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By Tom Thornton | May 27, 2015 | Food & Drink
Where to go and what to order to enjoy the best of around-the-clock gastronomy.
The scene: As Sixth Street recovers from the previous night, Easy Tiger’s bakery rises early with locally roasted coffee and fresh, flaky pastries. Our favorite is the Danish snail, made from layered dough, spiced with cardamom, and rolled with rum-plumped raisins and cinnamon sugar.
Try: Danish snail, pain au chocolat, macchiato. 709 E. Sixth St., 512-614-4972
The scene: The porches at Elizabeth Street are ideal for South First people-watching over breakfast. Graphic designs from MODA make the menus and matchbooks a visual appetizer for its bright French-Vietnamese fare. Flavors are impeccably fresh, but spicing is done with a light hand on dishes such as the breakfast bành mí. The delectable pastries include macarons, beignets, and éclairs. We suggest the specialties section of the menu as a personal favorite.
Try: Crispy vermicelli cakes with pork belly, sticky rice with ginger sausage and poached eggs, Vietnamese coffee. 1501 S. First St., 512-291-2881
The scene: Michael Hsu’s garden courtyard of yellow tiles and picnic tables is idyllic in late spring. Chef Alexis Chong’s flavors are bold and assertive: The jungle curry with Texas wagyu and red chili will make your eyes water. Cool the heat with the housebrewed kombucha (from Austin’s Kosmic), or the jelly beer, a Singha specially cooled to produce a delightful slushy consistency.
Try: Prawn miange, Son-in- Law pork shoulder and egg, Singha jelly beer. 1417 S. First St., 512-326-1999
The scene: A huge outdoor patio leads to a small, lovely coffee shop full of natural wood, curated craft beers, and Stumptown Coffee. The converted former neighborhood nursery also hosts the popular Veracruz trailer, which serves some of Austin’s finest migas and fish tacos. Collectively, the duo makes a fine mid-afternoon pick-me-up (or an indulgent early happy hour).
Try: Stumptown nitro cold brew, migas tacos, fish tacos. 4208 Manchaca Road, 512-394-7844
The scene: Hidden just below the Four Seasons lobby, this recently refreshed wine bar is a time-tested gem. Happy hour menu prices are attractive, and a new cocktail list complements the generous wine selection. Pair a Spanish Albariño with tuna tostadas, or for heartier fare, try the antelope sliders with a Portuguese red.
Try: Tuna tostadas, antelope sliders, Casa Ferreirinha Touriga Nacional. 98 San Jacinto Blvd., 512-685-8300
The scene: Eric Silverstein became a food truck sensation by artfully marrying foods from his Tokyo-via-Atlanta youth, and his Asian-Southern dishes taste more expensive than their pricing. Although the trailers still exist, the new brick-and-mortar restaurant has become immensely popular. The toothsome brisket is a perfect match for chow fun noodles with kale and onions in the dish called Southern Fun. A Thai Chop Chop salad delights with crunchy peanuts and apple, Fresno chile spice, and complexity from fish caramel sauce.
Try: Southern Fun, Asian Movie Night, Rye Maple Fizz. 5520 Burnet Road, No. 100, 512-330-4439
The scene: Merriment abounds at this modern Southern hot spot, as a bustling bar crowd sips on whiskey drinks while awaiting a coveted table. Fixe gets the small things right: The biscuits and sweet-tea pickles are musts for your table, as are herbivore grits with romesco and salsa verde. The snapper entrée (in a hot-and-sour nage broth) is a particularly thoughtful plate.
Try: Blackened red snapper, puffed and cooked grains; Honey Badger. 500 W. Fifth St., 512-888-9133
The scene: A chef favorite for after-hours downtime, Justine’s excels via simplicity. The execution here is a marvel: These are French classics done without pretense or embellishment. Wines are French and reasonably priced, with helpful sensory descriptors like “leather,” “thyme,” and even “fierce.” Revisiting old favorites is a sure bet— the French onion soup is beyond reproach.
Try: Sauced steak frites, côtes de porc, Marie Duffau Hors D’Age Bas Armagnac. 4710 E. Fifth St., 512-385-2900
The scene: Tourists and students rub elbows with the likes of Andy Roddick at Drew Curren’s modern classic, 24 Diner. Grab an espresso milkshake to pair with fried chicken and Belgian waff les, if you feel indulgent, or tread more lightly with a delicate veggie frittata topped with arugula. While alcohol isn’t available at this time of night, try the thoughtful wines by the glass when you visit during earlier hours.
Try: Chicken and waff le, veggie hash, milkshakes. 600 N. Lamar Blvd., 512-472-5400
The scene: For 35 years, Kerbey Lane Cafe has thrived in an ever-changing Austin. Its adoption of seasonal menus, local sourcing, and vegan and gluten-free options have kept KLC relevant and loved. The café offers perhaps the greatest no-decision breakfast in town: Order the Paris Texas dish for French toast and migas, served on two plates. The spring “Tomato” menu is a treat—grab the tomato pie if it hasn’t sold out.
Try: The Paris Texas plate eggs Francisco, cappuccino. Multiple locations, including its original at 3704 Kerbey Lane, 512-451-1436
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JODY HORTON (EASY TIGER, SWAY, 24 DINER); REAGAN HACKLEMAN (RADIO). COURTESY OF FOUR SEASONS HOTEL AUSTIN (TRIO); KNOXY KNOX (FIXE); COURTNEY CHAVANELL (JUSTINE’S); CARLI KIENE (PEACHED TORTILLA)