Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I love you but I've chosen tres leches: Urban, An American Grill.

This past Saturday, Ross and I took ourselves out for a fancy meal at Urban, An American Grill.  They were doing that "Love Is In The Mix" mixology night, and since I made such a big deal out of a restaurant here doing one of those, we figured, what the heck?  Let's try it out!

(PS, just so we're clear:  "Urban, An American Grill" is the restaurant's full name.  I'm not trying to clarify it for you after the comma, like ... "Chilis, A Southwestern Chain Restaurant" or "Luby's, A Retirement Home Favorite."  For ease of posting though, I shall hereby shorten it to simply "Urban" from here on out.)

On the drinks side, we started things out demurely enough.  Just two glasses of pink champagne, please!

Then, we were handed the cocktail menu.

This is how things progressed:

Soon, we were totally surrounded by alcohol.

Now miraculously, I managed to remain relatively sober throughout the whole meal.  Because on some level, I realized that I wanted to come home and write this restaurant review for you.  Wasn't that considerate of me?   What a tough job it was, too, eating seven chef-prepared dishes -- three of which were dessert.

My beloved Avocado Tres Leches, topped with sun-dried tomato crème fraiche.

Saffron Semifreddo, with lavender brittle and candied olive pieces.

There were three desserts ... but the chocolate one got eaten by me in 0.2 seconds by the others before I could snap a picture.

We must have been in a seafood mood, because we ordered three different types of ocean-dwelling creature.

Urban's scallops are deeply satisfying: Slightly crunchy on the outside and browned just right, meaty and rich when you bite in.

Oysters are always the way you can tell if the kitchen is sourcing properly.  Do they use reliable vendors?  You'll know quickly after the customers eat their oysters.

My favorite way to eat oysters is to pick them out with a fork, dab them on a saltine and add a little hot sauce.  I can't remember what I did that night (note abundant cocktail photos above), but I do remember I licked my lips as they went down.

This snapper was divine, but the beet risotto even better.  Is someone reading my mind and its attendant obsession with beets?  Better yet, may I flatter myself into thinking that the chefs of Austin are reading my blog?  If so, welcome chefs!  And KEEP COOKING BEETS.  I LOVE THEM.

Now if you're not careful, risotto can become one of two things: Either too rich or too salty.  Rice just begs us to make it a little more sexy, and oils, plus sodium, are the easiest ways to accomplish that.

But beets -- my beets! -- are sugary.  They added an element of sweetness to this side dish that I had never tasted in risotto before, and I made Ross promise that he would attempt to cook this some day.

This last dish has the best name of all-time: Steak and Beggar's Purse.  Beggar's Purse!!  I can't believe I'm just now hearing of this.  Apparently it's very traditional.  It sounds like rustic Ireland.  

You can't see it here, but the steak was served on top of banana polenta, which won Ross's MPV Dinner vote.  Depending on how you prepare it, polenta often has a cornbread quality, but this was almost like a creamy pudding. 

Our server told us the banana is primarily used as a textural, and not a taste, element in the recipe.  She was right: You can't detect the banana on your taste buds, but you know that something, something has smoothed out polenta's natural grit.  It's delicious.

We like to play with our food (and drinks).

Thank you for feeding us, Urban!


kellynD said...

I love your food reviews! They make me want to try new foods, even if it's something I'm afraid to try (candied olive pieces??)! What are the prices like at Urban?

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@KellynD -- Aw, thank you Kelly! :D Urban prices are actually not bad. I'd say dinner = $20 - $35, depending on if you order a drink or not.

Anonymous said...

Ok YUM-O!!! As Rachael Ray would say. I have never been to Urban but am willing to brave the Domain to go there!!! Was that ur first time?

Also you are so pretty!!!!!!! And where did you get that scarf??