Statesman critic Matthew Odam finally got around to reviewing downtown French restaurant Le Politique. Similar to other reviews, he had a mixed experience at the restaurant, which opened in September, particularly with service (which seems to be a common theme for Le Politque).
Odam recommends starting with the oysters or charcuterie, like the pâté grand-mère, which he described as “velvety but firm mixture of pork and chicken liver studded with prunes and dotted with eye-popping whole grain mustard.” For entrees, he experienced “dry” trout almondine, and mistakes with sauces on the gnocchi Parisienne and haricot verts.
Odam expressed frustrations of style (which he found a bit common, saying it took “the safe approach of a plug-and-play spot”) over substance at the restaurant.
The daily specials menu, with its French spellings of dishes and days of the week, attempts to ascribe authenticity in a place lacking the requisite soul or history and seems too cute by half.
In the same review where he chides Le Politique for “preciousness,” Odam recommends “slip[ping] in for a breezy brunch,” thanks for a Norwegian galette with smoked salmon (“a perfectly civilized way to spend a weekend morning”).
Nevertheless, the star of the show for Odam were desserts from pastry chef Alyssa Hurlstone, who happens to be a French Laundry alum:
A glossy bombe au chocolat ($10), an orb of chocolate mousse and salted caramel sitting atop a speculoos cookie with a downy scoop of crème fraîche ice cream, explodes with bitter, sweet, salty and tart harmony
Jessi Cape at the Chronicle released this year’s edition of First Plates, the alt-weekly’s annual massive undertaking of 100 restaurants defining Austin right now. The list also included Cape’s first-time personal ten picks for 2018.
Topping Cape’s list was Eldorado Cafe, an interesting choice given the imperfections she listed in her review (which was her first as the Chronicle’s food critic). Rounding out her top five were omakase-only Otoko, Mexican restaurant newcomer Suerte, established sushi restaurant Kome, and the widely beloved Titaya’s Thai Cuisine.
On the blogs: With Shayda visited Hank’s and found an elegant simplicity and her “new favorite salad in town;” Sushi in the ATX stopped by Filipino restaurant Be More Pacific and appreciated the “fun and fresh ingredients” like the Lucy Lychee cocktail.