Restaurant Week. This is the time when Austin's best restaurants offer fixed price tasting menus ranging from $15 to $35, so regular folks like me can afford fine dining at establishments that are normally out of reach.
Unlike Mardi Gras, however, restaurant week happens twice a year in Austin for a full eight days each Fall and Spring. Hosted by Rare Media, the Spring 2010 event is scheduled to start February 28, and will run from February 28 to March 3rd and March 7 to March 10th.
There are more restaurants than ever participating in Restaurant Week this time, offering more variety and affordability with plenty of lunch and dinner options. Rather than list all the participating restaurants, I'll give you a brief overview of some of my top choices.
Located at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center, Executive Chef Josh Watkins brings culinary artistry to American cuisine with dishes such as coral sea prawn confit and duck breast with huckleberry demiglace.
Perry's Steakhouse & Grille
$15 lunch and $35 dinner
Perry’s is famous for a mouth-watering pork chop, dried, cured and roasted, then caramelized and topped with their signature herb-garlic butter sauce. There is nothing like this pork chop, which will leave you with enough leftover to feed a family of four. Perry's is offering both a lunch and a dinner tasting menu this time. The $15 lunch menu features a chopped salad, signature pork chop, and a dessert trio. The $35 dinner menu offers more choices, but I would still urge you to try the pork chop. It's one-of-a-kind.
An Austin institution for 60 years, Green Pasture's offers French-inspired gourmet cuisine, fresh regional specialties, and a decadent selection of our own desserts make dining a green pastures a true occasion. At just $25, the Green Pasture's tasting menu is the best value by far. Check out this review at Boots in the Oven.
Located in a romantic turn of the century cottage in the heart of downtown Austin Texas, Aquarelle is one of Austin's premier gourmet restaurants. Though the menu is French-inspired, Aquarelle's chefs strive to feature as many local products as are available.
Located in the heart of downtown on Austin's famous Sixth Street, Parkside's talented Head Chef, Shawn Cirkiel uses only the freshest ingredient to produce complex and unexpected flavors.
Perla's Seafood & Oyster Bar
$25 and $35 dinner
A swanky, modern restaurant located in trendy SOCO, Perla’s features fish and oysters flown in daily from both coasts with an emphasis on the freshest catch from the Gulf of Mexico and simple, clean preparations. Perla's was featured as one of the Best New Restaurants in America by Esquire Magazine. If the tasting menu offers Coriander Grilled Ahi Tuna with Celery Root Puree, don't hesitate, just order it. You'll be glad you did.
How to Participate?
It's easy to participate in Austin Restaurant Week. Simply peruse the extensive list of participating restuarants on the website and look over the sample menus. After narrowing down your choices, finalize your plans by making an online reservation. Then start dreaming about the spectacular meal you'll be enjoying soon. With 5% of Restaurant Week sales benefiting the Sustainable Food Center of Austin, you can feel good about eating great.