Restaurant review: Peche

Readers,

Peche

I dined with my wife and friends Saturday night at Peche, on 4th street in Austin. If you consider yourself a foodie, it’s a must visit. The concept is a french brassiere with continental-inspired fare and an absinthe bar. The eclectic locavore-restaurant is presented by chef Jason Dodge (formerly of Vespaio) & Rob Pate.

The artfully created cocktails feature heavily on the menu, and for the late night crowd they might be a larger motivator than the food, which says something because the food is excellent.

The daily menu is heavily driven by local meat and produce, with only a handful of items being considered standard-fair provided on the bar menu. Many of the dishes even name their source.

The cocktails were delicious and strange, and we each enjoyed several of the imported absinthe. Rob Pate was present that evening and came to our table to regale us with stories about the various drinks and offer his suggestions. He made us feel welcome and his stories made the evening that much better.

Now on to the meal:

We started with a cheese plate, which consisted of Idtzabal, Ste. Maure, and Shropshire. It was paired with grapes, roasted pecans, honeycomb and sliced baguette. The Shropshire with honeycomb and baguette were to die for. All were well paired and tasty.

For my meal, I had a veal chop, cooked medium-rare,and smothered in a Marsala sauce with oyster mushrooms and diced carrot. It was served over mashed potatoes and covered with arugula tossed in a light dressing.  It was wonderful.

I also had opportunity to taste the confit of duck breast on risotto which was good, but you have to like duck. The roast chicken was also tender and juicy with a very nice herb flavor.

For dessert I had a blue-cheese cheese cake which was rich, savory and sweet, offset by roasted walnuts.  Also excellent, and a welcome departure from often cloyingly sweet cheese cake.

Certainly one of my top 20 restaurants for Austin.

The only potential downside is the leisurely pace of the meal and the service. Which is not to say the service is bad.  It was excellent, but not hurried or in any sense rushed. We arrived at 8pm and leave at 10:20, so it is a good meal to not be in a hurry. A slow meal where you drink and eat in a marathon of flavors.

I will be going back to Peche.
-Seamus
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