Every once in a while, a restaurant comes along that’s just magic. From the decor to the staff to the food, everything is pitch perfect, and our experience at Lenoir was just that – magic. I had been wanting to eat here since it opened but had never had the chance and then, some little magazine called Bon Appetit named it one of the top restaurants in the country making it even harder to get in.
So, we made a reservation a month in advance to celebrate the end of my second trimester (we are almost through our third – so yes, this post has been a long time coming!) and finally got to go. The Pie Society team worked down the street from what this restaurant used to be, an old run down house that was in need of a serious facelift. I remember walking by and viewing the progress thinking “what a charming little place that’s going to be” and oh my goodness, it is. The restauarant is well, the size of small house and I believe you are eating in the old living room/dining room. The entire room is painted black which you think would make it feel even smaller but actually, it just makes it feel comfy and cozy. I loved the bar area which was bright white against the dark black with weathered woods and Alice in Wonderland styled signs and decor. The whole place actually has a whole Alice in Wonderland style whimsy and charm to it.
Now to the even better part, the food! Also with a touch of whimsy to it but with seriously balanced, tickle your tastebuds flavor. The menu is unique in that you can get three courses for $35.00 and an extra course for $10.00. You have a choice between Field, Sea, Land and Dream. We couldn’t decide at all so just went hog wild; you’re shocked I’m sure.
We chose Cucumber and Tomato Salad with sorrel, gribiche and whole wheat flatbread from Field; Toasted shrimp ravioli with okra, shisito peppers and tasso sauce and poha-crusted fish with butternut dashi broth, seaweed salad and corn from Sea; Crispy Rabbit Terrine with butternut, arugula and pickled pear salad and Red Curry Goat with watermelon, goat feta and crepe from Land; and finally, Honeyed Figs, ginger ice cream, toasted marshmallow, malted chocolate crumble and Johnny Cake, butternut puree, fresh corn and honey and shaved Italian piave from Dream. Hungry yet?
Everything was amazingly good and as I mentioned earlier – perfectly balanced. It’s funny you don’t really hear that remark very much but when something is cooked so well and to perfection, you notice and it helps you appreciate the locally-sourced ingredients that much more. There was nothing fussy or overdone about them, just straight up flavor that knocked a power punch with each round. Our favorites had to be the terrine and the goat but everything, I repeat everything, was so delicious I’m still thinking about it almost two months later.
Finally, the staff and service were pitch perfect. They were attentive without being overbearing and answered all of our questions and had great recommendations. I hope Lenoir is one of those Austin restaurants that is with us for eternity – it’s that good.