Mattie’s was on everyone’s mind this week as critics visited the revamped Green Pastures restaurant revamp for a dining experience that boasted an updated decor, bold flavors, and a sophisticated elegance reminiscent of its predecessor.
Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam saw a much improved restaurant from the last time he visited, pre-renovations and new ownership. The international and what he deemed as “pan-Southern” dishes found in chef Joshua Thomas’ menu, like the creamy rice grits, excited the writer:
Gone is bacon-wrapped quail; in its place is a glazed and juicy smoked pork chop ($32) laced with shaved squash. And the intercontinental fusion of a dish like tempura lobster tail with jicama slaw is replaced by more international flavors, like an Indian-inspired basmati rice bowl ($19), rich and sweet with coconut curry and roasted vegetables.
Elsewhere, appetizers like the fennel and apple chutney and chicken liver pâté showed “thoughtfulness and fresh creativity.” Despite the restaurant’s shift, Odam was surprised to find a few simpler entrees and was disappointed with a lackluster dessert menu that “stood in contrast to every little detail encountered at Mattie’s.”
Austin Monthly critic Jolène M. Bouchon shared Odam’s sentiments. After noting a couple of Mattie’s shortcomings — like the music and most of the desserts — Bouchon relished in the restaurant’s use of international flavors, especially with the one impressive sweet:
Perhaps the best example is the outstanding cardamom rice crème dessert. With its rich and barely sweet coconut-cream base topped with vibrant passion fruit puree, pistachios, and frozen wild blueberries, this stunner transports you to the tropics of Southeast Asia and South America all at once.
Bouchon calmed restaurant-goers worried the menu has “gone too far afield.” She highlighted a few standout American dishes, like the roast chicken, bone-in pork chop, and fried chicken.
Overall, both writers applauded the restaurant’s revival, which kept its original charm with some updated style. They also confirmed to all readers that the beautiful peacocks were, in fact, still roaming.