My husband and I visited on a Saturday a few weekends ago. Our reservation allowed immediate seating, but walk-ins are welcome, too. Service is tight and requires only a little polishing (one server found it extremely difficult to make eye contact with us). Most importantly, the food coming out of the kitchen is still on point. I took advantage of the cocktail menu and ordered O. Henry, while my husband decided on a Firestone Walker 805 Blonde Ale from Paso Robles. As always, we ordered a few beers for the kitchen. The à la carte menu offers small plates which are meant to be shared, since items come out of the kitchen as they are ready (a chef's tasting menu with 13 individual courses is also available). It is recommended that each person order 3-4 plates to be satisfied. We heeded the advice and ordered a series of starters with some heavier entrée size portions.
We began the meal with Grilled Oyster Mushroom, beet, toasted cheese and pecan milk. Once all the ingredients of the dish were combined, a wonderful array of flavors came through, the grilled smokey mushrooms at center stage. Right off the bat we were bowled over. Next up was the Grilled Carrots with sorghum hay, toasted seeds and chèvre fondue. This was another stand-out dish. We relished each bite of the almost caramelized carrots that had a satisfying crunch from the toasted seeds. Pig Skin Noodles with hot sauce, almond and shrimp dumplings contained noodles that are made from pig skin. Based on past experience with pig skin, I was expecting something crunchy, but these noodles had a texture similar to traditional pasta. It worked well, but took me off guard initially. My husband was intrigued by the Marinated Egg with coffee, crispy sweet potato and goat ham; a fun version of eggs and ham with a splash of coffee marinating the egg. The Poached Red Snapper with koji butter and brussels sprouts was remarkable. The fish was fresh, light, perfectly cooked and well seasoned. I am not sure if this dish is considered an entrée since the portion size seemed rather small, but it was wonderful. Another favorite was the Shredded Duck Leg with kale and root vegetables. All of the ingredients participated in making this hearty dish memorable.
After dinner, I indulged in a glass of the Henri Giraud Ratafia de Champagne, a still champagne from France. We went a little crazy and had both the Grapefruit Sorbet with marshmallow, beet and olive oil, as well as the Peanut Mont Blanc with honey, dark chocolate and ginger. Our favorite was the Mont Blanc, mostly because we both love chocolate, but the grapefruit sorbet had a satisfyingly sweet-tart quality. We are thrilled that Barley Swine has made the trek up north to the Brentwood neighborhood. Burnet Road can now boast that it has one of the finest restaurants in the city.