Tonight was our first night to enjoy the low-cost wonder that is Austin Restaurant Week. We’ve made several reservations during the next two weeks to take advantage of high-class meals for a measly $35 each. Now if we can keep from ordering cocktails and wine and coffees, we can actually stay within our budget! Good luck to us.
We made reservations for two at Jeffrey’s this evening, and we were seated promptly when we arrived. We ordered wine (the Tolosa Chardonnay – Edna Valley 2005 for me at $10/glass, and the Esoterica Petit Verdot High Valley-Lake County 2004 for Justin at $9/glass), and both my white and Justin’s red were delicious. I was so excited that my wine was ice-cold… I prefer my white wine to be as cold as can be.
We were brought rosemary bread, fruity olive oil, and a flavored compound butter to nibble on while we waited for our food. We were also presented with a teeny tiny plate covered with a teeny tiny silver dome, an amuse bouche of deep-fried carrot-coconut-ginger soup. I have no idea how the chef encapsulated a liquid soup into a ball of batter, but it was very interesting. The burst of soup when you popped the tiny ball in your mouth was fun, and the soup was full of coconut and ginger flavor, but I felt the batter was lacking flavor.
For my first course, I chose the Crispy Bone Marrow, sauteed bone marrow with house-made pickles, fine herb salad, house-made Dijon mustard and salsa verde served with toasted thinly sliced bread. The marrow was creamy and delicious, and was perfect with a bit of salsa verde and a bite of pickle.
Justin started with the Southern Style Oysters, which were breaded with sesame and thyme and served on “bacon royale” with a house-dried tomato vinaigrette. These were crunchy and smooth, and Justin really enjoyed them.
Next up for me was the Marinated and Baked Halibut Cheeks, on sweet pea glacage, with celery remoulade and pea-mushroom relish. This was interesting to me… a bit on the sour side, and the remoulade was a bit too mustardy. The halibut cheeks were surprisingly chewy, but the peas were perfectly fresh. It was a mish mash of good and just okay. It did have one glorious bite of pork belly, though, which of course made me very happy.
Justin feasted on the Burgundy Pastures Short Ribs, served with caramelized potato galette, persillade and a grilled date salad. The short ribs were tender and tasty, and the dates added a nice sweetness on the side.
My favorite part of the meal was dessert. I ordered the Inverted Coke Float with Pineapple “Fries.” This came with a small glass of Coke sorbet topped with creme anglaise, and it was so amazingly good. Imagine a Coke-flavored Icee that’s just a bit over-frozen, and top it with a smooth, creamy vanilla sauce. I nearly finished it, and the serving was pretty large. Then there were the pineapple fries. These were strips of fresh pineapple, batter-dipped and fried, and served with three dipping sauces: butter-rum, cherry-wasabi, and coconut-curry. Surprising and tasty, but not as good as the Coke float.
Justin tried the Meyer Lemon Crepe Dumplings with burnt caramel bay leaf ice cream and blackberry brandy sauce. These were also very tasty, though his serving was much smaller than mine. By this time he was full, though, so it didn’t matter much. We ended the evening with cappuccino and cafe au lait.
I’m glad we finally got to try Jeffrey’s for dinner… we’ve both been there for different work occasions, but never just for dinner in the dining room. I think we’ll definitely be back for happy hour, when appetizers are half-off at the bar, but we probably won’t rush back for dinner soon. It was a good meal, but not a fantastic one. Still, at $35 each, it was worth it… the short ribs alone are $35 on the regular menu.
Tomorrow, we’re off to Aquarelle!