Odd Duck

Odd doesn't begin to describe the strange combinations of ingredients Jack and I experienced at Odd Duck restaurant last night. After passing by this beautiful glass building over and over on our way downtown, we decided it was about time to give it a try. 

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I learned recently that Odd Duck was one of the first trailers to hit Austin and their popularity eventually made opening a restaurant a necessity. I was pleasantly surprised at the interior decor. From the outside, Odd Duck is the picture of modern architecture surrounded on all sides by glass walls. Once you step inside however, the atmosphere is still modern but with a farm-like twist, lots of wood, neutrals and mason jars filled with a variety of grains line the bar.

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Our incredibly knowledgeable waiter informed us that Odd Duck focuses on small plates. In order to build your meal, you start at the top of the menu, pick a dish and work your way down choosing between three to five plates total. I'll admit it was a painstaking process to choose one dish, let alone three to five. The odd combination of ingredients just didn't seem like they could ever become one cohesive dish. I can't tell you how happy I was to be proven so wrong. We chose 4 separate small plates and were blown away by every single one of them. For those of you who may not be the most adventurous of eaters, I highly suggest visiting Odd Duck, the strangest combinations and yet flavor perfection with every plate.  

For our first dish, we went simple--bread. Sorry I didn't snap a picture of this one. The bread was delicious--hard crust on the outside, perfectly fluffy on the inside. This beer bread loaf was served with in-house cultured butter topped with sea salt. Odd Duck even grows their own yeast for the breads.

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The next dish to arrive featured carrots roasted in hay, chevre and pistachio crumbs. Out of this world, people. The carrots were heirloom variety and in combination with the chevre, they were the best tasting carrots, or vegetable dish of any kind, that I have ever tasted. I highly recommend making this dish one of your selection when visiting Odd Duck. We may not have ordered the carrots if we hadn't been seated at the bar, however, the bar lines the kitchen allowing you to watch the entire food prep and cooking process. When we saw the carrots getting fired on the grill we knew we had to include them in our tasting.

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Our third dish was the Andouille sausage, cornmeal pancake and coffee mayonnaise. Sounds kind of disgusting, right? Coffee mayonnaise...hmmm. This dish arrived with all of the above as well as arugula, sorghum syrup and pieces of egg whites. Jack thinks this may have been the best tasting sausage he has ever eaten. The spice of the sausage, the rich coffee flavors and the grainy cornmeal delivered a glorious explosion of flavors with every bite. Seriously, don't doubt these menu items, the chef knows what he is doing.

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While the sausage plate was Jack's favorite, our last plate was by far my favorite--black olive pasta, braised goat, sage, brussel sprout leaves and parmesan. I'm not 100% sure what the sauce was made up of but it was rich, light and vinegary all at the same time. The olive flavors in the pasta were to die for, a perfect balance to the gamy goat flavor. The braised goat, oh what can I say about the braised goat? I don't know how long they braise the meat, but it literally falls apart in your mouth. Best braised anything I have ever tasted. My apologies for the horrible picture, we were losing daylight.

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Finally, we decided to top off our Odd Duck experience with dessert. We went with the bread pudding, malted ice cream, beer caramel and toasted meringue. Jack isn't usually a bread pudding kind of guy but they separated out the ingredients so no mushy bread. It was a delicate, intricate and rich dessert with a sort of smoky flavor. Again, absolutely delicious and unexpected.

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I can't say enough good things about our Odd Duck date night. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, the entertainment of watching the kitchen staff work when you sit at the bar is fun and educational, the wine and beer, delicious, and the food, fresh, local, creative and, of course, in the best possible way, odd.