2014 saw the opening of many Southern fine dining restaurants in Austin so I went to Fixe with some trepidation. Largely intrigued by Chef de Cuisine Zach Hunter's previous stint at San Sebastian gastronomic temple Mugaritz, I managed to visit this new year's eve and I walked away largely impressed.
It is a comfortably large space and service was impeccable. I was surprised by the size of the restaurant as its a risky venture to open such a sizable restaurant in such a pricy part of town.
A breakdown of what we had.
Biscuits $5 - I haven't had the biscuits at Olamaie or Sawyer's yet but these were fantastic. 3 large round biscuits with a crisp and crunchy buttery scone like exterior and a soft cottony interior came with a ramekin of homemade strawberry jam and a quenelle of andouille sausage paste. Very tasty and a great value.
Fried Chicken $13 - This was listed in the small plates section but was large enough to be a main. Two sizable chicken thighs were nicely flavored from brine and fried nicely in a crisp coating that had a thin layer of honey on the exterior. Came with a nice kale salad. I personally prefer fried chicken with thinner batter crusts such as those found at Gus's but for fans of the fried chicken with thicker crusts, this would really hit the spot. Preferred it over the Lucy's fried Chicken though stylistically similar.
Beef Tendon $4 - We were initially confused when they brought this out as it looked like a bowl of rice crackers with a ramekin of hotsauce. It was only upon tasting that I realized the crackers had a deep flavor of beef tendon. Upon questioning, our server informed us that the crackers are pretty much 100% beef tendon that has been sous vided then flattened, then flash fried. The most interesting dish in Austin I've had in 2014.
Grilled Shrimp $15 - 5 sizable grilled gulf shrimp sat on a bed of white beans and tasso ham. A very solid dish though not as inspired as some of the others. The salt control was very good and the shrimp were very nicely done texture wise with a nice charred flavor.
Grains - $8 - various popped and roasted grains with a mushroom gelatin and some sea urchin based sauce. This was just meh. The flavors didn't seem to combine well.
Beef Tartare $17 - a very nice beef tartare that was due mostly to the beef used. I don't know if it was wagyu but it tasted like wagyu. Served with corn pancakes and 2 fried oysters. Thought the oysters were superfluous and would have rather had more beef. portion size not as generous as other dishes.
Red Beans and Rice dessert $7 - red bean beignet, chocolate, rice ice cream. Decent tasting if a bit gimmicky. Not sure what the red bean and rice added to the dish as a standard beignet with vanilla ice cream would have been as nicely received.
Sticky toffee cake $7 - Sticky toffee cake, slice of brie, Almond ice cream. The play between the sweet toffee cake and the salty brie thats then cooled down with the almond ice cream played very well. Usually I'm not a fan of very sweet desserts but the contrast allowed me to enjoy this one.
Overall I think Fixe presents some solid and inventive dishes at a very very reasonable pricepoint. I'm more than happy to go back at some point and trying some of their mains.