Award-winning chef Bryce Gilmore and his team quietly opened their second restaurant in mid-December, bringing back the casual fare from his much-beloved Odd Duck trailer into a brick-and-mortar restaurant on South Lamar. The bright, open space is the inviting, relaxed hangout spot to sister restaurant Barley Swine’s more intimate, structured experience.
“The food is definitely more on the rustic side with that elevation of flavors and small plates, which is what we were doing at Odd Duck [trailer] originally, and so far the reception as been great,” said General Manager Jason James.
Odd Duck's menu reflects chef Bryce Gilmore’s commitment to using fresh, local ingredients from area farms and food artisans.
The menu reflects Gilmore’s commitment to using fresh, local ingredients from area farms and food artisans. Dishes highlighting beets, broccoli and sweet potatoes aren’t add-on sides, but stars in their own right, as interesting and complex as the dishes featuring meat or fish. Even with the rustic approach, each dish reflects a careful balancing of flavors, such as pairing earthy, roasted beets with briny olives and rich chocolaty mole on goat rolled in pasta with pickled butternut squash.
The kitchen excels at creatively using what some might consider throw-away ingredients. The bread is made from the leftover grains from the brewing process of local Hops & Grains Brewery. The whipped cream on the coffee cocktail uses the beer from the soaking liquid for the peanuts in the sweet potato dish.
Odd Duck offers a few new twists on its menu, including large plate entrees with more ample portions and a full bar. The craft cocktails, like the food, focus on seasonal ingredients with such drinks as the warm and spicy Coffee Draaank, Orange Margarita and Peas and Carrots. Not to be outdone by the kitchen stuff, the bar staff is adding their own handmade, innovative touches, including making their own ginger beer for the Moscow Mule and infusing Bulleit Rye Whiskey with cinnamon syrup, thereby creating the Odd Ball.
The seasonal menu means frequent changes — a few of the items changed within a week of my two visits — which keeps things interesting for both the kitchen and diners. “As the seasons change and we run out of, say carrots, we keep the dish, but substitute other ingredients until eventually, that dish completely goes away,” says James. “It creates this waterfall effect, if you will, and the whole menu over the course of a couple of months will morph into something different.”
Even with its laid-back vibe, Odd Duck offers some important amenities that make it easier to enjoy. The restaurant is open every evening, guests can make reservations on Open Table and complimentary valet parking is available so that you don’t have to scour South Lamar for a parking spot.
The larger space also affords the team the luxury of hosting special events. James said they are considering hosting a Super Bowl party and already have special festivities in the works for Valentine’s Day.
From the menu to the atmosphere and service, Chef Gilmore and his team have given Austin food enthusiasts something to celebrate.