While the appeal of watching Top Chef winner and Austin\’s Culinary sweetheart will undoubtedly bring the crowds to Qui, the exceptional food and dining experience will equally impress and lure them back. The team at Qui exudes synergy, each chef and cook busily prepping for dinner while hosts, bartenders and servers competently take care of their guests. I attended Paul\’s session at Austin Food and Wine Festival titled \”Qui Ingredients\” where he expressed the key ingredient is the team. This is extremely evident at Paul\’s newest brick and mortar and this philosophy is a key part of his success.
Qui seats up to 50 customers providing diners with a few seating options: a single booth, the quaint dining room or the prized seats facing the kitchen at the bar.
The creative cocktail menu consists of seemingly traditional cocktails with a few twists. I tasted two of the cocktails and found them pleasingly strong. Pictured above is the well crafted Double Deuce Manhattan made of Buffalo Trace, Road House sweet tea, Dolin Dry, Perucchi Red Vermouth, Orchard peach, Balcones Brimstone and both ango & orange bitters. The wine menu is extensive while the beer offerings are small but well selected.
The food menu is small and unique, offering dishes from the street urchin corn to the rabbit 7 ways (literally). I tried both raw offerings on the menu, Japanese mackerel sashimi and the street urchin with fresh uni. The mackerel tasted as if it had been slightly cured. The sashimi was salty but the accompaniment of the tomato and onion not only complimented but offset the saltiness.
The street urchin is a take on Mexican corn meets sushi. Uni bottarga is sprinkled over two pieces of Mexican street corn. I recommend adding the fresh aka uni to this dish and eating it proper with your fingers. If you have never had uni this is an excellent place to give it a try.
The matcha pasta is a perfectly piled dish of pasta topped with egg yolk. The server mixes the separate ingredients to saturate each noodle with the creamy yolk. The pasta has a hint of green tea while the finger limes give it a light citrus burst of flavor.
When dining at Qui saving room for dessert is a must. I tried the signature dessert of avocado Qui lime pie. I prefer savory and/or tangy desserts over sweet and this certainty fits the bill. The dessert was made of almond flour, topped with a tangy lime sherbet and chili meringue.