Statesman critic Matthew Odam has certainly sung the praises of Bryce Gilmore — the chef of Odd Duck and Barley Swine fame — but doesn’t find that reverence fully carries over to all-day restaurant Sour Duck Market. Though he saw bits and pieces of the famed Austin restaurants within Sour Duck, which opened in May, he also found uncharacteristic stumbles.
Odam spent a good portion of the review praising the pastries at Sour Duck, which is interesting given that founding pastry chef Erica Waksmunski recently left the restaurant. Though Odam admits he is not usually a pastry fan, he claimed the restaurant has converted him:
The lacquered kouign-amann ($3.50), shimmering with a glassy sugar finish, tears apart, revealing its stacked paper-thin layers. As for the kolaches and danishes, do you want one filled with fruit jam or with shredded pork creamy with bechamel and gouda ($3.50)? Just get them all.
While the Odd Duck burger was a favorite of Odam’s, he found Sour Duck’s version “ a rare thudding disappointment.” However, he does praise the other dishes, including the “refreshing” crab toast with pickled watermelon rind and jalapeno. A sandwich of chicken, okra, and house-made ranch was dubbed Odam’s favorite of the year.
Odam also appreciated the restaurant’s “nuanced” cocktail program and elevated counter service. Overall, he rated the restaurant an 8.5 out of 10, pointing to it as a “high-quality but low-maintenance casual options buttressed by craft and care.”
Jolène Bouchon reviewed another neighborhood restaurant, Hank’s, for Austin Monthly, but was left significantly more disappointed. Though she appreciated the restaurant’s aesthetic, which she described as “a design blogger’s dream,” she found the food and service to be hit-or-miss.
In describing the menu, Bouchon called it “nothing I’d drive across town just to have.” She enjoyed the bolognese, and thought the fried chicken was “well-spiced.” Other dishes were less successful:
The crispy rice bowl served with an optional fried egg and crumbled sausage is good in concept but needs a bit more of that deliciously herbal green sauce and a lot more greens to save it from being dry.
The house-made pastries get particularly high marks, including the “intense” Chantilly cake and the homemade kolaches.
Bouchon blamed the service falters on Hank’s attempts to be an all-day cafe, bar, and restaurant all-in-one. In the end, she was willing to forgive the neighborhood spot as it becomes a “vibrant community hub.”
ON THE BLOGS: This Doesn’t Suck visited Joann’s, and found it more “Cali-Mex” than Tex-Mex — he liked the green chili enchiladas; Discovering ATX tried Anthem and particularly enjoyed the brisket rangoons and the Hong Kong waffle.
- Restaurant review: Sour Duck Market successfully blends bakery, cafe and bar [Statesman]
- All coverage of Sour Duck Market [EATX]
- Restaurant review: Hank’s [Austin Monthly]
- All coverage of Hank’s [EATX]