Here's where Austin restaurant critics and bloggers ate this week:
AUSTIN CHRONICLE — Clark's Oyster Bar, the Clarksville seafood bistro from Larry McGuire and company, gets every possible stamp of approval from Wes Marshall. The service? "This staff has their eye on the most subtle niceties." The wine list? "It's like the buyer, Alex Ramirez, has been reading my diary." The food? Fries are "textured like a dream"; smoked gravlax is "picture-perfect"; the bread is "incredible"; the mussels & clams "cooked to a perfect texture." In Clark's, Marshall writes, Austin has been "been blessed by Neptune."
GINNY'S AUSTIN — Ginny of the Ginny's Austin blog tries happy hour at Bar Mirabeau, the sister restaurant to chef Parind Vora's upscale Restaurant Jezebel. The word on Mirabeau is not great. Despite its sprawling size, writes Ginny, "bigger isn't necessarily better," and the space is "cold and disjointed." She writes that the cheese and charcuterie board featured oily bread and dry and grainy paté, the chicken meatballs (straight from the warmer) were "chewy and dry," and the crab cakes were decent but uninspiring. So she left and ate dinner somewhere else.
FED MAN WALKING — Former Statesman critic Mike "Fed Man Walking" Sutter, who used to be the food critic at the Statesman, finally gets to finish the Restaurant Jezebel review he was working on (he used to review for the Statesman) when a fire shuttered the restaurant in 2010, when he was working as a food critic at the Statesman. These days, he's superbuddies with chef Parind Vora, which means he got to work a shift in the kitchen and also is not even close to being undercover when he dines there.
In his review, Sutter breaks down the four-course and seven-course menus ($85 and $125, respectively) and compares Jezebel to David Bull's Congress, its fine dining prix fixe competition in town. Sutter says Parind Vora "brings more rogue flavor to the table" than Bull. He likes the jackets-only rule, the "precise, cordial team service," and basically every single thing he ate, except for the woodcock that came accompanied with the actual bird's head, "a bit of morbid dinner theater I could have done without." His rating: four of five stars.
Clark's Oyster Bar. [Photo: Patrick Michels/EATX]