Open : Jeffrey’s, the longtime Clarksville restaurant that for more than three decades set the bar for fine dining in Austin, has reopened under the management of the McGuire Moorman Hospitality Group. Co-owners Larry McGuire and Tom Moorman bought the majority stake in the restaurant from founders Ron and Peggy Weiss in fall of 2011 , and after more than a year of renovating the space, redesigning the menu and recasting the staff, Jeffrey’s officially reopened this week.
McGuire, whose company runs restaurants including Perla’s and Elizabeth Street Cafe, showed off the renovation during a quick walk-through today, explaining that they overhauled every square inch of the building, including the two kitchens, and then pieced it back together in an elegant yet modern design that honors the tradition behind the restaurant but also secures its future in the top tier of fine dining in the city.
Surprises await in each room. McGuire commissioned a piece of art from Austin’s Lance Letscher to greet diners at the host stand, and in the bar area, which remains in the south corner of the building, as it did before, guests can lounge on blue suede cushions while enjoying a cocktail from bar manger Josh Loving or a bite from the bar menu, which includes dishes such as basil-fed escargot, marrow bones with a chervil salad, a savory souffle baked in the new wood-fired oven and a dry-aged burger. Each of the private dining rooms, including the Napoleon room, right next to the wine cellar (above), has its own feel.
The main dining area, which formerly felt dark and a little on the stuffy side, is now illuminated by a large, only lightly dressed window facing West Lynn Street, and through a cut-out in the wall, diners can watch the action in the main kitchen, which is staffed by chef de cuisine Josh Hines, sous chef Sam Walters and the recently hired Rebecca Meeker, formerly of Congress. Also in the kitchen will be McGuire, who after several years building his 400-person company says he is thankful to don an apron and actually do some cooking again.
Prime, dry-aged steaks, which start at $50, make up a sizable portion of the dinner menu, with sides ranging from truffled fingerling potatoes, asparagus with macaroni in a mornay sauce, and a pea and ham gratin to wood-fired roasted vegetables, such as turnips and radicchio. Rounding out the menu are a 500-bottle wine list curated by wine director Greg Randle, Stumptown coffee and a carefully edited dessert menu from pastry chef Alex Manely including three souffles, baked Alaska and chocolate mousse. 477-5584, jeffreysofaustin.com.
Open : Tony C’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wine Bar, 10526 W. Parmer Lane in Avery Ranch, the second location from Lakeway restrauteur Tony Ciola, who has been serving coal-fired pizza out of the original Tony C’s in the Galleria since 2009. The new restaurant features about a dozen pizzas, other Italian dishes, such as pasta, sandwiches and salads, and more than 30 wines, which customers can buy at 50 percent off when ordering to-go. 512-255-9463, tonycs.com
Open : Baton Creole, a Cajun/Creole restaurant at 907 E. Sixth St. from Lynzy "Pub" Moran, who is serving favorites including fried chicken breaded with Zapp’s Crawtator chips, boudin balls, etoufee, jambalaya, crab-boil potato salad and beignets for lunch and dinner. 512-434-0671, batoncreole.tumblr.com
Opening this week : Highlights Gametime Grill, a "dining and entertainment experience" at 8300 FM 620 North that will feature darts, trivia, live music and TVs on which to watch sporting events. On the menu: burgers, pizzas, wings and more than 30 beers on draft. 512-789-4595, highlightsgametimegrill.com
Opening next week : Noodles & Company, the fifth Austin-area location of the Colorad0-based pasta and noodles chain at 5601 Brodie Lane. 512-358-0043,noodles.com
Open to the public : Jean’s Kitchen, the restaurant inside the Travaasa Austin resort helmed by chef Benjamin Baker, is now open to the public by reservation only. The popular Hill Country destination has also recently hired a full-time farmer to develop an on-site farm, which will provide much of the produce used at the restaurant. 512-258-7243, travaasa.com
Chef change : Dominique Labeaud has taken the executive chef position at Eleven Plates & Wine, 3801 N. Loop 360 (Capital of Texas Highway).