Odd Duck

During my April 2016 trip to Austin, my daughter, sister, niece and I enjoyed the Chef’s Tasting Menu dinner at Odd Duck’s sister restaurant, Barley Swine.  Both restaurants are owned by award winning chef, Bryce Gilmore.  So while planning our dining for this trip we decided to include Odd Duck in our schedule.

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We had a reservation for a late dinner and were seated immediately upon arrival at a 4 top table…

Notice the four mismatched chairs at the table.  Rather odd.  Part of the theming for “Odd Duck”??

Anyway, my daughters started by ordering a cocktail…

Left: Aunt Polly with Mescal, elderflower, chile simple, and lemon

Right: Blood & Sand

The Blood & Sand cocktail was not listed on my cocktail menu, so I’m not sure how my daughter ordered this.  I think though it was a scotch-based drink with sweet vermouth, cherry brandy, and orange juice.  But whatever the ingredients, she liked it.  However, my other daughter did not like her Aunt Polly cocktail.

Now for the food…

We ordered three things to share, starting with this…

Pretzel bread filled with pork carnitas, cheddar cheese, and fried egg puree

This was very good!

Another small plate we ordered to share was the…

Sweet Potato Tempura, sweet chile glaze, pickled onion and coffee mayo

This was just okay.

And then we also got this to share…

And a close up…

Cavatelli Pasta, Italian sausage, cherry tomato, feta cheese, and corn chips

I thought we would love this because the ingredients of this dish sounded great.  However we were very disappointed.  The pasta was EXTREMELY al dente (probably the worst I’ve ever had)!!  I just couldn’t bring myself to pay $17 for a very small portion that was partially inedible so I did something that I rarely ever do and sent it back.  It was removed from our bill.

So we were all still hungry but nothing else on the regular menu sounded good to us, so we moved on to the dessert menu…

The three of us all wanted different desserts so we ordered all three, starting with my daughter’s choice…

This was their Ice Cream of the Day (Chocolate chip cookie dough) served with a tasty chocolate chip cookie hat.  She said it was good.

My other daughter chose the…

Lavender Vanilla Bean Churro with pecans, Meyer lemon, and topped with toasted marshmallow

This was the best of our three desserts.  The vanilla bean pudding at the bottom and the churro were tasty, especially when combined with a bit of the delicious toasted marshmallow.

Now for my choice…

Chocolate layer cake with Mexican vanilla ice cream, and topped with chocolate potato chips

This was very good, just not quite as good as the churro dessert.  It was much better than the chocolate truffle cake dessert we had had at Fixe a few nights earlier.

Then our server surprised us by bringing a complimentary 4th dessert for us to try…

Honey panna cotta with honey, apple, and spice cake

I thought this was also very good but at this point we were too full to eat more than a few bites.  My daughters don’t like raisins so they weren’t as thrilled with this dessert though.  Oddly enough there was no mention of raisins in the menu description so if they had chosen this for their (paid for) dessert they would have been disappointed, as it had plenty of golden raisins.

So overall the pretzel appetizer and the desserts were good, as was the service. Plus they gave us a free dessert, which was nice.  However, there were still a couple of disappointments here and given their 4 1/2 star rating on both Trip Advisor and Yelp (plus rank of #19 on TA and #7 best restaurant in Austin on Yelp) we had high expectations.  Therefore, our rating for Odd Duck was only 3 1/2 stars.  After the first five meals of this trip, I was beginning to notice a trend.  The restaurants that had been researched and visits planned well in advance were somewhat disappointing but the two impromptu meals at Boiler Nine and Lucy’s Fried Chicken were surprising good.  Would this trend continue?  I hope not, since we had several more dinner/brunch/lunch reservations planned for the rest of our trip.

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