Just for the halibut

Former Uchiko chef makes a splash with anticipated North Lamar seafood eatery and raw bar

Former Uchiko chef makes a splash with new North Lamar seafood eatery

Guild ATX ocean trout
An ocean trout dish from chef Sterling Riding's kitchen. Photo courtesy of Guild
Guild ATX chess pie
This ain't Grandma's chess pie. Photo by Elizabeth Van Huffel
Guild ATX oysters
Oysters from the extensive raw bar. Photo by Elizabeth Van Huffel
Guild ATX ocean trout
Guild ATX chess pie
Guild ATX oysters

The hospitality group behind Austin favorites Swift’s Attic and Wu Chow are adding another jewel to their crown. Guild, the much anticipated restaurant helmed by noted local chef Sterling Ridings, will celebrate its grand opening on March 9, according to a release.

Fittingly for the former executive chef of Uchiko, the new Chameleon Company concept will focus primarily on seafood. A large raw bar will anchor the menu, offering a variety of East Coast oysters and clams. Crudo and ceviche will also be available, including a mackerel served in an apple and chamomile broth with serrano ham and almond butter, and a zesty ceviche in a Thai lime and cucumber soup with Morita chili and avocado.

On the cooked side, Ridings and his team (sous chefs Hannah Yerby, Mike Warnock, and Ben Savage, and pastry chef Monica Glenn Sullivan) experiment with a wide variety of seafood preparations including a rustic sunflower porridge served with a soft scramble and a pan roasted prawn; halibut with confit broccoli, Montpellier butter, and deviled black trumpet mushrooms; and octopus with seaweed tapenade, hearts of palm, and breakfast radish.

Landlubbers needn’t despair, however. For the seafood-averse, options include a meaty pork tomahawk for two, and a lavender chicken served with Dauphine potatoes, whipped schmaltz, and clover-like oxalis. A handful of vegetable dishes, like cauliflower with curried raisin and thyme, round out the menu.

Sullivan’s small dessert menu ends the meal decadently with a chess pie topped with buttermilk gelato, a rich opera cake with a sweet potato crémeux, and a cardamom pavlova with citrus ice. A pair of dessert drinks make suitable companions: Bourbon is Dessert (amaro, Giffard Vanille de Madagascar, Basil Hayden Bourbon, cream) and Walnut Rum Ball (Mt. Gay Black Barrel, Nux Alpina walnut liqueur, Giffard créme de cacao, cream).

The rest of the cocktail list by beverage director Jeff Hammett leans towards lighter flavors like an apricot daiquiri with hopper grapefruit bitters; a simple Grapp-Aspro with luzardo grappa, lemon juice, and egg white; and Strawtichoke, which takes its name from fresh strawberries and Italian artichoke liqueur Cynar. Sommelier Lindsay Drew’s wine program is versatile, featuring a wide variety of by the glass options and mostly Italian, French, Californian, and Washington State bottles.

Designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture and LFI Design, the space at 3800 N. Lamar Blvd. is a contemporary take on coastal design with light woods providing an airy feel (the large windows help, too). The space includes two large patios, a private dining room, and urban garden, and even a shuffleboard court.

Beginning March 9, Guild will be open for dinner Tuesday-Thursday, 5-10 pm; Friday-Saturday, 5-11 pm; and Sunday, 5-10 pm.