::the new restaurant owned by the odd duck trailer guy::
::name the time. i’m there.::
Considering dining at The Odd Duck was one of my best meals in Austin thus far, I really didn’t need to know more to be enticed to go to Barley Swine. Then I realized just what the restaurant’s name implied: a restaurant devoted to beer (for Josh) and pigs (for me….and Josh).
With only 35 seats (and the buzz surrounding it’s opening since last summer), we shouldn’t have been surprised that it would be a packed house when we arrived.
*“I want to bottle up the smell of this restaurant and stick in a diffuser, and take it home, so that my house can smell like this all the time.”–Josh [although for a second I thought he'd turned into Adam Richman]
Just as I had ordered a glass of wine at Opa! down the street (a great place to wait if you end up in a similar situation)…
…the phone rang, beckoning us back to the restaurant. I don’t think I’ve ever drank a glass of wine so fast (and therefore, was bound to have an enjoyable meal), but we were back at Barley Swine in a flash, and ready to eat everything on the menu.I was happy to be seated at the bar , rather than one of the high tables…
*I don’t know why I just said classy. Is that really classy? I don’t know. It seemed appropriate. I’m going with it. Sounds better than ‘convenient.’ (Although it’s that, too.)
Upon being seated, I told our server I was, sadly, “not a beer person,” and asked if I should just order wine, despite the extensive (and heavily localized) beer list. She directed us to what she called “the Pinot Noir of beers” and I was sold.Don’t worry, Mama, I didn’t drink all 19 oz. myself.*
*Actually, who am I kidding. She’d probably be proud of me if I did.Despite nearly choosing to just order everything on the menu, we quickly narrowed it down to four items. Of course, then we were told the specials:
That little bite you see? Yeah, I thought it was pretty much one of the best bites of anything I’ve ever eaten. Something about the way the stew juices and the herbs (I only got parsley out of the cook, but I swear there is something else in there) combined with the meaty, salty pork belly and the bite of the slightly undercooked beans…wow. I didn’t think it could get any better.
Soft boiled egg, crispy stuffed pig foot, mushrooms, mustard vinaigrette
And then came the big guns. The plate that screamed “eat me” with the words foie gras jumping off of the menu and not letting your eyes move past or away.
And then proceeded to mock me…because while his was easily transportable……mine ended up turning into what I believe was called a “landfill.”
I wanted to somehow drain the sauce into a bottle and take it home so I could slather it over everything…chicken, potatoes…oatmeal*…when I told Jason (the host? manager? all-around nice guy?) this, he said that he’d ‘caught’ two people actually licking their plates clean.
My response: “Is that a challenge?”
After much debate about whether it was actually a bowl or a plate (I maintain that the edges make it slightly more bowl-like), and positioning the camera perfectly from behind the bar…success!And yes, after the photo, I did continue to lick. [I did not, however, actually eat the plate [slash] bowl, despite appearances to the contrary.]
I should also mention that I made friends with the lovely gentlemen dining next to us, who walked us through the menu (having eaten their the previous night as well) and made suggestions. They also shared a bite of the third special of the night:
We simply couldn’t resist a little sweetness to end the meal (although we did resist ordering both the sweetbreads with brussel sprouts and bacon, as well as the scallop and duck cracklin’…I don’t know how, but we did). Although the opening menu (as seen online) had featured some sort of sweet potato mousse deliciousness,* they were no longer offering that…instead, we went for the ‘Coffee porter float with pecan ice cream.’
*Also crispy pig tails. Which you KNOW I would have totally eaten.
…I, for one, was ready to dig in. The ice cream was AMAZING (not that I’ve ever met a creamy confection I didn’t like), but there were super huge chunks of pecans in it, and the whole textural experience was to-die-for. Considering I’m not much of a beer drinker, I think I would have preferred a big bowl of ice cream with the beer just poured around it…and maybe some chocolate shavings? Or just straight up chocolate fudge sauce?*
*It would have been like Derby Pie in a bowl…except, you know, without the bourbon. So…OK, fine. Not really like a Derby Pie at all.