Our server suggested beginning with two starters per person, but we were in it for the long haul and wanted to be sure and save room for entrées and dessert. We settled on three shared starters and each one was a delight. Chilled North Carolina Blue Crab with Carolina Gold Rice, kuri squash pudding and popped sorghum, with Tabasco served on the side was a favorite. This inventive dish was delicate in flavor, yet bold in its ingredient spectrum. We loved that they brought the Tabasco bottle on the side so each person could decide on the amount of heat to add. The Skillet Cornbread with stewed okra and fairytale eggplant was quite good. There was great use of fresh produce in this dish and the texture of the cornbread was silky, yet firm. The Salad of Pears with Glenn Roberts' farro, chanterelle mushrooms and grainy mustard was another winner. I would have never thought to combine these ingredients, but they worked beautifully together.
I heard a great deal of praise regarding the Sweet Tea Red Wattle Pork Chop with charred apple, sorrel, pickled red onion (or a form of it), so I knew immediately that would be my entrée. The dish was perfect in its simplicity, yet every element did its job. The secret is obviously the charred apple that marries sweet and savory in a way that brings about a supreme bite. My son had the Smoky Hen of the Woods Mushroom, braised peanuts, smoky tomato likker and sorghum shallots. I learned that likker is a soup or broth that is usually made from collard greens; in this case made with tomatoes. This vegetarian dish was exceptional and would make even the most hardened meat lover swoon. My son decided that even though he liked all the entrées, his was the best choice. My husband had the Day Boat Grouper with pumpkin, shrimp gravy, lobster mushroom and chervil. The fish was tender, moist and, once again, all the ingredients were thoughtfully added to produce a harmonious dish.
For dessert we had the Apple Pie with buttermilk ice cream which was our top pick. The golden crust was tender, the apples were well seasoned and the ice cream, with just a smidge of caramely sauce drizzled on top, was smooth, creamy and flavorful. We also tried the Cinnamon Biscuit ice cream made with a pacojet machine, which can turn anything into ice cream, even a cinnamon biscuit. The cinnamon flavor was there, but the biscuit flavor was more subtle, nevertheless, it was creamy, smooth and delicious (my son is now infatuated with the idea of getting a pacojet). Service is polished and attentive, but the pace of the meal is leisurely. Keep in mind this is not the best place to come if you are trying to make a show afterwards. It could work the other way around though. Perhaps a tour of The Making of Gone with the Wind exhibit at the nearby Harry Ransom Center followed by a meal at Omalaie--a perfect salute to the grandeur and beauty of the Old South. Olamaie has successfully filled the void of elevated Southern modern cuisine in Austin. Come ready to sit back and relax, relishing in the delights of a bygone era. (Cathy)