Chef Shawn Cirkiel’s eagerly anticipated tapas restaurant Bullfight opened in early September in a stylish space on Airport Boulevard. The menu ranges from super classic tapas dishes (tortilla, patatas bravas) to more adventurous fare (urchin roe and grilled rabbit). Read on for the early word.
The food — Initial reviews mostly praised the restaurant’s mix of classic tapas and more creative Spanish food. Melody Fury of Gourmet Fury (and occasional Eater contributor) loved the selection of traditional jamón and described the grilled octopus as "smoky and tender." The Chronicle’s Brandon Watson liked the way the menu "eschews overly precious bites in favor of heartier fare." He especially enjoyed the larger portions. Chowhounder Carter B. loved the padron peppers and grilled cauliflower. A surprising early standout dish seems to be the roasted mushrooms with garlic and jamón cured egg. Fury called it "the best dish of the night," and several Yelpers also complimented the dish.
The drinks — The sherry selection also gets applause from diners. Watson liked the way Nathan Hines built cocktail offerings using sherry and wine in "unexpected ways." Fury gave a positive review to the sangria and cocktails, and especially highlighted the "sherry flight," a $10 tasting of three types of sherry. Yelper Rachel G. praised the wine list, curated by sommelier Paul Ozbirn, and her waiter for helping her choose a Spanish wine.
The atmosphere — Liz B. on Yelp enjoyed the "open and airy" quality of the Michael Hsu-designed space and and the way it looked "modern without being too modern." Watson described the space as having "sex appeal," while Fury can’t wait for Austin’s cooler weather to use the "rustic-chic patio."
Happy Hour — Happy hour is a huge hit. Yelper Christine Y. said it’s her "new favorite in town," since it offers cocktails, beer, and snacks at half price weekdays until 6:30 p.m. Another Yelper was a fan of the jamón croquettes ("crunchy and yummy,") and the crispy squid, but panned the bacalao fritters.
The parking — The restaurant offers free valet parking to guests, which several Yelpers weren't too pleased about. Parkside Projects director of operations Harlan Scott replied to multiple Yelp posts, clarifying that the service is there so the restaurant can be "good neighbors" and so that cars don't overwhelm nearby neighborhoods with street parking.
— Claire Canavan