Thursday, March 5, 2009

#82: Visit one new restaurant during Austin's Restaurant Week

Completed: 03-04-09

So it's been awhile since I checked off any of my 101 items. I think part of that is due to my workload at this time of year and part of it is due to the ::dun, dun, dun-dun:: economy. The Husband and I are fine, really, just preparing ourselves for what could be a rather protracted recession.

Moving on.

The Austin Restaurant Week menus were released around February 13th, and by the following week, I had made reservations at two restaurants. I finally chose
Aquarelle and told The Husband that we had a date. On a Wednesday night. At 8:00pm.

Saying he was shocked would be an understatement as our usual routine is gym, home, dinner, bed by 10pm. Don't be jealous.

We arrived at Aquarelle around 7:30pm, a bit earlier than our reservations. The host said it was not a problem and cleared a table for us right away. After we sat down, I had to explain to The Husband what Austin Restaurant Week is and how the menus work. He was definitely game and intrigued by the concept.

We looked over the menus and I noticed that they were not what had been listed on the restaurant week site. Not a big deal, since the new menu looked just as delicious.

The Husband ordered the salmon tartare (appetizer), scallops (dinner) and profiterole (dessert). I ordered the cauliflower soup (appetizer), sea bass (dinner) and, uh, some cake thing (dessert).

The original menu listed creme brulee as a dessert option, which I love. Seriously. One day I will teach myself to make creme brulee and then The Husband will have to learn to love his fat wife, because that is how much I love this stuff.

Anyway. I asked our server if they had taken it off the menu (durrr) and picked the cake thing as my dessert.

The service at Aquarelle is top notch. From the moment you enter their door to the moment you leave, they are attentive without being overbearing and knowledgeable without being pretentious.

The food. Oh, my lord, the food. The Husband's salmon tartare was so fresh and subtle in flavor. My cauliflower soup was silky with a bit of spice and topped with crispy onions. The scallops were so meaty and dressed with a cream sauce and potato straws. My sea bass was tender and accented with sweet caramelized onions and creamy polenta.

The portions, alone, look a bit small. But, when we left, I felt a bit stuffed and The Husband said that he was perfectly full, not overfull and not still hungry. From the amuse bouche to the dessert, it adds up and is more than sufficiently filling.

Speaking of dessert... When we had finished our entrees, our server came by the table and said, "I spoke to the chef and he said that he could do a creme brulee for you, if you would like."

Would I like?! Does a fish like water?

So, in the end, I got my creme brulee. It was a chocolate creme brulee (I know!) and it was delicious. The custard was soft and velvety. The sugar crust was crisp. Perfect.

Aquarelle is doing some happy hour thing (Tues-Sat, 5-7) on their patio wine bar and a dinner/wine for two for $50, as well. The Husband was so impressed with this restaurant (which, believe me, does not happen often) that he said we should come back and try their happy hour.

I think this means that #82 and my little surprise date was a success. ;-)


CaneWife said...

Wheeee! Sounds fabulous! I was sold from the moment you mentioned crispy onions. :)

ashley-cita said...

;-) They are hard to resist, aren't they?

Scarlett's Mama said...

I would have made out with the waiter when he brought the brulee.

I'm glad you had such an awesome time!

Circe said...

You need a hand torch to do a creme brulee.

I would recommend buying a mask and gloves.