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New Restaurant Jezebel in Austin?

  • k

I just moved back to Austin after a year unhappily far away...and walked by a restaurant on Congress that appears to be new: Restaurant Jezebel. Has anyone tried it? Thoughts?

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  1. I'm curious about this too. Austin Chronicle recently mentioned it in passing as "hot" and "new."

    1. I ate there last week with a big group. I thought it was really seriously good. I particularly liked the steak tartare appetizer, hearts of palm salad, and ostrich entree. I also tried the crab cakes, which were good and fairly light and the spring rolls, which I don't remember well, but remember I liked them. (Their menu is online.) The service was excellent. The chef visited our table several times.

      I would love to hear what others think. It is currently BYOB, so plan ahead. I have been craving it and will try to go again in the next few days. It was that good.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. Marcia and I wandered by Jezebel last night and decided to give it a try. It is a nice space at 914 Congress next to the Little City coffeehouse. When we arrived a little after 7 p.m., there was only one other table occupied (six more filled up while we were there), and the menu had enough interesting items on it that we gave up trying to decide and negotiated a four-course omikase tasting menu for $80 each.

          The restaurant does not have liquor license yet. Little City next door will sell bottles of wine that the Jezebel will uncork, but their selection is pretty limited.

          The bread basket had great La Brea bakery bread, and there was a appetizer of warm (!) olives in a sweet sauce that was quite good.

          First up was a huge seared scallop with horseradish mashed potatoes, eggplant "caviar," and micro greens The scallop was perfectly done, and it came with several sauces, the best of which was a really amazing lemon grass beurre blanc.

          Next was a rather inventive lobster "ravioli" where the "pasta" was thinly sliced papaya. It was topped with more lobster, caviar, and thinly sliced arugula slaw. The sauce was a mild Thai green sauce.

          The main course was a "surf and turf" plate with salmon, beef fillet, mushrooms, green beans, and more of the horseradish mashed potatoes. The meats and mushrooms were perfectly done. There was also a curious side (this was a huge plate of food) of tempura-fried dates stuffed with foie gras. It was pretty neat, though the dates overwhelmed the foie gras.

          The final course was a lobster bisque with foie gras and sea urchin. The presentation was particularly cool: It came in a hollowed-out sea urchin shell. The bisque and the foie gras were great, but I the sea urchin in a sweet, creamy soup didn't work for me.

          They also served a nice little creme brulee for dessert.

          Service was attentive. The restaurant has a large staff for its size (four in the front of the house, at least three in the back), so it looks like they will be able to handle things as business picks up.

          The decor looks like a work in progress. The tables are nicely set with fancy glassware and flatware, and they have a trendy array of unusually shaped plates. The otherwise bare walls were adorned with large oil paintings of abstract-ish nudes that appear to be all from the same artist. There are also a couple of large flat-panel monitor, one of which was switching between views of the kitchen work areas. The open kitchen in the back with an impressive mise en place laid out. Unfortunately, the ventilation system is not quite up to all the searing going on, so the whole atmosphere a savory funk to it that gets to be a bit much after a while.

          All in all, a great meal. Too much rich food by far, and too many of the sauces and glazes were too sweet and not picante enough for my taste, but Jezebel is definitely a place to watch. I think it will be one of the top restaurants in Austin once it hits its stride. If nothing else, the cuisine is unusual enough that it will be a read stand-out; it is the kind of place where you have to use a lot of scare-quotes to describe the food.

          They ended up charging us $85 -- they sure like those $5 charges -- but the meal was sufficiently good that I did not dispute it.

          There is a web site for the restaurant at http://www.restaurantjezebel.com/menu....

          1. I've been debating a dinner here and was glad to come across these reports. Sounds like an ambitious restaurant for Austin (which I think is a fine thing), and the BYO factor makes it pretty tempting. I can't say the menu reads very well, despite the Chronicle writeup, but it's been awhile since I rolled the dice. If I make it, I'll report back.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Steven Dilley

              Anyone been to Restaurant Jezebel lately? Any must-order items?

              1. re: sweet100s

                sweet100s, I ate there very recently. I liked the lightly sauteed olives and the bread basket was not bad. We had 2 appetizers off the specials menu, one which was a baked feta cheese with roasted tomatoes thingy and the other was a warm salad with andouille and baby octopus. I enjoyed the baked feta quite a bit, and the warm salad was essentially a bunch of sliced andouille and rings of what I thought were squid (not octopus) swimming in a brown sauce with some arugula leaves off to the side. Pretty good, if a little too saucy for my expectations. My companion had the crabcakes which were not to her (or my) liking. She had been craving crabcakes and probably didn't stop to consider that this was a more creative version -- one that was overly salty, and lacking crab punch. Again, very saucy. Too much going on with this one (saffron curry something-or-other). I actually didn't get too adventurous, and stuck with the filet which was nicely crusted with porcinis and was sitting atop a huge potato pancake (strong horseradish) with green beans and some hollandaisey sauce (too much again). Everything looked absolutely beautiful. I was a little surprised by the lack of much flavour from the beef to be honest. It looked flawless, but was largely flavourless.

                It's not bad. I think it's a little overpriced -- although the portions are very large (too large IMO) -- I think they should drop the portion size and prices for this to be a better value (although that assumes it tastes good to you). Excellent wine selection though, and a nice room. Lukewarm experience for me, but nothing that's making me angry.

                1. re: Nab

                  Nab thanks very much for the update and detail!