August. Chandeliers sparkle over the unabashedly old-fashioned table napery. The service is formal. The atmosphere may be classic, but the food sizzles with excitement. Expect the unexpected: combinations that recall Creole cuisine might mix with Mediterranean flair in a burst of nouvelle creativity. There is a reason the former Marine roundly defeated Mario Batali on Iron Chef America and picked up a James Beard award. August has become the leading restaurant in New Orleans, and upscale, sophisticated locals make reservations here when they want a world-class evening.