We love Austin, and we love to eat. Second, a sister restaurant to Congress (on the corner of Congress and 2nd Street-duh) was our chosen destination this Labor Day Weekend.We arrived early, parked at the $5.00 lot across the street, and were seated immediately!
Unfortunately a little too early for a craft cocktail--they were serving, just thought I didn't want to spend the rest of the afternoon at Barton Springs in a boozy/dehydrated haze so we opted for some local draft beer.
A celebration lunch for Sophie's first cross country race and also in memory of Piki, our recently deceased pug.
Sophie started off with the baked ricotta and goat cheese with fruit mostardo. Luckily she was willing to share this appetizer. The presentation was perfect--who doesn't love a teeny cast iron pot? Sophie picked off the fruit mostarda after I told her it had mustard in it. The bread and baked cheese was reliably awesome, but Sophie was missing out by skipping the mostarda. Somehow the dense sweetness of the fruit combined with the kick of mustard elevated the melted cheese/bread combo above its standard awesomeness.
I had the corn gazpacho, the little corn tower was plated in the kitchen and the waiter poured the soup around it tableside. Keeps the tortilla garnish crispy. This was like a combination of gazpacho with tortilla soup. Light, but bursting with all the flavors you would expect from both soups.
bread + melted cheese=empty bowl every time.
Sophie is all goat cheese, all the time. Hence the pizza with goat cheese/ricotta/arugula/grana padano (only after confirmation that grana padano was not some strange organ meat). She ate about 1/3 of it, correctly saving room for dessert.
I saved room for dessert as well. The lump crabmeat salad was very light. A little light on the crabmeat, but it was beautiful lump crabmeat so for a $12 salad I didn't expect a pound of it. If you are not saving room for dessert this would be a great appetizer salad.
If you don't need to save room for dessert, or if you have the metabolism of a hummingbird like my husband, get the burger. It came highly recommended by our server. With good reason. It was juicy, carefully formed burger. Ian said, "Where is the brisket?" The brisket is ground and mixed with the chuck, honey. That is why this burger is not a dense meat hockey puck. If you have the metabolism of two hummingbirds or you don't plan on eating for the next 24 hours you could add smoked pork belly.
Ian followed the server's advise again and ordered the tres leches trifle for dessert. Needless to say, he wasn't hungry until dinner. Rich, creamy, coconutty. An awesome twist on a classic Tex-Mex dessert. I got the chocolate sticky toffee pudding with bacon ice cream. Bacon ice cream has always seemed gimmicky to me until I had my first bite....I would gladly spend a week in the kitchen if I could somehow recreate this ultimate smoky/salty/sweet creation. It is probably just as well since I don't want a triple bypass before age 50.
Sophie, in true form, ordered the dessert sampler with coconut macaroons (meh--they were tasty enough but nothing special), brownies with smoked ganache/orange pop rocks (the bomb!), peanut butter fudge (tasty but served a little too cold), and oatmeal cookie sandwiches with dulce de leche and foie gras buttercream (awesome, and worth it if only to tell her she had goose liver). The brownies I would come back for on a daily basis.
It was an outstanding lunch with outstanding service. I am looking forward to visiting Congress for a date night in the future.