My husband and I have been to Restaurant Jezebel several times, the latest of which was tonight. I keep meaning to blog about it and keep forgetting.
Today was our 10th wedding anniversary, so I made reservations for Jezebel and let them know we had a celebration. When we got there, we were seated promptly in their dark, cavernous-but-cozy dining room which is decorated with pictures of nekkid women. The kitchen is open to the restaurant and you can watch Chef Vora back there working his magic.
Jezebel is a little out of the norm in that they don’t put any pressure on you to order, switch courses, or pay the bill. To some, this seems like poor service; in reality it’s just a departure from the American norm of quick table turnover. You can sit and enjoy coffee and conversation until they close without being pestered to leave. It’s rather nice once you know the score.
Our waiter, TJ, was one we’ve had before and he’s wonderful. He asked if we would like to order some champagne for celebrating, so we did. We also got the table noshes: a tray of sauteed olives (wish I had the recipe for this), some bread, and a plateful of olive oil with a baleful balsamic eye in the middle for dipping.
For starters we both ordered the foie gras in sweet chili glaze. To be honest, one of the reasons we went to the restaurant in the first place was to thwart the austin anti-foie protesters who have targeted several places around town for both picketing and vandalism. Many issues with that – too many to go into other than to say why don’t they protest restaurants that don’t serve free-range beef and chicken? Because it’s hip.
Anyway, the foie gras was at an absolute peak tonight. I took a bite and it transported me. I closed my eyes and just let it take me away. I wanted to cry, it was so good. It’s a nice portion, too – probably 3-4 oz. Last time we went, I ordered it and they brought it out with the apology that it shrank more than anticipated during cooking and they would bring more ASAP; they brought out almost twice as much as what my husband got.
Tonight TJ asked if I’d like a little sauternes to go along with the course, and I happily said yes. The pairing was sublime.
Between courses was a palate cleanser of aloe vera sorbet. I’d have to say this was the only slightly flat note of the evening. It was refreshing, yes, but it was way too much like dining on hand lotion. I never realized that’s what aloe vera tasted like. I always thought it was just lotion fragrance.
My main course was lamb two ways – rack of lamb in a pumpkin seed crust and braised lamb shank. It came with a side of fresh greens (like watercress) and some horseradish mashed potatoes. TJ offered up a nice wine pairing with the dish, and hubby got himself a beer because he’s so not into the wine thing. His dish was a napoleon of filet with roasted tomatoes and a chipotle hollandaise. Both entrees were wonderful.
For dessert I ordered a creme brulee and hubster got the lemon curd mousse. His was ZING very lemon. Mine was really nice and creamy vanilla. TJ gave me some 40 year port to go with it.
With the check, they gave us a hand-written thank you note for spending our anniversary with them. The only liquor on the bill was the bubbly and beer – everything else was comped, as was hub’s dessert.
I have to mention the ladies’ room. It’s really a sight to behold. Once your eyes accustom to the even deeper gloom in there, you’ll notice that the walls are covered in astroturf. There’s a squashy purple velvet armchair in the corner and another nekkid lady on the wall. There are baskets with feminine items as well as tooth flossers.
In short, this is our favorite restaurant in Austin and probably the world. I really, really hope they stay afloat. Give them a shot if you have a special occasion.