A new virtual tasting menu restaurant is making its debut this week. Diners at the Foxtail Supper Club will receive shipments of mostly prepared food, check into an organized Zoom meeting with the chef and other guests, and finish cooking the rest of the meal while eating it together.
Foxtail, which launches on Thursday, May 7, is the work of the Austin chef Page Pressley. Pressley originally intended to open it as a physical restaurant somewhere in Austin with both tasting and all-day menus. But when the novel coronavirus pandemic changed his plans, he decided to go virtual.
Foxtail will offer two evening services each week, each with 11 “seats” (basically screens). Diners can place their orders for a specific date through Assembly Kitchen, a new local online platform for delivery meal kits. The meals will then be delivered to their doorstep, along with a link to instructions for what and how everything needs to be cooked (although most dishes will come already prepared).
When it is time for the actual dinner, all of the participants will join a Zoom meeting where Pressley will guide them through the process of cooking and preparing the meals. They will eat each dish after finishing making the course. Pressley says that the cooking techniques and equipment requirements will be simple. “The experience is meant to be less education and significantly more fun, social, and relaxing,” he explained, “while, of course, teaching some tricks of the trade.”
Foxtail’s five-course dinners include two main entrees and dessert, and use ingredients sourced from Austin and the Hill Country area. The menu will change every two to three weeks; its initial lineup includes wagyu carpaccio and caviar, barbecue pork, citrus-cured diver scallops with peppercorns, and hazelnut brioche. Allergies and diet restrictions won’t be accommodated at this time.
The meals are $150 each, and meant to feed two people. There are also extra add-on packages, such as wine pairings, flowers, birthday cakes, and cards. Diners don’t have to be in Austin to enjoy the virtual restaurant, since Pressley is shipping the meals across the country with next-day delivery.
Pressley plans to eventually expand Foxtail with two additional evening seatings each week, as well as add a la carte daytime-type meals. And he says that one day, he’ll still open Foxtail as an actual restaurant.
Before launching Foxtail, Pressley had been the executive chef of the Clarksville bakery and deli Swedish Hill, as well as the chef de cuisine of the New American restaurant Emmer & Rye; he also held various roles at the former Uchi restaurant group, which is now Hai Hospitality.