Monday, April 09, 2012

Getting Swifty, do over

reposted from earlier..

blah de bloop de blah (pretend there was an opening paragraph here). 
Because Sam did the wine list for these fine folks, we were invited to the "soft opening" for a brand new restuarant downtown called Swift's Attic.  Our friend Mat is the executive chef. So, that's your clue right there that I am not going to have any negative things to say whatsoever about this place.  But to be honest, even if I didn't know the chef, I would still love it. Seriously.  It's an incredibly cool looking space.  It's located right above the Elephant Room (a jazz bar) on South Congress, but you can't hear anything other than the restaurant noises, and possibly the tiny soft click of your arteries closing. Here is a photo of the Aviary booth. I have no idea whether they call it the Aviary booth or not, that's just something I call it because there's a gigantic birdcage hanging over it. Look how pretty:

I really have no idea how to describe the menu other than to say it's um, American? only not stuff you normally eat? (but totally would if someone would fix it for you). Here, I'll just show you what the menu looked like.  We were working off of two sample menus (picture of one them below)--NOTE: since this was a soft opening and not the OPENING opening, some of this stuff may change or get tweaked a little. Our group of seven people ordered tapas style (sharing plates), so we tasted about twenty out of 35 available dishes. There were good things and then really *#$ing awesome things. Nothing was bad. It just sort of varied from--"hmm, that's tasty" to "PUT IT IN MY MOUF"  and I say this as somewhat of an unadventurous eater who may or may not have lived on a steady diet of  PB&J and frozen bean burritos for a 2-3 year stretch there late in the 90's. Point is, I don't have what you'd call a "sophisticated palate"--I just know what I think tastes merely OK and what tastes like Tiny Little Angels are Sprinkling Droplets of Pure Happiness Directly Onto Your Tongue.

So without further ado here are some pictures of some of the things we tried. I actually took pictures of everything we tried, but turns out, the more wine I drink, the less I am able to focus a fully automatic point and shoot camera with any regularity.
This is the blistered shishitos, garrotxa chees and banyuls vinegar. I know I'm looking a little skeptical here, but it's only because up until this moment, I thought "shishito" was a Phil Collins song. They are, in fact, sweet Japanese peppers. And they are yummy.

This is the  Red Kale "Caesar" with rye  and silverfish.  Yes, that is a big dead fried fish on top of it. You don't have to look it directly in the eye. You just have to stuff it into your mouth. It is delicious.

This is the Peeler's Farm's chicken "tsukune" meatball with ginger, nori.  I think I wrote on my comment card that I thought this one was "unnecessary". Whatever, I may have been drunk. Upon further reflection, a fried meatball is ALWAYS necessary.  That gray stuff is a squid ink sauce. Don't ask me how it tastes. I have no idea. (I have my limits).

This is the sunchoke, fennel, farm egg, pistou.  I also didn't try this one. Actually, more accurately, I grabbed a sunchoke off the plate, thinking it was a little pickle and was too busy trying to figure out why my pickle did not taste at all like a pickle (Because it was a sunchoke).  Everyone liked it. But just fyi, that's not a pickle.

These are the squid fries with roasted aoli and charred lemon.  I could eat these every day. PUT IT MY MOUF.  So SO good. If you like fried calamari, just imagine its older, hotter sister. That's the squid   fries.

Oh and yes,  there are french fries or as Swift's likes to call them "Kennebec Frites." They are, in fact, very yummy fries, but the really delicious thing here is that the ketchup is homemade. It is spicy and it is PUT IT IN MY MOUF. There are also onion rings with the same ketchup and homemade worcestershire. Handsdown the best Onion Ring you will ever have. Very light and crispy.

This is the Handmade Yukon Tot Poutine which is fancy restaurant talk for tatertots with melted cheese and some meat which I don't really even care what it is because I am too busy shovelling it in my gullet. TINY ANGELS, SPRINKLING.  But might I highly recommend that you pronounce that dish correctly, though. Because otherwise, I think you might have just ordered a woman of ill repute.

Not pictured, probably because I had sauce dripping down my arm: 
Thod Man Plaa fishcakes
Crispy Twice cooked duck wings with black bean glaze and kaffir chili sauce
 the Broken Arrow Ranch venison kebob
and the Foie gras, Niman pork belly banh mi. 
Flatbread, oxtail, mushrooms, valdeon cheese

(Have I mentioned that I could barely walk to my car afterwards? I haven't even gotten to the desserts.)
Normally, you'd have to ply me with psychotropic drugs to get me to eat a fishcake voluntarily, but I can say, even without Ativan, that they were really really good. And the duck wings, OMG. Very crispy on the outside but very tender. I'd probably just drink the chili sauce straight from a shot glass if they offered it with a little vodka.  Between you and me, the banh mi doesn't really NEED the foie gras, but what the hell, put it on there anyway, it's heavenly.  I have never in my life had oxtail before mainly because it sounds like something disgusting that I do not want to eat. I am happy to report that I am wrong about that. Oxtail IS in fact something you want to eat, preferrably every day. TINY ANGELS, I'm telling you.

My least favorite of all of those was the venison kebob. And that has nothing to do with how well it was cooked (really great if you're asking), just that I am not a venison kind of girl...something that probably has to do with that time my dad stuck a sawed off entire DEER HAUNCH into a cooler (with the hoof sticking out) for me to "take some deer meat back to Texas." Yeah. No thanks.  But hey, DESSERTS!

We tried all four desserts which include:

Chocolate 6 ways. Really, you can't go wrong here. Even if it was 5 ways, or even just 4. Whatever, delicious. I am not ashamed to say that right before our server took the plate away, I swiped my finger down the middle to get one last little taste of that good cocoa.

Lemon Panna cotta with beet sorbet and thyme bomb--this was my least favorite of the desserts which is sort of like saying "That's my least favorite massage." Because even if it's your least favorite,  it still doesn't suck. It's more a dessert for people who don't have any sort of sweet tooth and who like a little bit of savory in there. That said, it's very light and interesting tasting, just not my sort of thing. I don't do beets. Everyone else at our table loved it.

 and Salted popcorn gelato with "cracker jacks" chocolate bar and rootbeer.  I might have handed over naming rights to any future children to whoever made that gelato. It was really unbelievably good.

and lastly Foie "PBJ" . I was going to taste this. Really, I was. But right about then, my stomach said to me, "If you so much as put another MORSEL up in here, you will regret it, LADY.." SO, I merely watched as everyone else mobbed it. Apparently, it was the Bomb Diggity.

So, just fyi, when YOU go to Swift's Attic, you don't need to eat like you're not going to get the chance to ingest food for the next 5-7 years and are planning to live off your stored body fat from this one meal that entire time. I mean, I DID, but you don't have to. What would be nice though, is if you went with a group of folks and ordered tapas style so you can try lots of different things.  I think in comparison to some other Downtown Austin restaurants, you can get a really fine meal for not a huge amount of money. Yes, the tatertots will cost you more than they would at, say, Sonic, but does Sonic employ TINY LITTLE ANGELS? No, they do not.

In short, give Swift's Attic a try when it opens (soon!), my friends. You won't regret it.

email to make a reservation!  

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