Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, 9/15/10 - Auden's Kitchen

Date: 9/15/10
Restaurant: Auden's Kitchen
Location: 700 E. Sonterra, down Stone Oak off of 1604
Executive Chef: Bruce Auden, of Biga on the Banks

Okay I have a confession. I can't pull the wool over your eyes any longer. We haven't been dining on Tuesdays for the past month...all the dates are Wednesdays. But I refuse to change the very nice name of my blog just because Tavis is rehearsing with the Unitarian church choir on Tuesdays! So I will just ask you to all ignore the reality that says that the 1st, 8th and 15th are actually Wednesdays. A little suspension of disbelief. Just move past the cognitive dissonance and stare at the sexy food with me.

Now, can we move on? Cuz we have a doozy of a meal here. Hoo boy.

I heard that Bruce Auden had opened up a new restaurant, more casual digs and comfort food than his wildly-praised Biga on the Banks which I hope to visit soon. Auden's Kitchen is what I imagine chefs would flock to after a long day on the line, sliding comfortably next to each other and ordering simple, hearty, delicious food to restore some measure of good feelings about mankind. I am obviously overthinking this, but taste the food and tell me I'm wrong.

One of the draws of Auden's Kitchen is that you can order everything on the menu for takeaway--and not only takeaway, but super fast takeaway. I called in the order--hey it was a long day and I didn't feel like putting on a public face--and was told it'd be ready in 20 minutes! It took considerably longer than that just to get there from our house.

It's considerably larger than this corner indicates. We were NOT expecting that.

Like I said! Way beyond what we pictured. This is lovely, cozy and relaxing. As we entered, we were told that we could pick up our order at the bar. As we approached, we were greeted warmly by the GM, Keith Ludwick--and lest you think I'm exaggerating, I think the exact conversation went something like this:

Keith: Hey, welcome! Come on, sit down over here, want a drink? *gestures towards the bartop, laden with top-shelf spirits*
Me: Uhh, sure! *conveniently forgets about not wanting to put on a public face*

They were in the process of getting their liquor license; they serve a great variety of wines and beers currently and are expanding to spirits as well. Hence the distributor and Keith and their bar o' plenty. They were very pleasant drinking companions as we enjoyed some basil- and balsamic-vinegar-infused gin (except for my designated driver, Tavis!) and then we finally had to take our leave so we could get to the grubbing.

What a lovely greeting! I definitely regretted not doing the meal the traditional way; it would have been a great experience. However, the food stood on its own merit and we can be back to do it right in the future.

So, the meal as boxed up, brought home, and opened for our nomming.

Prepare for the feast!

The best thing of the night, a duck confit pizza with smoked gouda, pine nuts, rosemary, and green grapes. So amazingly delicious. We just kept making "yummy!" noises at each other as we gobbled it down.

SCOTCH EGG. I had never tried one, and the longer I didn't try one, the more mythical status it attained in my mind. Well it was quite tasty, this little fried-sausage-wrapped-egg. His is served with a zesty jalapeno aeoli.

Wood-smoked mushrooms, all sauteed and spreadable on buttered and grilled toast (included separately). Good for people who love mushrooms. The smoky flavor didn't overpower them which was great for me.

Gnocchi, tossed with pulled pork and kale. This dish probably suffered the most from the wait and drive home; the gnocchi had turned pretty gummy in the trip. The pulled pork wasn't quite as tender as I'd hoped either. This may be worth another try in person.

My funky potted chicken and duck rillette, spreadable on crostini. Hey, I love braunschweiger, I admit that I'm a little off the beaten path. So this was right up my alley, although I think I wanted it to be a big twangier, like all good liver and forcemeat products.

The one unremarkable dish of the lot, the creamy chicken pasta. Ho hum, I could do this in my sleep. Not particularly good sleep either.

Finally we have our dessert, Bruce Auden's signature sticky toffee cake.

A plate laden with all the goodies. I am very proud of this plate.

And lookit, I can even make it look pretty! This cake was delicious, rich and sweet and laden with dates and sticky deliciousness. It's an excellent holiday cake. Or anytime cake. Cake for all seasons, really.

Returnability: HIGH. This is one of those menus that I look at and go "yep, I'll take that." Just the whole thing. I loved what I saw and experienced of the restaurant and definitely want to give them a chance in person. Great flavors, a creative menu, very welcoming hosts--yes, we will soon be known on a first-name basis with Auden's Kitchen.


Brian Moon said...

It all sounds good, but I had to stop at the "basil- and balsamic-vinegar-infused gin" and think: would that be good?

I'm thinking it would be, though. Mmmm. Me loves gin.

Also I probably shouldn't be reading your blog this far away from lunchtime.

Megan and Tavis said...

Brian - it WAS good. Extremely smooth, just a hint of savory umami from the balsamic and a very clean herbal finish from the basil. I am normally a sweet alcohol drinker but the occasional foray into Manly Beverages is fun too.