French Bistro Ejects Trio of Undercover Restaurant Critics


Sway Is Silly Good

Sway Thai Restaurant

Son In Law: crispy farm egg, braised pork shoulder, thick soy, chili vinegar. (Silly Good.)

Sway Thai Restaurant

jasmine tea panna cotta : red grape, lychee, palm sugar, thai basil, shiso, crunchy amaranth, coconut-lychee sorbet. (Silly Good.)

Sway Thai Restaurant

P.E.I. oysters : mega chef nahm jim. (Horrifically Good.)

Sway Thai Restaurant

Every kitchen needs a window. Sit at the kitchen bar to keep track of your order and the weather outside.

Sway Thai Restaurant

Miso-white Chocolate Semifreddo : sesame, crispy rice, coconut sticky rice, mango-calamansi sorbet. (Silly Good.) Sway should do a multi course dinner just of their desserts.

I’m adding Sway to my short list of the best eats in Austin. Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki should be proud. La Condessa was a hell of an achievement, but Sway is even more exciting.
Sway : it’s on South First and they have parking!


When Someone in the Kitchen Gives a Crap

Freak’n Brilliant. I am so glad this place is in my hood. You can tell that someone in the kitchen cares (and actually knows how to cook).

The menu doesn’t over reach, which is nice for a change. Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup, done right (and there are, actually, a bunch of ways to screw this up). Sarah keeps it simple and uses great ingredients. Crusty local bread with quality cheese. And she warms the plate, as she does with the french fry orders, so the last bits are almost as good as the first. Classy touch.

Seared Duck with Glazed Cipollini Onions and Carrots, Gnocchi. Menu items like this frighten me. Usually it boils down to which tasted more like a rubber band, the gnocchi or the duck. Not so here, this was great. Even the damn onions and carrots were cooked properly. They are usually an afterthought at most places.

épicerie : 2307 hancock drive austin, texas 78756 (across from Fonda San Miguel)

Update: La Tasca Tapas Trailer

I don’t hit many trailers, but I sought this one out. I was moved for two reasons. The food was as good as I had heard. What I wasn’t expecting was the location. This is easily the best food trailer lot in Austin. Sitting under huge Oak trees with a breeze and a view of downtown, I started with the Summer Watermelon and Feta salad ($6). Good choice. Nice flavor balance and refreshing.

Alex, the Chef Owner, was last at the Hotel Saint Cecilia and before that Whole Foods catering. Now, you can find her perched on this hilltop shaded by massive Oaks.

Ham, Brie and Fig sandwich ($7) was right on. Domestic brie with fig preserves on a authentic baguette. Sweet, rich and smokey.

A full line of traditional small plate tapas is also available. And, this is the view you get while you are munching. Did you hear that? That was the sound of me getting in my car to head back to La Tasca.

La Tasca : 1508 Rio Grande Austin, TX : 512 426-5841

UPDATE: The world can be a crappy place. La Tasca had to move again.
New Location: Jesse Street Eats 415 Jessie Street, Austin, TX 78704

Fish From a Trailer

Up on blocks. Maybe a permit, maybe not. Who knows what you are going to get. Great food on the cheap? Maybe? Sometimes? I was on the fence.  The chatter about Bits and Druthers? It erased all doubt about the highest quality food coming out of a trailer.

I don’t know much, but I do know is this. The next time I have a hankering for Fish and Chips, I’m not stuttering. Bits and Druthers. Not even close. Good show guys. Keep it up. Easily the best Fish and Chips in town… Easily.

UPDATE: Backspace Opening (Almost)

After the normal delays, Backspace will be opening on this Sunday. Chef-owner Shawn Cirkiel, of Parkside fame, is going old-school with his new restaurant. A wood fired oven handles all the cooking duties in the sparse, small space just off Sixth Street. Roasted vegetables, octopus, baked ricotta and the center piece of the menu, pizza. Soft, puffy, Neapolitan style pie tastes promising.

Reasonably priced menu items. Clean, simple flavors. Looking forward to hanging out there more, not looking forward to parking that close to to the Chuggin Monkey.

UPDATE: Sunday’s (12/12/2010) opening date has come and gone and permit issues continue. Backspace is not open yet. Check out the menu.

Backspace : 507 San Jacinto Austin Texas (512) 474-9899