6/17/2013 02:36:00 PM

Sunday Dinners Are the New Supper Club

A set table before Sunday dinner at Olive and June
You can’t swing a fork in this town without hitting a supper club. But for most Austinites, that’s old news. The new hip trend is to offer Sunday suppers. Like a club meets family time, the meal is served prix fixe, either family-style or with a few options.

Alison Spiegel at the Huffington Post recently highlighted a few of the best Sunday Supper choices in New York City, saying that “Sunday Supper is traditionally a family meal. Its origins can be traced back to the Sunday Roast, a British or Irish meal eaten on Sundays. My favorite version is the Italian-American Sunday Gravy, a meat-heavy red sauce that gets better with time and makes great dinners all week.”

But Austin’s restaurants can give them a run for their money.

Take Olive and June, which plays on Spiegel’s favorite, the Italian dinner. Chef Shawn Cirkiel recently told us,
"As a kid, we always ate together on Sundays. And as a chef, Sunday is family day. So we wanted to combine the two and cook how we like to eat. It’s not plated, it’s on platters and it’s an opportunity to share. It allows us to play with food from different farms and ranches, because the menu changes every week. I spend almost every Sunday at the restaurant, because it’s the way I like to eat: a bottle of wine, and everything just shows up." 
Agreed. On a recent Sunday, we enjoyed course after course of charcuterie and cheese, chilled asparagus soup, a lovely green bean and tomato salad with arugula, a fried and lightly herbed goat cheese zeppole, lamb ragu and gemelli pasta, braised beef short ribs, and coconut panna cotta for dessert, all for $35. The meal is served family-style to your table, though we’re convinced there was enough food for twice as many people.

Then there’s Perry’s Steakhouse downtown, which has been offering a deal from 4-9 PM of a salad, their famous pork chop and the dessert trio for $24.95. We dare you to finish the entire meal, including the vanilla bean crème brulee, Grand Marnier chocolate truffle and praline cheesecake. Talk about a traditional and delicious gut-buster.

On the other side of the spectrum is Lenoir, which serves innovative “hot weather” fusion food with very little butter, oil or cream. The restaurant always goes the prix fixe route, with three courses of your choice for $38. But for just $2 more on Sundays ($40), you get four set courses from award-winning chefs and married couple Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher. Yesterday’s menu included an heirloom tomato salad with tamarind dressing, poached cobia in a green curry, roasted guinea hen with summer succotash and smoky tomato jus, and a roasted peach parfait with goat cheese fondant, malted pecan brownie and lime curd. 

Duplechan recently told us that the prix fixe, set-menu idea was “the original concept that I had, no choices. You just come in and you get what we’re serving. But my wife talked some sense in me.”

Still, the trend seems to be taking off. At what Austin restaurants would you like to see a Sunday dinner?

1 comment :

  1. The truth that here in Spain there are many custom of eating with the family, but not at dinner, we met for dinner to eat at noon, but the fact that it is tempting to have dinner on Sunday New York ....