Café No Sé, described as Californian-inspired American food, is the more casual eatery at the new South Congress Hotel. Open breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it occupies the northeast corner space at South Congress and Milton Streets, pretty much in the exact spot where Hey Cupcake helped launch the food trailer revolution along SoCo. Our first challenge though, was figuring out how to get inside! We initially went through the main entrance to the hotel, only to discover the bar and lounge area, but no restaurant entrance from inside. So note to selves: enter the cafe from the street side.
é No Sé could definitely be a stop just for coffee/cocktail and dessert.
Loved the floor to ceiling built-in bookcases/wall dividers in the lobby with their array of succulents; those alone are worth seeing! While admiring those, one friend struck up a conversation with the gentlemen at the front desk; one things led to another, and they offered to let us go look at a couple of rooms. We were shown one of the "standard" rooms on the third floor which was quite lovely, and then the Monroe Suite, which is over 700 square feet, including a big patio overlooking the pool and South Congress itself.
Central Standard, opened the week before Christmas. Celebrated chef Paul Qui is opening a 12-seat omakase restaurant, Otoko, any day now and there's a rumor it's already booked solid for months. A casual juice bar, Manana, will also be forthcoming. Also keep an eye on Café No Sé's bakeshop page for upcoming specials, like Valentine's macaroons in five flavors.
No shortage of hidden treasures within the South Congress Hotel. And if you're dining at one of the restaurants, they do validate valet parking for three hours. Just part of the changing face of Austin, but at least good food is involved. And while I don't quite get the "Californian-inspired food" tag, at least these are decent Californian influences to be had, not just increased traffic and real estate prices.