It’s been a year since we tried the tasting menu offered only on Saturday nights. The rest of the week they serve off a chalkboard menu. Reservations for the tasting are hard to come by, there is a waiting list for most every one of them, since the little restaurant and Chef Misti Norris have been getting lots of critical acclaim and notice in national publications. The interior has added more tables and seats. The little alcove that was the cocktail stand now contains tables too. This is good for the public but it does create a lot more noise in the interior that makes conversation difficult and hard to hear any presentation by the server. Water is still provided but if you want wine or other flavored beverage with your meal you need to bring your own. They have opened up a few more parking spaces in an adjacent lot but a lot of guests appeared to be dropped off by a car service. In general my impression was that the food had less intense flavor than the last visit but everything was good it just didn’t cross over to the great that I had first sensed. I got more of that intensity when visiting other nights but the service is far less refined with most dishes being presented in plastic coated cardboard boxes.
As before, when you arrive they welcome you with a cocktail. They are open a half hour prior to the meal starting. The meal started with a tray of several items: Pickled Texas Fig, chicken liver mousse, sorghum / Brined long bean / buttermilk biscuit, ‘Nduja / Texas tomato, Pawlett cheese / house focaccia, cured lardo. The fig and mousse were nice with a really sweet fig that didn’t seem too pickled. The chewy focaccia had great texture and a bit of spice, but my favorite was the tender biscuit with slightly spicy stuffing that reminded me of barbecue. The long bean was too tart to eat all of it.
Dill sugar-cured snapper was plated with Demases field peas, emulsified dill and preserved lemon. The snapper was tender and mild and the field peas were nice with some of them being fried. There were two sauces that mixed well with the peas and together. It was good.
Roasted King Trumpet mushrooms were plated with smoked Cartermere chicken hearts and burnt chilies in a tomato shrimp broth. The hearts were lightly fried with a good texture and the mushroom was flavorful. The green was a purslane that added a good peppery taste.
Ravioli was stuffed with fermented eggplant and pork and plated with aged goat’s milk and Mayu baby leak tops. The pasta stayed al dente as one big ravioli. The goat’s milk was thick and worked well as a sauce with the lovely garlic oil. Good one.
Raw beef was mixed with farm egg yolk, toasted pumpkin seed and potato bottarga and topped with rolled strips of zuchinni and herbs. The beef was a small dice rather than ground which was nice and not heavily seasoned. Fun textures here but would just get an okay.
Beef chuck flap meat was aged 24 hours and served with thyme powder and grilled Texas eggplant. The beef was tender, not too beefy tasting and nicely cooked. The eggplant was a purée that was nice and good with the meat.
Dessert was a wild sesame chiffon cake topped with palm seed and oats and served wtih ricotta creme. The cake was better mixed with the creme. It was not overly sweet but a good combination.
An extra blondie bar had bits of chocolate, apricot and nuts and topped with pumpkin seed butter. It was okay. A parting gift was a thin, crisp thing made with seeds. It was interesting.