Tuesday, June 13, 2017

COUNTER 3 . FIVE . VII remains Austin's only world-class restaurant

I have to put a caveat on that headline right off the bat: Counter is the only world-class restaurant of the many Austin restaurants I've experienced. That means it's possible that others exist, and if they do, I want to eat at them, but I don't think that's the case. Counter's food is extraordinary, and it remains far and away the best restaurant I've visited in Austin.

I've raved about the place in past blog entries, and I'm tired, so I'm going to keep it short in this review of my meal earlier tonight. Every dish was, of course, delicious, but each was also way more than that: it mixed flavors you might not have blended, it respected all the ingredients while also elevating them, and it displayed the mixture of inventive brilliance and perfect execution that is the hallmark of a world-class kitchen.  Executive Chef Damien Brockway and his team pursue excellence relentlessly--and achieve it every time.

For just one example, consider this dish, which I tasted earlier and which the menu described as follows:

Black Bean
Lime, Tomato, Celeriac

Click the image to see a larger version.

A soup of pureed black beans also proved to have pork fat and tomato relish in it, though it was a perfectly smooth puree whose ingredients appeared only in their taste. Atop the soup sat a celeriac foam and, in a touch that paired the lowly black bean with an equally earthy high-end ingredient, summer truffles.

I have never tasted beans this good. This dish single-handedly elevated beans and redefined for me what they are capable of delivering.

I could go on and on, but it is late and I promised short, so I'll stop with this: Counter and Brockway deserve national attention and every available award. Why he's not a Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year award winner is beyond me.

Eat at Counter if you get the chance.

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