Saturday, January 10, 2015

Austin's Qui ~ by Top Chef Texas winner Paul Qui

While in Austin I had the opportunity to dine at Paul Qui's restaurant that has received so much acclaim and now I know why.

Chef Paul Qui
If you haven't seen Chef Qui on television, you may not have heard of his food trucks and restaurants. He is however a great and highly decorated young chef. He was the recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest 2012, winner of Top Chef Season 9, and winner of the San Pellegrino Cooking Cup 2013. He was named one of Food & Wine magazine's 2014 Best New Chefs and when you taste his Asian-inspired dishes you'll understand why.

Small Dishes ~ Big Flavor
Chef Qui was born in the Philippines and trained in classic French and Japanese cuisine, but he takes a modern approach to food that includes the local flavors of Texas, while while incorporating influences from South East Asian and European cuisines. The dishes served at Qui ranged from fantastic flavor combinations like coconut vinegar, back pepper, chicken adobo, tomato fresco, and black limes (that's one dish) to pork blood, maitake mushroom, purslane, picked garlic, and red onion (another dish).

Finishing Touches Applied with Tweezers Tableside
At Qui you have only two options, vegetarian or animal protein. Once you select you receive seven small but tantalizing courses with or without wine pairing. Of course I had the wine. Great selections! My favorite dish was the fish caramel, smoked waygu short rib with cowgirl creamery red hawk cheese , hakuri turnips and tamarind. The dessert of coconut fig caramel, goat milk ice cream, huckleberries and coffee cashew semifreddo was also divine!

Scrumptious Dessert
The atmosphere is casual and the day we were there the weather was nice enough to open the restaurant to the outdoor east-side Austin eclectic neighborhood. Prices were also quite reasonable for such a well prepared meal using only the finest ingredients. $65 per person, or $110 with wine pairing for the animal protein menu. $10 less for the vegetarian.

Casual Atmosphere
If you find yourself in Austin and tire of the (also very good) barbecue, then step it up and enjoy dinner at Qui. You'll be glad you did!

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