Odd Duck: A Great Place for a Date or to Catch Up with a Friend
Odd Duck was one of the most popular and successful food trailers in Austin during the food truck boom of 2010 to early 2012. It was one of the stops on the Tasty Up Food Trailer Tour that Addie Broyles and I hosted in 2010. Chef Bryce Gilmore closed Odd Duck to focus on his first brick-and mortar restaurant – Barley Swine.
In December, he along with partners Sam Hellman-Mass (chef), Jason James (bar and front-of-house), Mark Buley (chef and bread program), and Dylan Gilmore (brother and business manager) opened Odd Duck as a full-fledged restaurant. While none of the menu items from the trailer appear on the current menu, the food is unmistakably Gilmore’s, with a focus on local ingredients and wood-fired dishes. While the food is similar to that of Barley Swine down the street, the space is much larger and guests order off the menu rather than committing to a multi-course, fixed price meal ($70pp for 14 courses).
The chefs go to the Farmer’s Markets every Saturday to find ingredients to feature in the ever-changing menu, and farmers also visit the restaurant throughout the week to drop off their latest harvests. They try to make everything in-house that they can, including fresh butter, and limit ingredients that are not local to some of the pantry items. Most dishes are cooked in a wood-burning oven or on the grill, using oak.
If you go to Odd Duck, its recommended that you order 5-8 dishes to share with one other person, and more or less depending on your level of hunger and how many people are in your party. The first time that Adam and I went, we each had a beer – they have a great selection of local beers on tap – and then shared about six dishes before leaving pleasantly full and with wonderful memories of our meal.
We sat at the bar, which I recommend, because it’s fun to watch the cooks prepare the food on the wood stoves. I loved everything we ordered, and definitely recommend trying one of their bread dishes, and then anything else on the menu that strikes your fancy. You really can’t go wrong. One thing to keep in mind is that the dishes are small, and if you are in a larger group, you might want to order duplicates of popular dishes so that everyone can have a bite.
I stopped in to chat with Bryce about plans for the restaurant, and he told me that they will open for lunch (weekdays only for now) starting this Monday, Feb. 3. The lunch menu will be similar to the dinner menu, with some additions, like sandwiches. They hope to soon be open later so they they can offer a late night menu but their current license only allows them to serve alcohol until midnight. There are also plans in the works for weekend brunch.
What to Order: The food menu is always changing, but the drinks are a little more stable. I’d recommend trying a beer you’ve never had before, or a moscow mule on tap. Be sure to order a bread dish. I’ve had the pretzels with ham, cheese, and mustard, and the parker house rolls with pig head, and loved them both. Some of my favorite dishes are the carrots roasted in hay, rutabaga gratin with braised cow tongue, chicken fried chicken egg, grilled quail, and goat rolled in pasta.
The desserts, created by pastry chef Susana Querejazu will change every two weeks. The first time we went, we enjoyed some amazing macarons filled with ice cream, and on our last visit, loved the almond tart with meyer lemon curd.
Address: 1201 S. Lamar Blvd. 78704
Hours of Operation: Sunday through Thursday (5pm-10 pm); Friday and Saturday (5 pm -11pm)
Takes Reservations: Yes: http://oddduckaustin.com/reservations
Parking: Complimentary Valet or free parking on the street. If you valet, remember to bring a few dollars for tip.
Happy Hour: Monday to Friday from 5pm – 6pm – offering 25% off bottles of wine and large beers, $1 off glasses of wine, wells, draft moscow mule, and frozen orange ritas, and $.50 off draft and small beers.
This post is part of the 2014 Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide.Tags: Austin City Guide, barley swine, bryce gilmore, farmer's market, local, odd duck