The long-awaited reincarnation of the legendary Green Pastures restaurant opened its doors on March 1. After Austin developer Greg Porter and partner Jeff Trigger, founder and president of La Corsha Hospitality Group, acquired the historic property in July 2015, the team spent 13 months restoring the 1893 home and surrounding gardens. They renamed the new incarnation of the restaurant after one of the home’s original owners, Martha “Mattie” Miner Faulk, whose daughter opened Green Pastures in 1946.
Overall, Mattie's is welcoming, fresh, and bright. The porch and patio are lovely spots to enjoy dinner or drinks — hopefully they’ll turn down the volume on their well-curated playlist to highlight the peaceful surrounds. The team sourced antiques and furniture that seem to have always been part of the home, with the exception of the mismatched midcentury living room pieces in the upstairs lounge, which seem oddly out of place.
Oh, but the exquisite peacock wallpaper lining the walls of the adjacent bar will transport visitors to another era. Try one of beverage director Jason Stevens’ takes on classic cocktails like the Green Pastures Julep, made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, peach-rooibos brandy, and spearmint, and the Bacchus Cup, blending ginger and scarlet hibiscus cordial; grüner veltliner; cucumber; herbs; and your choice of vodka, blanco tequila, or Pimm’s #1 over crushed ice.
As usual, La Corsha has assembled an all-star team to oversee daily operations, including chef Joshua Thomas, purchasing director Valerie Broussard, and wine director Paula Rester. Broussard is tasked with sourcing all-natural poultry and meat, sustainably sourced seafood, fresh local produce, and hormone-free dairy for the kitchen to use. In a press release, the team states that these ingredients will be used “in dishes inspired by regional and historical influences are the hallmarks of Mattie’s cuisine.” Upon first taste, however, the menu seems to lean on global flavors with intense seasoning.
We loved the Dewberry Hills chicken liver pate, served with toasted baguette, pickled shallots, and a lightly sweet fennel and apple chutney, and really enjoyed the Middle Eastern touch in the roasted rainbow carrots, nicely charred over a cashew-chili creme, and topped with sesame crumble and lightly dressed arugula. The crispy cauliflower side dish spiked with Thai bird chile slices, tamarind barbecue sauce, and shaved scallions doubles as a perfect starter.
From the entrees we chose the Dewberry Hills fried chicken, cooked to crispy-juicy perfection and matched with a silky potato purée, pickled onions, and baby spinach with chipotle-yogurt dressing, the flavor of which was too strong for the delicate greens. We were heavily enticed by the Tender Belly bone-in pork chop with avocado crème, shaved squash, and grilled okra, but sadly the strong spicing all but masked the flavor of the tender, juicy meat. Not that we're not adventurous, but we’d wished for something more traditional to match the classic atmosphere and intent of the concept.
Make sure to save room for dessert, because the bourbon pecan bread pudding and the unique cardamom rice crème, featuring coconut milk, passion fruit purée, and toasted pistachios, are must-tries. When it comes to choosing your wine, put yourself in Rester’s hands. She is one of Austin's most accomplished sommeliers, and she never never disappoints.