Speer

Austin American-Statesman - - FOOD & DRINK - Con­tact Matthew Odam at 512-912-5986. Twit­ter: @odam

tail Bar owner Wil­liam Ball to open My Name is Joe, a trailer at Colorado and Fifth streets serv­ing gourmet toasts, grain bowls and cof­fee.

Re­turn­ing to run his own restau­rant af­ter more than two years away from a lead­er­ship po­si­tion has de­liv­ered mixed feel­ings of anx­i­ety and ac­com­plish­ment for Speer, but the chef, who said he teared up be­fore his first pre-ser­vice early this week, is ex­cited for the chal­lenge.

“It has been a really great ex­pe­ri­ence. It feels good to be back and have a staff and be their fear­less leader and co­con­spir­a­tor and team­mate,” Speer said. “I felt hon­ored to have peo­ple stand be­hind me.”

Bon­homie is open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mon­day through Thurs­day; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fri­day; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Satur­day and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sun­day.

Now open

Shawn Cirkiel, owner of Park­side, Backspace, Bull­fight and Olive & June, has jumped into the juice and healthy grab-and-go game. The chef and restau­ra­teur opened Jugo re­cently at 603 Bra­zos St. The shop serves juices (with com­bi­na­tions like pineap­ple, beet, jalapeño, and ap­ple, spinach and gin­ger), smooth­ies, cold brew green tea and Cu­vee cold brew cof­fee, as well as pack­aged snacks, healthy grain and noo­dle bowls, sal­ads and en­trees like grilled rose­mary chicken. Jugo is open daily from 7 a.m.to 7 p.m.

“As my life has be­come busier with the con­tin­ual ex­pan­sion of Park­side Projects, rais­ing a fam­ily and more, I find my­self drawn to quick meals and snacks,” Cirkiel said. “Jugo is a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of that tran­si­tional life­style and places an em­pha­sis on cook­ing sim­i­larly to the way we eat at home.”

Hon­ors

Bar­ley Swine and Odd Duck chef-owner Bryce Gil­more was named a James Beard award fi­nal­ist for Best Chef South­west for the fifth con­sec­u­tive year. Bar­ley Swine, his orig­i­nal restau­rant, earned the No. 1 rank­ing in the Austin360 Din­ing Guide in 2016 and in 2013, and Odd Duck also took at Top 10 spot last year (No. 4). The awards hon­or­ing the coun­try’s best chefs will be handed out April 27 at a cer­e­mony in Chicago. Aaron Franklin won the award in 2015, mak­ing him the third Austin chef to take home the prize; other past Austin win­ners are Tyson Cole (Uchi) and Paul Qui (cur­rently of Kuneho).

Na­tional at­ten­tion

If you picked up a New York Times last week, you prob­a­bly no­ticed that the paper’s es­teemed restau­rant critic, Pete Wells, paid a visit to Austin and wrote a starred-re­view of Franklin Bar­be­cue.

The long and short of the re­view: Wells liked Franklin quite a bit. He gave the restau­rant two stars, which trans­lates to “very good” in New York Times restau­rant crit­i­cism par­lance, the same score he gave Mighty Quinn’s Bar­be­cue in the East Vil­lage in 2013. He be­gan his re­view of James Beard award-win­ner Aaron Franklin and wife Stacey Franklin’s restau­rant talk­ing about the famed and very long line be­fore mov­ing onto some back­story and then de­scrip­tions of the food.

An ex­am­ple: “One of Mr. Franklin’s apos­tasies from old-school Cen­tral Texas bar­be­cue tech­nique is wrap­ping meat mid­way through smok­ing to keep it from dry­ing out. All his prod­ucts are no­tice­ably juicy; the turkey is helped by a quick dip in a pan of but­ter and juices.”

Wells said he doubts he’d trade Franklin’s brisket for any­one’s. Is the ex­pe­ri­ence worth the wait? Wells re­sponds, “The an­swer, like many things in life, de­pends on what else you could be do­ing with your time.”

Wells first stepped out of the Big Ap­ple last sum­mer to visit restau­rants around the coun­try for starred re­views, a first for the Times.

New hours

We al­ready know Old Thou­sand, the Chi­nese restau­rant that opened in East Austin late last year, makes a mean din­ner (as ex­plained in my re­view last week); now we’re go­ing to see how they han­dle brunch. The restau­rant be­gan brunch ser­vice Sun­day, run­ning from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The plan is to even­tu­ally add Satur­day brunch as well. The menu in­cludes dim sum items like squid and shrimp shu­mai, hot chicken pot­sticker, and sticky rice.

Ranch-in­spired Con­tigo now serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mon­day-Fri­day. The cur­rent menu in­cludes roasted sweet potato with grilled kale, ap­ple and an­chovy dress­ing; a pas­trami sand­wich with caramelized onion and ap­ples; red pea falafel salad; and their ex­cel­lent burger, which nabbed a spot on my best burg­ers in Austin list a cou­ple of years ago.

Closed

Al­borz Per­sian Cui­sine at 3300 An­der­son Lane closed ear­lier this month af­ter al­most 17 years of ser­vice. A post on their Face­book page asks guests to visit them at their new restau­rant, Plaka Greek Café (115 N. In­ter­state 35 in Ge­orge­town), which was sold last year by George and Zlata Be­tondo af­ter eight years of op­er­a­tion. In a classy and com­mu­nity-friendly move, Al­borz also di­rected Face­book fans to a cou­ple of other Per­sian restau­rants in the area, Shan­deez Grill (8863 An­der­son Mill Road) and Caspian Grill (12518 Re­search Blvd.).

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