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What I Ate: September 13, 2009 (Jeffrey's Restaurant and Bar)

Posted 13 September, 2009 at 11:15pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate)

Dinner: Our first Austin Restaurant Week dinner was at Jeffrey's Restaurant and Bar (1204 West Lynn Street, Austin, TX‎ - (512) 477-5584‎).
Jeffrey’s Restaurant

After we ordered our three course meals of a special (reduced) tasting menu, they presented us with an amuse bouche of Champagne & Grapefruit Sorbet. Since it wasn't all that warm today, this mostly just served to make us cold. It was so cold that Tina didn't eat hers until it was half melted. The sorbet was fairly winey, but had good grapefruit flavor.
Jeffrey’s Restaurant - Amuse Bouche - Champagne Grapefruit Sorbet

Bread was served with butter (salted - not our preference; we prefer unsalted butter so we can taste the sweet creaminess) and olive oil (a tasty olive oil that was very grassy - it's been a while since we've had a full flavored olive oil). Our appetizers came soon after:

Thumbalina Salad Roasted & marinated Carrots, Avocado, Red Romaine, crushed Marcona Almonds, with a toasted Dill Seed-Lemon Vinaigrette Tina really liked her salad. It was light and refreshing, and I particularly enjoyed the roasted carrots and the Marcona almonds were excellent in this preparation.
Jeffrey’s Restaurant - Thumbalina Salad

Crispy Oysters Octavia on Bacon Royale, with "Overnight" Tomato Vinaigrette on house-made Sea Salt Potato Chips The oysters were delicately flavored and had a great crunch from the light batter. I felt the dried tomatoes were a bit too sour and overpowered the mild oysters, so I didn't eat them together after the first bite. Of the oyster preparations I've had in the past, these are probably my favorite right now (and, coincidentally, I'm told that George W. Bush's favorite dish at Jeffery's are the Crispy Oysters. I've heard the oysters have changed some since he last ate them, but I may not agree with W on many things, but, in the matter of these oysters, I have to concede he has good taste).
Jeffrey’s Restaurant - Crispy Oysters Octavia


Seared Sea Scallops Seared, sliced Scallops on Leef Soubise with Granny Smith Apples, toasted Mustard Seeds, and pickled Chanterelles The three huge sea scallops (sliced in half cross-sectionally) were cooked just so that the interior firmed up. It was as if we were eating scallop flavored Jell-O (if that sounds gross, just know that the scallop had a perfectly cooked interior) - magnificent. The rest of the items on the plate were good, not not great. The apples could have used some more acid (for Granny Smiths, they seemed to have very little flavor) and the mushrooms were also hacking any strong flavors. The leeks added a welcome texture contrast with the silky scallops, but there really wasn't an assertive flavor on the dish. Still, those scallops make it worthwhile.
Jeffrey’s Restaurant - Seared Sea Scallops

Hill Country Quail Grilled Quail with Date Farro, Hon Shimeji Mushrooms & a salted Grape-Verjus reduction The quail was very tender (almost melting in the mouth) but a bit mild. Some additional salt would have been welcome (or smoke). The sweet and acidic elements were a bit too strong on my plate - the overpowering dates made the farro a bit too sweet for me to eat much of and the grapes were too sour. The mushrooms were good - tasting meaty and a bit of flame or smoke. I tend to prefer my proteins on the savory side (vs. sweet), so this may have been a personal preference. Still, I enjoyed the dish a great deal.
Jeffrey’s Restaurant - Hill Country Quail


Banana Beignets with toasted Coconut Ice Cream & Caramel I found my banana beignets to be a bit too doughy (but Tina loved that aspect of them - she hadn't had many carbs in her meal yet and was craving some). The flavor of the warm banana chunk in the chocolaty filling of the beignet pillow was really good, especially when paired with a little of the caramel sauce on the plate. The house-made ice cream was a bit mild in coconut flavor, but the toasted coconut shavings made up for it.
Jeffrey’s Restaurant - Banana Beignets

Valrhona Chocolate Intemperance Flourless Chocolate Cake with Valrhona Dark Chocolate Cremeaux & Double Chocolate Ice Cream The cake was flawless (especially when I got a salt crystal) - but so rich that even with both of us working on it, we could not finish. The house-made ice cream was chocolaty, but Tina disliked the airiness of the ice cream and I didn't like the mouthfeel of the cream after it melted. It felt slimy or overly rich to my mouth - very thick and gooey/gummy. When I mentioned the unexpected richness to our waiter he mentioned that they use a local creamery that supplies them with heavy cream that has much higher than usual milk fat content. Perhaps that's what it was. I also had a problem with too many cacao nibs being sprinkled on the ice cream. I love nibs, but when it hinders the consumption of the main item, it's a bit unbalanced.
Jeffrey’s Restaurant - Valrhona Chocolate Intemperance

We definitely enjoyed our meal, even though it wasn't flawless, and will visit again in the future and dine off the "regular" menu. The meal was certainly more than worth the $35 per person Austin Restaurant Week prix fixe price. (Tomorrow, we dine at the Driskill Grill for their Austin Restaurant Week menu.)

Lunch: We had lunch at the Welcome Lunch at Gateway Church (South Campus) today. I believe the food was catered by Zen Japanese (but I can't be sure). Didn't have my camera, so this cell phone picture will have to do. The beef was chewy and tasted of iron (like round that had been cooked too long) and the chicken was a bland and dry. The edamame was fine. (I'm not complaining about free food, just reporting the facts.)

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