A Meticulous, Experimental Tasting Menu at Barley Swine

*Editor’s Note 3/29/16: Barley Swine has relocated its entire operation to a larger space at 6555 Burnet Road since my visit.

Many of my previous visits to Austin had been during Austin City Limits where my schedule was jam-packed full of concert-going and nearly every moment of my usual 3-day stay was booked up. But, this Christmas-time trip was a little different. We were in town for a full week with plenty of time to relax and do bit of gastronomic exploration.

I’ve experienced a variety of Austin’s lower-key options including mini-trips to the outlying barbecue towns of Lockhart and Elgin, but I had never before really experienced Austin’s more elevated dining scene. First on my list of places to try was a little, Southern, tasting menu-only restaurant called Barley Swine and sister to another amazing Austin hot spot called Odd Duck – both which recently received 2015 James Beard Award nods.

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Exciting, Eclectic, Global Cuisine at Public Restaurant in Nolita

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After knocking out two date nights from our NYC Bucket List and before relocating to San Francisco, we had time for one final meal with my family the evening before our departure. Public Restaurant was chosen by my mom firstly for it’s super-convenient location in Nolita but mostly because, and I quote, “it sounds like it’s got your kind of food”. That could be taken any number of ways, but I’ll just assume it’s because the menu is loaded up with unusual sounding game meat and other interesting sounding ingredients together in strange combinations and preparations. Yes Mom, that does sound like my kind of place indeed.

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