The Statesman's Matthew Odam has some mixed experiences at Emmer & Rye, but ultimately determines that the grain-obsessed Rainey Street restaurant transcends any unevenness. An early line, though, suggests a certain skepticism about the enterprise:
The commitment to celebrating heritage grains is seen on the table decorations and in the shades of beige and brown in the restaurant’s billowing curtains and wooden tables that look plucked from a house atop a windswept mesa overlooking oceanfront property in chef-owner Kevin Fink’s native Arizona. They have those, right?
Despite a few errors in service and preparation, Odam is convinced by the end of the review, citing Fink's attention to detail (a common refrain in critics' analyses of this restaurant) and a deft hand in the scratch preparations of ancient grains. He is particularly enamored of the pasta:
[T]he pappardelle is a wonder. Ancient white Sonoran wheat was used to fashion wavy ribbons of tensile pappardelle spun with juicy pork cheek and creamy straciatella in a fresh and mild arrabiata ($16). I could alternate between the pasta dishes with bottles of a d’Orfeuilles chenin blanc ($46) and Donkey & Goat Mourvedre ($74), followed by a gargantuan in-house, dry-aged ribeye ($58) topped with mushroom butter, for a week of dinners.
Over on South Congress, the Chronicle's Brandon Watson walks into an '80s time warp at Central Standard. He appreciates the dinner-focused restaurant's ethos of making things well, rather than using everything new and trendy. Underscoring his thesis that decadence is the name of the game, Watson describes a host of heavy dishes, culminating in the brazen Standard Platter:
[A] towering seafood Babylon that adds a poached Maine lobster, a bowl of the daily ceviche, and Middleneck clams to the mix. It's not an everyday dish, certainly, but it doesn't have any of the look-at-me audacity of some similarly priced dishes around Austin.
THE BLOGS — South Austin Foodie visits Vinaigrette during its early days; Mike Sutter notches three more burgers in his 100 Burgers series; My Closet Life goes continental at Prelog's; and Forks Up declares relocated Barley Swine one of the best restaurants in the city.