I remember many years ago when the “in” way to eat at an upscale restaurant was to book a table in the kitchen. I never really understood why it was such a trend. I mean, who wants to sit in a hot kitchen all made-up and sheathed in finery? Of course, the answer is: why, to say I did it of course!
I can’t vouch for everyone else’s reasons.
My personal attempt to do this was at Brennan’s of Houston for my then-husband’s birthday celebration. I was unsuccessful at the time because I waited too long; tables like this booked up over 6 months in advance. We ended up sitting in the dining room like everyone else. But I never lost the desire to eat with the chefs as they created their gastronomy, preferably without the need to dress to impress.
Jump forward to now. The concept of “eating with the chef” has become the norm in the open kitchen design of many restaurants. Combine that with farm-to-table clean and healthy food. It’s a win-win. And still the “in” way to experience dining,
When in Austin, one of the best ways to experience this is Odd Duck Austin.
Now, make sure you arrive early. I was there on a Saturday for dinner. Doors open at 5pm on the dot; customers begin arriving at about 4:30pm. By the time the doors open, there is a line to get in. Be prepared. The upside is they have a comfortable seating area outside.
There is the open kitchen seating – or bar seating as it is unaffectionately called – and the expected dining room, as well as ample patio seating.
Sit at the bar. From this vantage you reap a few benefits over sitting in the dining room: you meet a new friend in the server, you watch your food being prepared, your food has a shorter journey to your taste buds, and you meet fascinating people sitting next to you.
The other thing I really like about this restaurant is the tasting menu. I like being able to taste and experience several different dishes instead of only one.
Top it all off with a great bottle of Italian wine ~ Collosorbo Brunello di Montalcino Tuscany, Italy 2013
Try as many dishes as you can stomach. I highly recommend bringing a friend (or finding a new friend, like I did) to share with, as you can experience so many more dishes and flavors that way.
My favorites: the wine was luxurious; the Bavette Steak, the Chili with Papperdelle, and the Sourdough with Duck Pate.
Happy eating in Austin!
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