Wink, Austin, TX
Wink is a ray of sunshine in Austin. I admit that when we travel to other cities, being a NYer, my expectations are pretty low. We are very spoiled here in NYC. What a delight to eat at Wink. The food and service were over the top. Delicious at every turn.
We sat down at a table that wouldn’t stop shaking. You have been there. The table that is off and not even a box of matches can help the situation. They immediately moved us. Then we began the festivities. Our first bite was a tasting from the chef. Melted jack cheese cappuccino. Demi-tasse glasses filled with melted jack cheese that had a bit of a zest to it topped with a foam and coffee like cream. It was awesome.
I could have had an entire soup instead of just a little taste.
The menu changes daily based on the local farms and gardens produce. Pretty ambitious. We all had something different. I started with the tombo tartare. Diced pieces of tuna seared with thinly sliced Japanese cucumber over hearts of palm and a lemon soy vinaigrette. Delicious. Fred had the scallops. Those were incredible. 3 scallops that had been caramelized on the outside served alongside purple fingerling potatoes that were soft and tasty and over the dish was a cream sauce with pancetta. The different flavors and textures just exploded in your mouth. Someone else had the seared foie gras which was gobbled up. The other appetizer which I tasted was one of the most flavorful butter nut squash soups. Thick and mixed with roasted chanterelles. Yum.
The main courses were also good. I had roasted hebi (white fish from Hawaii) seared with sweet corn, swiss chard, tiny mushrooms with a tomato jus over the entire fish. Light and flavorful. Fred had the duck. Crispy slices of medium rare duck breast served with a mixture of fingerling potatoes, elf mushrooms, haricots mixed with a spicy port reduction. Wow. Someone else went with the hanger steak that was served with fried green tomatoes. My favorite. They were delicious. Fried perfectly with a panko crust.
Then dessert. It was a tough decision. We opted for 3 desserts to split. Warm flourless chocolate cake that was shaped like a small round cone that had chocolate dripping from inside when you dove in and small dollops of fresh whipped cream over a zinfandel sauce with infused cherries. Presentation was beautiful. We also had the lemon meringue pot and creme brulee. The creme brulee was rich and creamy. The lemon meringue was tart served in a crispy meringue cup and the key were the candied lemon zest and fresh berries on top.
Now it is late. We can’t get a cab. Transportation is tough there. Renting a car is probably key but we didn’t want to deal with parking at the festival. So, our charming waitress says she’ll give us a lift home. You gotta love it. Debra Hagen, my deepest thanks. She could not have been nicer. She’s lived all over the place. Has a huge heart. Just charming. She hugged each of us when we got to our hotel. She was true Southern hospitality.
If you are in Austin, do not miss Wink. It is a delightful and delicious dining experience.