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Where to eat right now: A guide to weekly specials at top Austin restaurants

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Austin Photo Set: News_Beth_Lenoir Austin_june 2012_1
Lenoir's Sunday Supper is a four-course chef's selection for $40. Jody Horton Courtesy of Lenoir Austin
Little Barrel and Brown fried chicken
Enjoy a picnic at Little Barrel and Brown every Monday. Courtesy of Little Barrel and Brown
Sonya Cote Eden East at Springdale Farms in Austin 4027
Dine al fresco at Eden East on weekends only. Photo by Veronica Meewes
Chef Albert Gonzalez Apothecary Austin
Apothecary serves up farmers market goodies on Saturday nights. Photo by Veronica Meewes
Austin Photo Set: News_Beth_Lenoir Austin_june 2012_1
Little Barrel and Brown fried chicken
Sonya Cote Eden East at Springdale Farms in Austin 4027
Chef Albert Gonzalez Apothecary Austin

The weekly special is now prevalent at some of the city's best dining options. Austin's chefs now use themed dinner nights to experiment with new dishes, offer foods with complex preparation techniques or to cook personal favorites for a crowd of fans.

Below are a selection of over a dozen special nights at some of our favorite restaurants. Regardless of your dining night, there's something new and unusual to try.

Sunday
Lenoir’s Sunday Supper
The menu at Lenoir has always balanced fine dining fare with affordability. The regular three-course option is $40 and allows for diners to choose their options. But on Sundays, the menu choices disappear and the value improves — a four-course chef’s selection is $40. Advance reservations are recommended as the space is quite small.

Paella Night at Vino Vino
This long-running classic is a Hyde Park favorite. At 7 pm sharp, Vino Vino serves paella in a small portion for $10 or an entrée sized plate for $18 until it runs out — which usually happens immediately. Reservations or early arrival are essential due to the specific timing.

LaV Sunday Supper
Chef Allison Jenkins chooses a three-dish meal each week served from 6-9 pm for $40 prix fixe. Crispy chicken confit, grilled octopus and profiteroles are on the initial version of the menu.

Monday
Country Picnic at Little Barrel and Brown

For a fun start to the week, this South Congress newcomer has a new tradition, complete with checkerboard tablecloths and pecan pie. Beginning at 6 pm, guests can partake in a buffet of fried chicken, pulled pork, cornbread, seasonal salads, beans, pickles, potato salad and corn on the cob at a fixed price of $20 for adults and $10 for children. There’s also live music starting around 7 pm. Walk-ins are encouraged.

Kabobs with Rob at qui
Qui’s chef de partie Rob Drennan grills $2 kabobs from 5 - 7 pm for bar patrons, and the bar serves $2 San Miguel to wash them down.

Sicilian pizza at Home Slice Pizza
This Mondays-only special offers patrons thick, airy slices of square pie (the crust is fried in olive oil) for $3.50-$3.75 a slice until sold out.

Tuesday
Prix Fixe at The Hightower
 
A new experiment at the popular East Seventh Street bar, this weekly prix fixe delivers three courses of big flavors for under $20. Recent menus have included appetizers like Brussels sprouts with peanut butter, raisins and sambal, and blistered green beans with honey mustard, farro, leek and mint. There are also two choices of an entrée: last week’s menu had either smoked tofu with sopecitos and huitlacoche or grit-fried chicken thighs with Fresno chiles and orange sauce. Dessert is included.

Steak night at Lucy’s Fried Chicken
A chef’s choice steak and sides are served at market price (often $20). Bonus: the last week of each month is chicken fried steak!

Wednesday
Parkside’s bubbles and oysters
 
A favorite for the downtown work crowd, this long-running night is simple: on Wednesdays only, sparkling wine and oysters are half price. Go with friends and make the mid-week better.

Curry And A Pint Night at Blackbird & Henry
A new favorite for Hyde Park and UT-area residents, the lauded restaurant does a fresh, seasonal curry (chef’s choice) along with a paired pint of beer for $20. Call the restaurant for this week’s dish.

Thursday
Supper Club at Dai Due
 
The brand-new Manor Road restaurant from Jesse Griffiths and Tamara Mayfield is too young for reviews, but the early word has been off-the-charts good. Thursdays at Dai Due feature a set price menu with a ½ Grilled Achiote Chicken main as one of two options. The other entree choice varies weekly based on seasonality and the chef’s selection - this week's menu choice was an attractive-looking Mixed Grill of Marinated Venison, Spicy Grilled Pork Belly, Beef and Caramelized Onion Sausage, and Goat Chop with Grits, Grilled Okra and Tomatoes. The restaurant still serves their regular menu for diners who don't wish to do the supper club selection. Go now before the good reviews increase the wait times, and note that Friday at Dai Due is seafood night.

50 percent off sparkling wine at Fabi + Rosi
A hidden Tarrytown gem, Fabi + Rosi has a fine-dining atmosphere without stratospheric pricing. Take advantage of this with half-price bubbles for a Thursday night date.

Friday
Dining al fresco at Eden East
 
Eden East is only open two nights a week, and as the weather begins to cool, seating will be a tough ticket. Sonya Cotè’s locavore labor of love serves fine ding from a trailer and combines it with both upscale service and the lovely atmosphere of Springdale Farms. With the rapidly changing urban farm codes, this project (unfortunately) may not last forever, so make it a priority to book a table and experience a uniquely Austin night out.

Veracruz All-Natural
The beloved taco joint serves a Barbacoa taco special on Fridays; their neighbor Kerlin BBQ serves beef ribs (both are also available on Saturdays).

Saturday
Farmers Market Dinner at Apothecary
 
Rosedale’s popular Apothecary has an army of regulars due to solid happy hours, creative cooking and reasonable prices. The newest addition is a Farmers Market Dinner, a Saturday-only shared plate of the best finds from that morning’s market. While the dish can be vegetarian, it can include locally sourced meats as well — everything is dictated by the day’s market selection.

Free bratwurst at The Draught House
An old-school Austin favorite, this neighborhood pub will still give you free sausage to wash down your pint on Saturdays. Newcomers to the pub often make an incredulous expression upon learning of this generous tradition.

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