Online restaurant reservation system Resy wants to dust off old notions surrounding an event like Restaurant Week. The website that entered the Austin market in 2016 kicks off its inaugural Off Menu Week event in Austin Monday, doing away with the predictable three-course prix fixe menu and giving diners the chance to experience some of Austin’s top chefs’ off-menu favorites, dishes they might serve at family meal or specials that they’d rarley run.
Participating restaurants include Austin360 Top 10 members Pitchfork Pretty, Suerte, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, Barley Swine and Lenoir, along with newcomers like Vixen’s Wedding and other Austin favorites. The specials will run December 9-15. Reservations can be made through Resy, duh, and this post has links to each participating restaurant’s site.
OK, so what dishes can diners expect? Check out a sampling below, with descriptions from Resy:
Suerte: The Tex-Mex stunner that produces some of the city’s favorite corn tacos is doing a complete 180 this Off Menu Week, crafting flour tortillas for the first time ever. The tortillas de harina are here to scoop up alambre, a popular Mexican dish of juicy grilled meat mixed with peppers and oozing with cheese. But Suerte will also be unveiling other delights, like a porchetta taco, tacos sudados (a simple but groundbreaking “steamed” taco), and a reimagined capirotada, or Mexican bread pudding.
Lenoir: Fine-dining gem LENOIR is letting Central Texas’ seasonal goods shine this Off Menu Week, throwing in a dose of nostalgia for good measure. The kitchen is bringing back favorite dishes from years past, including a knockout duo of seared Texas foie gras with apple pie, yakitori antelope heart atop beet dosa, confit duck toast with liver mousse and tonnato sauce, and cookies (made with owner Jess’ great-grandmother’s rosetta irons) served with chocolate pot de crème and calamondin marmalade.
Carpenters Hall: Though Grae Nonas shows no culinary allegiance, the lauded chef does stick to a “new eyes on old Texas” ethos. As such, Carpenters Hall will be cooking the sort of food the cooks enjoy eating, and making the most of the cold-weather season: pappardelle slick with mushrooms, Parmigiano, and thyme; oxtail with beans and salsa macha; prawns à la plancha with black olive salsa; and a dash of decadence, Hackleback caviar with crème fraîche and chives.
Barley Swine: Come Off Menu Week, this essential Austin restaurant will be honoring the local farmers and ranchers that provide the foundation for its hyper-seasonal menu. Start with a new cocktail, a mixture of vodka and sake with green tea and brown rice, before moving onto the plates: smoked goat and winter greens, masa tostada with chorizo, and Akaushi beef tartare paired with beef fat ranch cracker, to name a few.
Vixen’s Wedding: From the same dream team behind LENOIR, comes this Texan-accented Goan newcomer. And for Off Menu Week, Vixen’s Wedding will debut fresh new dishes on the menu. Expect local produce lending itself to the intense flavors of Goa and Portugal, with quail cafreal (a hot-and-spicy preparation) paired with chaat masala yoghurt, nilgai tartare with cashew butter and shishito curry, and white Gulf prawns and sour sausage spiced with Kashmiri chili.
"We're still a really new restaurant, so it's exciting to work with Resy on a different kind of dining program,” Vixen’s Wedding’s Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher, owners of Lenoir, said. “Off Menu Week gives us the chance to offer some of the dishes that we really love ourselves but that people might not always order. In general, sometimes people go for things that are more familiar. This is a chance for us to show off delicious food that we know they'll love."
Off Menu Week has already taken place in Los Angeles, Washington D.Cc, San Francisco, New York City and Chicago. So I guess we’re fancy now, Austin.