Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.
Fresh off the fins of Plank Seafood Provisions, its recently opened oyster bar and seafood grill located at the Domain, prolific seafood-focused Flagship Restaurant Group has brought its popular Blue Sushi Sake Grill concept to Austin. With gorgeous sushi displays sure to tempt even the most exacting sushi lover, the 15th iteration of this Omaha-headquartered concept also brings to the Domain a variety of creative dishes, including coconut crab soup, all-natural tenderloin served on sizzling rocks, and the brand’s signature tuna tower, in addition to unique cocktail offerings like the Far East Mary with herb-infused vodka. What’s more, the new restaurant will also feature an in-house partnership with Ivan Ramen — an in-demand takeout and delivery concept spearheaded by New York City and Tokyo culinary icon and Chef's Table star Ivan Orkin. Blue Sushi Sake Grill is open daily for lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday from 11 am–10 pm, Friday from 11 am–11 pm, Saturday from noon–11 pm, and Sunday from noon–10 pm. Additionally, consumers who are based near Blue Sushi Sake Grill Austin, located at 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, will be able order Ivan Ramen for takeout and delivery by visiting IvanRamen.com.
If you’re craving some refined Italian cuisine, you’re in luck. After more than a year of remaining closed, Mueller neighborhood gem L’Oca d’Oro will reopen on Thursday, May 6 for outdoor dining. Inspired by summertime at Italy’s Lake Garda, the outdoor dining experience includes a new plant- and umbrella-adorned deck with tables spaced 6 feet apart. The a la carte menu will feature seasonal takes on L’Oca d’Oro house-made favorites and be offered alongside Chef Fiore Tedesco’s Choice, which will include several dishes not available a la carte. Of course, you’ll want to pair these delicious bites with a selection from L’Oca d’Oro’s impressive wine list or opt for one of the restaurant’s expertly made cocktails. While you should always be generous when tipping your server, L’Oca d’Oro is also championing its hospitality workers by adding a 20 percent hospitality charge to each check in order to guarantee its entire staff a living wage, direct primary care, paid sick leave, and mental-health counseling.
East Austin is getting a new globally inspired restaurant and wine bar courtesy of some well-traveled talent. New from husband-and-wife chef duo Arjav Ezekiel and Tracy Malechek: Birdie’s, an approachable neighborhood gathering space serving seasonal American fare with influences from France and Italy. Veteran hospitality-industry workers, Delhi-born Ezekiel and H-Town native Malechek met while working at Danny Meyer’s Untitled restaurant at the Whitney Museum in New York. Alongside their elevated yet comfortable food menu, this power couple’s operation will serve a small beer list, both low-ABV and nonalcoholic cocktails, and offer a curated wine menu that will change along with Austin’s often unpredictable seasonal weather. Birdie’s is located at 2944 E. 12 St. and it tentatively set to open in June.
Other news and notes
One historic east side eatery is getting an exciting yet familiar taste of the bayou thanks to its latest hire. Hillside Farmacy — which resides in a building that during the 1950s housed a neighborhood drug store and years later became home to the lauded Gene’s New Orleans Style Poboys & Deli — announced chef Tony Henderson as its latest acquisition. A decorated culinary artist, Henderson plans to revamp the iconic Austin restaurant’s menu, teasing a return to the farm-to-table establishment’s NOLA roots. No doubt the right chef for the job, Henderson has an expansive resume that boasts a post-Culinary-Institute stint at Stella and Stanley restaurants in New Orleans, as well as work experience at such James Beard Award-winning and -nominated restaurants as Cochon, Calcasieu and The Country Club in the Bywater. Hillside Farmacy is currently open Wednesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner service, as well as weekend brunch. The restaurant offers both contactless ordering and indoor and patio dining service.
Roaming gangs of baby goats will be awaiting your cuddles at spacious outdoor music venue The Far Out Lounge on Saturday, May 8. What’s that? You haven’t heard enough already? Fine, here’s more info: The all-day event, titled Farm Out Fest, will bring the aforementioned baby goats along with a mini market from local food justice org Farmshare Austin. Plus, there will be live music from local musicians Jomo and the Possum Posse, Lost Pines, and Walker Lukens. The event’s specialty drink will be an effervescent Tito’s Vodka cocktail featuring fresh basil from Farmshare Austin. (All month long, Tito’s will donate $1 to Farmshare Austin for each cocktail sold, up to $1,000.) Farm Out Fest is set to run from noon-5 pm on May 8, with baby goat cuddling available from 1:30-2:30 pm. Pre-sale tickets run $20 and can be purchased online. Tickets at the door will be $25. Kids can attend for free.
Combine Austin’s culinary and business elite with legendary sport stars and you get … a masterfully blended bourbon? Created by football icon Peyton Manning, tennis legend and occasional Austinite Andy Roddick, and sports commentator Jim Nantz, along with local CEOs Tom Nolan of Kendra Scott and Tiff Treat’s Leon Chen, Sweetens Cove Bourbon is the latest must-have liquor creation to hit Texas shelves. But it’s not just star power that’s elevating this bev. Blended under the watchful eye of Kentucky’s first female master distiller, Marianne Eaves, this complex libation blends several spirits of various ages for a mature, one-of-a-kind tasting experience. It’s now available statewide at most major retailers. The 25,000 bottles released last week across the Texas, Tennessee, and George markets each carry a $200 price tag and are sure to become valuable collector’s items among any bourbon aficionado lucky enough to get their hands on a handle of their own.