Saturday, January 22, 2011

Congress: An Absolute Delight

Congress opened less than three weeks ago, and I can safely say, they are already emerging as one of the best restaurants in the nation.

It doesn't hurt that they have an all-star cast: Chef David Bull and Chef Rebecca Meeker, both formerly of The Driskill Grill, Sommelier June Rodil from Uchi, and Bartender Adam Bryan, formerly of Eastside Showroom. This crew works together to make the most magical dining experience you will ever have.

The menu has a three- or seven-course meal, each with a wine pairing option. Our waitress informed us that the menu will change monthly, and if you're curious, it's published online. The restaurant itself is nice. It's located in The Austonian, the tallest residential building in Texas. The atmosphere is upscale, but not snooty.

We opted for the three-course meal. The waiter surprised us with an amuse bouche from the chef, which was a warm serving of parmesan custard with spinach foam on top. It was savory and delicious. The first courses came out. Tanner had bone marrow brulee, which was lined with cinammon sugar honey crisp apples and smoked almond crumble. It tasted like really rich butter. I had Hamachi Sashami, which was served playfully with soba noodles, hearts of palm and white miso. Mine was a very light dish, that was very refreshing.

For the second course, Tanner and I had the garlic and chive potato gnocchi served with a side of braised oxtail topped with a fried egg and parmesan crisp. Again, amazing.

For the third course, I had escolar wrapped in chicken skin. YUM. Tanner had the rack of lamb.
We ordered foie gras as our appetizer, and of course, since we were splurging, we couldn't forget dessert. We got the sweet potato beignets served with butter ice cream. OMG, these things just pop in your mouth in one bite. Totally addicting.

The chefs surprised us one more time with a dessert amuse bouche. It was a frozen version of the first amuse bouche. So clever. And so tasty.

When it was all said and done, our meal was a couple bills and over 3 hours long. Quite the experience. I definitely felt like I was on an episode of Top Chef, being served the finest food by these amazing chefs and they just kept delivering and delivering. The best part of the meal was telling our waitress we were ready to leave, and she hands us our car keys and says your car is waiting outside. The valet had signaled the car when they saw us paying the bill, so that it was ready as soon as we left. Very cool.

If you are looking for an awesome restaurant for a special occasion or just because you feel like splurging, I definitely recommend treating yourself to Congress.