In the Warehouse District in Austin is Swift’s Attic, a terminally hip American small plates gastropub. Everything from the decor to the menu to the clientele has carefully been orchestrated and upon arrival The Monster is impressed.
A cocktail ordered placed and it’s time to peruse the menu as the hipsters in their scruffy beards and wan ways descend like locusts on this second floor boite.
For The Monster the items to make the grade tonight are the market pickles, the blistered shishito peppers with a goat cheese emulsion dipping sauce, the Idaho rainbow trout with leak and radish broth and a sun dried tomato tapenade and what will hopefully be the star of the show, crispy twice cooked duck wings with black bean glaze and celery kimchi.
What might tempt you? How about foie gras and Niman pork belly bahn minis? Or perhaps Broken Arrow Ranch antelope steak frites with chimichurri and tarragon yogurt.
The pickles make their way to the table first and they are tasty enough and annoying. The annoying aspect coming from the way they are cut or shaved making it both more difficult than necessary to get out of the mason jar and ultimately eat.
The waitress recommends the shishitos and they are fine. Nicely charred but oversalted, the dipping sauce doesn’t do much for this guy. Unless your life will not be complete without these peppers they are worth passing on.
The wings come out next and they are…a huge disappointment. Duck wings will never be the meaty behemoths of their chicken sibs so know that going in. But the dominant taste here is salt from the black bean glaze. And then you taste salt. It is overpowering and the bird beneath gets lost. Still, The Monster licks them clean but this goes down as one of the great “damn its” of 2012.
Last out is the fish and like a broken record it is merely ok as the whole does not equal the sum of its parts. The fish is well enough prepared, the broth and tapenade tasty but combined this dish feels confused as to what it wants to be.
Damn you Swift’s Attic, The Monster wants to be wowed and instead he feels like yawning and calling it an early evening.
With good service, a nice cocktail program and a swinging room Swift’s Attic looks to be a great choice for early drinks or later in the evening to finish off the evening. Wish the food (at least on this night) upheld its side of the equation.
Why go? Style over substance.
Monster rating: 2½/5 Monsters
315 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701