Why Top 45?

These are the things that float to the top of my list of activities that I want to do for the year 2012 when I am 45 years old. The list is comprised of things that I have either never tried or have wanted to try and just didn't have the courage or time to do it. Follow along and watch my progress and feel free to comment or add words of encouragement to help keep me going for the next 365 days!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lenoir Restaurant - By Catch Dinner

Instead of attending La Dolce Vita, that is an event that takes place at Laguna Gloria Art museum, Greg and I altered the list a bit to participate in one of the monthly dinner series meals featured at Lenoir Restaurant in south Austin.  I decided that I didn't feel like standing in multiple lines for food and wine with thousands of other people.  I have become quite spoiled and prefer smaller venues and more personal service for all kinds of events ranging from food and wine to music.

Lenoir is owned and operated by husband and wife, Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher, who source as much as their supplies from Texas producers as possible.  The restaurant is housed is a very quaint and whimsically decorated house-cum-restaurant just south of downtown.  When we first arrived we were directed to the adorable backyard where ambient lights were strewn in the trees and the Biscuit Grabbers entertained us with their unique jazzy music.


While listening to the tunes, we were offered a choice of beverages; bubbly, riesling or pilsner and tasty hors d'oeuvres; hake brandade, marinated blackfin tuna and fried menhaden.  We both started with a glass of the pinot nero-fanconia scarpetta and ended up with a glass of the riesling.  Of the hors d'oeuvres, one of our favorites was the fried menhaden that we renamed fish-bacon due to is presentation and the fact that it tasted like bacon with a hint of fish flavor as a nice after taste.  Greg and I had to resist eating the tray of appetizers placed at the end of our table because we wanted to leave room for the meal to come...we should have stopped at one a piece of the appetizers instead of the 3+ of each that we ate, just couldn't resist the fish-bacon.

Hake Brandade and Blackfin Tuna

Fish Bacon!

After a short time in the backyard, we migrated inside for the four courses to come.  Upon entry to the restaurant, we were greeted by the scene below.  I LOVE the multiple chandeliers.  The restaurant only has a few tables and seats probably about 30 or so people.  Most of the walls are decorated by thin strips of wood that have been painted black except for a wall painted a beautiful jewel tone of blue near the restrooms.  It was so cozy and inviting that I am looking forward to another visit very soon.
Lovely Interior Decor

Menu - a.k.a. Fish Feast

The first course did not disappoint!  I LOVED the two salads and in particular the salad with thai basil as the main greens paired with toasted rice, wild boar and egg crepe.  The textures and flavors were amazing and I ate way more of this salad then I should have...I was failing miserably on pacing myself for the remainder of food to come.  The cauliflower salad was lovely, too, with lots of additional flavors and textures.

Amazing Thai Basil Salad
Awesome multi-colored cauliflower salad
One of the really cool aspects of this meal is the intro to each course by the chef along with guest lectures by the fish monger, the sommelier and the local Austin sake maker.  If only they would have told me to pace myself better...no thanks to Greg either. ; )

The second course was an amazing rainbow runner green curry.  It had just enough spice to have some interest and not too much that you couldn't recognize and taste the other ingredients and spices in the soup.  I am not a big fan of okra, but it grows well in Texas and this wasn't too slimy, but I really enjoyed the additional flavors of the Thai eggplant and Jerusalem artichokes.
FlavorFULL green curry soup
The third course, or last savory course, was an entire grilled porgy and yummy roasted sweet potatoes.  The sight of the whole grilled fish made quite a presentation and while everything was served family style, Greg and I were the only ones at our table so we had a lot of fun taking pictures and dissecting the dishes.  We were quite full by this course so we were able to bring some of the food home.  I really liked the way the potatoes were roasted with some meyer lemon garnish because it had a bit of a lemony glaze on them.  Oh, and the green beans were divine with a lovely mix of seasonings to complement the fact that they were perfectly prepared, not too over cooked.  We loved most of the drink pairings although we were not a big fan of the sake.  As I am not a sake connoisseur, I really do not feel qualified to comment too much on it though.
Grilled Porgy





Finally, our fourth, dessert course, was a smorgasbord of sesame & almond cake, meyer lemon curd, grilled persimmon and frozen coconut rice.  Of this grouping, my favorite flavors were the lemon curd and coconut ice cream probably because I was so full from everything else, I couldn't really put too much into my stomach for fear of bursting.  As a matter of fact, I was so full that I forgot to snap a picture of the dessert.

The meal was a huge success in my book and as I suspected, I really enjoyed the intimate nature of the meal over the bustly chaos that sometimes prevails at something like La Dolce Vita or a different wine and food fest.

I have signed up for email updates from Lenoir because I hope to return very soon for another one of their special meals.

Next few posts:
Blanton B Scene
FirePit Ceramics
Chicken S*&t Bingo