My first year of marriage was a bit of a roller coaster ride. It seems every time we had even a moment to catch our breath, it was on an uphill climb just before dropping off into the oblivion. Much of these highs and lows were a result of a big move from Denver to Austin. It's been a lot of stress from work, a new home and moving away from family and friends, but on the flip side we're exploring a new city together and experiencing everything as a couple, completely dependent on one another for friendship and love. It's been a heady, intimate and occasionally overwhelming experience.
So for our anniversary, we thought we deserved to do it in two parts. Part one, which I wrote about earlier, was a wonderfully relaxing dinner at home. Part two was a great restaurant meal. We had lived in Denver and both been involved in the restaurant scene there for so long that we had plenty of places to go for a great meal. We also knew whtere to go for a simple but delicious meal to suit our needs for the night. Being in a new city is much more hit or miss. We've had a few very good meals, some very mediocre meals, and for our anniversary, one very, very good meal.
We ate at Wink Restaurant, and it was wonderful. The overall experience reminded me of the saying "the devil's in the details" in the best possible way. The wine by the glass was served at the table from the bottle, into gorgeous stemware appropriate for the wine served (my biggest pet peeve is great wine and bad stemware). The silverware and plates for the salad was chilled, my water glass never went empty, no matter how much I chugged...I could go on and on. The bottom line is that they had worked out the finer points of good service. If I am going to pay a lot for a meal, I want excellent service, and at Wink, it was worth every penny.
Fortunately, the service was just a prelude to the food. We had the most amazing Heirloom tomato salad with ginger dressing, another recipe which I swear I will try to replicate and provide here. Our next course was a grass-fed bison tartare with caper aioli, cornichons and trubbled crostini. I am still speechless over this dish, but i will say it was the best rendition of truffle oil I've seen in a long time. Rather than overpowering the dish, the added an earthy note that complemented the meat perfectly. I love truffles when they enhance a dish rather than act as the main event, and this dish delivered.
For our entrees, my husband had veal sweetbreads on purple hull peas with grilled onion and maitake mushrooms, which balanced the richness of the meat with earthy and smoky notes. I had dayboat scallops with potato coulis, melted leeks and chantrelles. I adore leeks that are slow cooked, and will take chantrelles pretty much however I can get them, so I expected this to be a case of "I ordered it for the sides", but the scallops were sublime, with a hit of potato in the sauce. It was such a good meal that neither of us wanted dessert, which is a huge compliment to the chef.
A Wink and a Smile