So, how does Austin’s first downtown restaurant keep things fresh after fifteen years? By keeping what's working and reinventing a small part of itself. Example: Sully’s Side Bar, a new tacos and tequila bar owned by Sullivan's in the former Ringside space, set to open August 31.
The kitchen, led by Executive Chef Carlos Garcia, is turning out authentic Mexican-style cuisine with a focus on what he does best—tacos.
“These are the best tacos in Austin,” proclaimed Garcia, and I can definitely vouch for the El Pescado Del Dia tacos, made with poblano-cilantro marinated seafood, shaved cabbage and habañero-avocado salsa. The day I visited, the chef used grouper that was fresh, moist and meaty. The Brisket tacos, made with adobo-marinated brisket and served with pickled red onion and cilantro, were also show-stoppers. Another not-to-miss menu item is the Smokey Guacamole, Chef Garcia’s signature recipe, made with smoked gouda and served with sweet potato chips.
The bar features a wide variety of tequilas, beers by the bottle or on tap and signature cocktails. A standout cocktail is the True Austin Daiquiri. Forget what you know about the fruity, frozen daiquiris that are usually served poolside; this is an authentic daiquiri made with local Treaty Oak Rum, simple syrup, fresh lime juices and garnished with jalapeños for a kick. It's tangy and reminiscent of a well-done Mexican Martini, sans olive juice.
For the more adventurous, try the side shots like the El Corazon made with Agavales Silver Tequila and pomegranate, blood orange and passion fruit juices. These are served shot-style, but don't hesitate to sip in order to savor the flavorful juices.
The space is light and bright with large retractable glass doors, allowing fresh air in when the weather permits. Sully's describes itself as a quick and casual place, but the atmosphere made me want to get comfortable and stay awhile, choosing between the communal-style tables, leather booths or a flat-screen equipped bar (perfect for the upcoming football season). Look for details on a new happy hour coming soon.