Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wednesday, 2/29/12 - Feast

Date: 2/29/12
Restaurant: Feast
Location: 1024 South Alamo St (King William district)
Executive Chef: Stefan Bowers

Hi kids! Didja miss me? I missed you. I haven't missed many meals, but they have come and gone unphotographed and unremarked, so you're going to have to take my word for it. Regardless, a new year, a new batch of eateries, and the same willing cohort/accomplice/sidekick/flunky/husband!

Today's delicious entry is brought to you by a word that doesn't exist in the English language. It is a Georgian word (the country, not the state, if that needed clarification) and the word is "shemomedjamo." It means "to eat past the point of being full just because the food tastes good," and it very well be the most succinct summary of my life. Well, at least my life last night.

Feast is "new American with a Mediterranean flair," if you are to believe their website. (Believe it.) It's also hip, food-forward, and in the ultra-trendy King William district about two blocks away from the Overtime Theater and Blue Star Brewery and all that First Friday artsy musicky goodness. Parking is free along the adjacent neighborhood streets and that's fine by me! A lovely evening stroll is just the thing to whet an appetite. Or burn off a fraction of the too many calories consumed.

Welcome to Feast!

Everything was very hip and modern and transparent, which I guess is "in." Fortunately (somewhat; they were all very attractive!) the waitstaff didn't carry the motif to their clothing. The bar was also transparent...but with neon! That's called "layers." (It probably isn't.)

Anyway, the menu for Feast is artistic in its own right. It is broken up into categories: Hot, Chilled, Grilled, Crispy, Melted and Mains. Basically everything but Mains are small plates, tapas-style, meant to be shared or hoarded as you like. I went in with the very modest expectation of selecting three things, encouraging Tavis to select three things that I also wanted to get and making him share them with me. IT WAS SO HARD. I might have been able to select three things I DIDN'T want!

Alas, stomach space is limited and I wanted an excuse to come back, so we found six items and stuck with them. Aaaaaaaaaand may I remind you of the word of the day, shemomedjamo! You'll understand why soon enough.

Delicious, delicious little pork cheek street tacos on masa tortillas. I think it was cotija cheese on top, and a little bit of red onion and (blech) cilantro. These were so sweet and succulent. What a way to start the meal.

Slightly hard to see through the foliage, 7 spice barbacoa tacos with a garlic yogurt sauce, more red onion, (blech) cilantro, and a slice of jalapeno. Even with the jalapeno set off to the side, these packed some heat. Too much for the Tavis, so I downed the rest and grinned through my sweat. Another beautiful and juicy offering, plus these were discounted for happy hour! Score!

Tavis picked the quail, served atop braised kale (hehehe quail and kale) in an oxtail broth. The quail is REALLY pepper-crusted, and on a bird with not that much meat, it was a little disconcerting. I just didn't find the harmony in this dish. But the greens drenched in broth were really tasty.

MAC AND CHEESE. This was done so well. Simple, no unusual cheese, but pasta was cooked perfectly, the bechamel was rich and decadent, the garlicky bread crumb topping was the perfect crispy counterbalance, and....I feel like I'm forgetting something....

Oh yeah. The ridiculous gooey cheese.

Okay, I'm a sucker for offal. You tell me there's sweetbreads, I'm gonna order me some sweetbreads. "Imagine it's like ribeye crossed with a scallop," I instructed Tavis as he prepared a forkful. He still didn't care for the texture. Oh well, more of this for me! The mustard sauce was a classic and very successful pairing, especially with the little sauteed cherry tomatoes for sweetness, and I love the perfect crisp on the outside of the sweetbreads. Might not order this one again though.

This was the only misstep of the entire night, and it was well-intentioned. I listened to myself ordering four meat dishes, and succumbed to the little voice of guilt which told me "Maybe you should get a vegetable too." Silly little voice! Velociraptors don't need spinach.

Plus this was spinach gratin, which means it was essentially swimming in the same bechamel/bread crumb mix that had made the mac n cheese so successful. Who needs green things when you can have mac n cheese? Oof. Sadly we tried to consume our mistake and silence the guilty little voice, and, well, shemomedjamo. Shemomedjamo shemomedjamo shemomedjamo. And a much-needed waddle back to our car before driving home.

Summary, or recap, or overview, or whatever word I used to have here: Feast is a darling little restaurant and I am definitely coming back. The servers were so much friendlier than the chic stylish decor would indicate; the prices were so much more reasonable than the sleek upscale menu would indicate; and everything was darn tasty. Darn tasty, I say. I have the overwhelming urge to try practically everything on this menu, and I rarely feel that way about a restaurant. If you haven't been here yet, please do yourself a favor and make the trip. But please don't feel the need to repeat my shemomedjamo.