Statesman’s Matthew Odam was prepared to like seafood restaurant Guild, but ultimately found too many errors for the higher price point. With the restaurant’s pedigree (owned by the Chameleon Group, run by the former executive chef of Uchiko Sterling Ridings) and focus on high-quality seafood, the critic had high expectations but found “some dishes needing more focus, clarity, and editing.”
Odam found the raw menu a mixed bag, with high praise for the black bass crudo but unbalanced proportions in the ceviche. Oyster mushrooms with a “mayonnaisey” sabayon, octopus that was too acidic, and overcooked amberjack led Odam to comment, “When you’re paying $27 for what one assumes are great ingredients, you want clear and full expression of them.”
Odam did finally found success with the trout:
Cooked to a velvety finish, the pink fish sat on a plate with an orb of smoked beet pudding and dollop of dill buttermilk that played perfectly with one another, along with a row of pickled beets and cucumber and the rippled crunch of fish skin.
He also liked a hamachi tart that was “rich and brilliant.” While he called the sunflower porridge “a study in unbridled excess,” he called the mac and cheese “pure decadence.” Surprisingly, his favorite dish was a “juicy pink” steak. Ultimately, he admires the effort, which apparently accounts for a lot as he gave the restaurant a 7 out of 10.
Patricia Sharpe, the food critic at Texas Monthly, reviewed Mexican restaurant Suerte and found several unforgettable dishes. Sharpe found that the restaurant from former Odd Duck partner Sam Hellman-Mass and chef Fermín Núñez truly showcased masa, the restaurant’s star ingredient, along with a few other surprises along the way.
In terms of atmosphere, Sharpe did find the restaurant “clamorous when it’s full,” but appreciated the “modern” dining room with nods to Mexico. She started with a cocktail, the Rosalinda, which was “a wonderfully aromatic mezcal creation,” and recommends the aguachile, shrimp crudo, or mushroom frito.
Next, Sharpe tried the tetelas (grilled packets of black bean puree) and hush-puppy-like molotes, but found both to be “stolid.” However, with the oak-grilled sweet potatoes, she asserted, “if you don’t have them, you will regret it for the rest of your life.” She also enjoyed the oak-grilled fish à la devil (with “a salty bacon salsa that have ruined me for conventional fish tacos”), but her favorite dish was the goat barbacoa tacos:
A rack of teeny goat ribs under a scandalous cap of seared fat (it’s relatively easy to remove if you’re concerned about trivial things like your arteries). Arranged alongside the epazote-and-mint-rubbed meat is a covey of condiments—creamy queso fresco, a finely chopped cross between guacamole and avocado, and piquant salsa hidalguense.
Sharpe called the desserts — churros and chocolate and duck egg flan — fun to share, and left with a promise to return.
- Guild has set a strong course but requires more focus on its journey [Austin-American Statesman]
- Austin’s Suerte Has Masa Appeal [Texas Monthly]
- All Coverage of Guild [EATX]
- All Coverage of Suerte [EATX]