Monday, March 23, 2015

Recent Eats -- Launderette, JW Marriott, Counter 3.FIVE.VII, The Carillon

Here's a recap of some openings and events I've attended in the past month. Warning: good fabulous food ahead!

A friend invited me to a "friends and family" soft opening of Launderette, located at Holly and Robert Martinez Streets. The new restaurant (located in an old laundromat) is the latest project from Chef Rene Ortiz and Pastry Chef Laura Sawicki, both formerly of La Condesa and Sway. For the soft opening, the food was on point, and our waitress was outstanding. They asked for a social media lock down, so I wasn't able to get very many pictures, but the star of our meal was the Texas grouper with gremolata, fennel and brown butter sauce. Also, the dessert of hazelnut cake with coffee mousse was amazing. I look forward to heading back to East Austin!
The new JW Marriott hotel at 2nd and Congress is Austin's largest hotel at over 1,000 rooms, and to feed all those guests (and then some!) they opened three eateries, where local media and bloggers were treated to a preview. For fine dining, Osteria Pronto is a beautiful, elegant space with a focus on Northern Italian foods. We sampled a wonderfully creamy burrata with prosciutto chip, shrimp ravioli, and calamari with baby artichokes in the mix.
JW Marriott -- Osteria Pronto
Next was Corner Restaurant, with its tastefully done Texas memorabilia and tequila bottle chandelier, who offers upscale bar food, with local beers on tap. We tried their delicious cornbread, pork tacos, and the amazing barley and butternut squash salad with a miso sesame dressing that I am determined to recreate at home. No greasy bar food here! And our last stop was out on the sidewalk for window service at Burger Bar, serving burgers, fries, and soft serve.
JW Marriott -- Corner Restaurant
Counter 3.FIVE.VII, is a new dining space where every seat is at the chef's table, or in this instance, the chef's counter. A 26-seat counter has been built around a kitchen to create an intimate dining experience, where the diners can choose a three, five, or seven course prix-fixe meal, with or without wine pairings. I was invited to one of their final soft openings, and it's a beautiful space, nestled at street level between Swift's Attic and the Elephant Room at 315 Congress Avenue. The front room is a bar serving charcuterie, and it peers into the dining room, which was elegant with its clean lines and attention to detail.
Counter 3.FIVE.VII
Details included the embossed aprons that all the chefs wear, the handmade wooden silverware holders, and the leather-bound menus. Plus you get to see almost every detail of what's happening in the kitchen.
Counter 3.FIVE.VII -- aprons & silverware
And the food. Everything is seasonal. Dishes are served to you by the chefs themselves, and there are expertly selected wine pairings at every turn. They're using more than just basic whiteware to serve the dishes, and the affect of artfully crafted dishes on artfully crafted dishes is exquisite. And delicious. (Pardon the shadow over the menu; I originally intended for it to be a reference for me to the dishes, but it's just easier to include it so you can see for yourself.)
Counter 3.FIVE.VII -- menu & dishes

Counter 3.FIVE.VII -- menu & dishes
The Carillon at the AT +T Conference Center on the UT campus is one of Austin's semi-hidden gems. With a new chef's team in place, they have revised their menu offerings and recently hosted a media event to showcase their dishes. The crisp pork belly was accented with tart green apple, and is certainly amongst the best bellies I've had. The oxtail was presented beautifully (I loved the textured rim of the bowl) and was incredibly tender, and everyone at the table was in love with the little chocolate ganache desserts. So smooth and silky! Other delicious new dishes include a Indian-inspired braised lamb, cassoulet, heads-on shrimp, blood orange curd, and foie gras ice cream pops!
The Carillon at the AT+T Center, Univ of Texas
{I was an invited guest at all of these events, money did not exchange hands, nor was I paid for my promotion or posting of these establishments on social media.}


  1. So glad to have been your date at Counter. Great post (as always)

  2. SO excited to try Counter 3.Five.VII. Always enjoy your reviews!

    1. Thanks, Optimista! It's a beautiful spot, you'll enjoy it!

  3. Happy to see and eat with you on two of these excursions!

    1. Always happy to see your face! (Not sure why this comment just popped up now, but better late than never!) :)