Tucked away where North Loop ends and 53rd Street begins, a historic Austin neighborhood is briefly interrupted by a funky, South Congress-esque 2-block span. Suddenly, you’re transported by the bright colors of vintage shops and cocktail bars, a Mediterranean hookah (and belly dancing) favorite, and, in the blink of an eye, just before the street turns residential again, Foreign & Domestic appears in its swine-y glory.
F&D is small (seats 47, limited reservations), but mighty spot, lead by Chef/Owner Ned Elliot whose love for the culinary arts, namely cooking, baking and gardening, shines bright with a changing, 8-day shelf life menu, highlighting fresh, seasonal ingredients.
While the menu evolves and you’re sure to be surprised each visit, if change isn’t your thing, you can take comfort in the fact that one, very important thing does stay the same: the ever popular, always available Gruyere Popovers.
What I love most about these Popovers, is that they are reminiscent of a Yorkshire Pudding, my favorite dinner bread served in my maternal homeland of England. Like Yorkshire Puddings, the Popovers are so light, fluffy and mild, however, the generous addition grated Gruyere brings a subtle boldness that pairs perfectly with a first course. Despite how dense and huge they look, the Popovers are hollow and light, and won’t fill you up too much to where you don’t have room for soon-to-come goodness.
When eating at restaurants where the menus are seasonal and/or ever-changing, we feel it’s important to really rely on our server’s expertise and recommendations. We were luckily enough to be sat with Brent, who with extensive knowledge on both the food and wine, was the perfect guide for our meal.
For starters, we went with Brent’s recommendation of the Allan Benton’s Ham (above) as well as the Summer Tomatoes (below). Both of which were incredibly refreshing, and in my opinion, the perfect ode to the end of summer.
For mains, Travis and I shared two dishes. First, the Bandera Quail, which featured corn pudding, summer squashes, picked chard stems, crispy chard, and Béarnaise.
Both of us loved every bite of this stand out dish – impressed by not only the mix of bold and light flavors, but also variety of textures (the juxtaposition of the smooth corn and the crispy greens blew my mind) this dish brought.
While the Squid Ink Spaghetti and Black Truffle Risotto also caught my eye, as you know, we limit our grain intake (I like to save mine for dessert, Travis prefers to go for the bread and chips), so we went for the Skuna Bay Salmon. Served with black garlic, corn pudding and bacon jam, this lighter dish certainly did not disappoint!
Speaking of dessert, there were two tasty options: a Lime Curd Napoleon with berries, black mint, crème anglaise, and watermelon sorbet, or, a Chocolate Funnel Cake with caramel, candied peanuts, black pepper ice cream and mint.
We got a sneak peek of the Funnel Cake from the couple sitting next to us, so food envy pushed us to go for that one. Delicious!
Personally, I love restaurants with changing menus because of the challenge this model presents to a chef, forcing creativity and evolution of their craft. Chef Ned Elliot KILLS the game, in this respect, and I can’t wait for another experience at F&D later this fall.
See what Travis thought from a Primal/Paleo perspective here, and check out this week’s podcasts for more of our insight on the restaurant, plus other current topics.
See you next time!