After a two-week soft opening, Paul Qui's east side flagship restaurant Qui officially opened its doors last Thursday, June 20. Naturally, Austinites did what they do best when it comes to high-profile food: they lined the heck up for a chance to call firsties. Now, the online reviews are poring in from would-be critics anxious to share their complaints and kudos.
Perhaps no one's experience quite compares to that of Yelper Ingrid P., who calls her meal at Qui "The single worst dining experience I have ever had, without question, from start to finish," and who claims to have been given a menu with a bite taken out of it. To quote:
"This place needs a staff training intervention, a presto. There is simply no excuse for service this frightful: the hostess is applying her gooey lip gloss at the hostess stand, the wait staff knows nothing about the menu or the ingredients on the menu (or perhaps they're too lazy to bother explaining anything), they have no idea what's 86'd and what's not (they're out of everything, by the way -- by the time you're seated, there is practically no food left in the kitchen), and they are arrogant beyond anything I've experienced anywhere else. Actually, arrogant is an understatement. Openly hostile is more like it.Maybe Ingrid should have dined with fellow Yelper Erica V. instead, who writes that the culinary "highs were incredible," and the service? Well:
"The tables are more like separated communal tables, but it really works and stays flexible. The service was very friendly and unpretentious, the servers know their dishes and have tried everything, it's definitely on the full service side with lots and lots of water refills."Diners commenting on the food tend to particularly highlight Qui's "Ode To Michel Bras," referencing three-Michelin-starred chef Bras. From Chowhound, user saticoy writes:
"Ode to Michel Bras - beautiful to look at, lovely to taste. A bunch of fresh little blanched veggies and flowers arranged in a shallow bowl, with two little cups of charred onion - one filled with strawberry vinegar. A thick pureed soup of garlic and dashi is poured tableside. This was delicious - I could take a bath in that soup which perked up when the vinegar was swirled into it. Great texture and flavor contrast."Eater Austin reader Daniel, who ate at Qui on opening night, writes via e-mail that he had an "outstanding" experience, despite the fact that he didn't get to try the sold-out cote de boeuf. He says the cheese-and-cracker amuse bouche (think: Easy Cheese, elevated) was the "perfect bite of the evening," with the salmon butter a close second. And oh, the catfish like unagi:
"Here's where Paul and his chefs shine. Forget everything you know about catfish and imagine a good unagi/sushi experience b/c that's what this dish was. This was catfish redefined and a must try."Eater Austinites, have you dined at Qui yet? If so, what'd you think? Leave your experiences in the comments or let us know down the tipline.
Qui. [Photo: Adrienne Breaux/EATX]