Wink in Austin – restaurant review

Last night in Austin, Adam and I had the most fabulous dinner. As you know, we love fine dining, so we make sure to book at least one splurge-worthy dinner every time we travel. Wink was recommended to me by one of my readers, and after reviewing hundreds of reviews on Yelp and Open Table (almost all praising the restaurant), I knew it was the right place for us. Wink supports local farmers and believes in the slow food movement. Really, this place sounded perfect… I was actually getting nervous that I talked it up so much in my head before going that I was bound to be disappointed. Thankfully this wasn’t the case. It was flawless from the beginning.

The restaurant is kind of in the middle of no-where. This is a terrible picture, but you may be able to tell that there is a dry cleaner right next to it. Quite random.

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Despite being hidden from the road, Wink was packed throughout the night. We arrived a few minutes early, were personally greeted by Mark (the manager? co-owner?) who shook our hands and found out our names. We were then offered to have a drink at the wine bar (next door) before our meal, which pleasantly surprised me. In the restaurant world, it is obvious that turning tables is important, yet the manager was happy to have an empty table waiting for us while we leisurely enjoyed a glass of “bubbles” as he called it. The wine bar was actually full (good for them!) so we went back to the restaurant and were promptly seated.

Before we even had a chance to review the menu, our waiter brought over a mini roasted garlic chevre tart, complements of the chef.

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A fabulous way to start a meal! This was so delicious – we were starting to get giddy about the meal (this happens often at promising restaurants 😆 )

Adam and I had plans to go out for drinks after dinner, so instead of getting a bottle of wine, we each picked a glass. I went with a Tuscan 2004 Maurleo Sangiovese/ Malvasia Nera glass. I adore Italian wines ever since our honeymoon in Italy. Sangiovese blends always seem complex and full flavored. Delicious!

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A little warm roll with butter (I had 1 1/2 of them throughout the evening)…

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And finally we get to the really good stuff!! For my appetizer, the hamachi sushimi with breakfast radishes, orange supremes and black olives sounded irresistible.

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The hamachi was amazingly fresh (well expected) and the orange, radishes and olives that complemented it were such a creative twist. The biggest surprise was that the hamachi actually tasted citrusy, as if it was marinaded in orange juice for a little while. I also forgot how much I love radishes… look at these beauties:

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The dish was fresh and exciting. I knew we were going to have an amazing meal!!

For my entree, I actually ordered another appetizer – the seared dayboat scallops on parsnip puree with white trumpets and white balsamic butter (this appetizer is also offered in an entree size). I wanted to make sure I had enough room for dessert… and then some more room for after dinner drinks 😉

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These were perfectly seared scallops, with a creamy puree and delicious mushroom chunks. I enjoyed every bite of it – a solid dish!

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Dessert time!! To my surprise, Adam wanted to order the wink trio for dessert. I jumped at the opportunity and asked him if we could split it… of course he agreed.

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We started with the lemon meringue pot: tart lemon pot in a crisp meringue cup with candied lemon zest and berries

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What an interesting dessert! I usually order chocolate desserts, but this was such a refreshing and delicious dish. The lemon curd was my favorite part… oh and the candied zest was also amazing! (this was my second favorite out of the 3).

Next up… creme brulee: creamy vanilla bean infused custard topped with a golden layer of candied ginger

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This was a delicious creme brulee but nothing out of the ordinary. I thought it was solid, but the other 2 desserts out shined it. The little cookie on top was delicious. Adam also loved the berries (it’s apparently very easy to please him. hehe)

And now my favorite (I know, shocker!) – al rey chocolate cake: warm flourless chocolate cake made with al rey chocolate and zinfandel infused cherries

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Please tell me your mouth doesn’t water just looking at this picture?!! Food porn at it’s best!! After the first bite, I was in pure heaven. I LOVE chocolate, and this was rich warm chocolate, only further improved by my second obsession – tart cherries!! This was beyond amazing. Probably, no definitely, the best flourless chocolate cake I’ve ever had in my life. Absolutely the best way to end an incredible meal! I was SO happy at this point (great food does that to me).

We paid our bill and asked the waiter to call the cab for us. After a few minutes, Mark came by to tell us that our cab should be a minute away. We went outside, took some pictures, but the cab never showed up. Mark came outside to check up on us in a bit and was shocked to see that we were still waiting. He promptly ran back to the restaurant to call back the cab, meanwhile asking his bartender to bring us some bubbles. We politely refused. What if the cab was a minute away… no need to waste the bubbles, but Mark assured us that they wouldn’t go to waste… okay, he twisted our arms enough 😉 The bartender forgot to bring us our drinks, so Mark took matters into his own hands. After taking a picture of us….

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Mark grabbed a bottle of some pink sparking wine (I didn’t get a chance to see the label), and poured 3 glasses (one for himself – love that!!) while we were chatting. Did I mention he continued to call Adam and me by our first names? I felt like we were VIP all night long. I have never received treatment like this and we have been to much more expensive restaurants. The cab of course arrived as soon as our lips touched the champagne glasses – figures. Nonetheless, for the remainder of the night we could not stop talking about the amazing dinner at Wink and the royal treatment we got. Mark is not only passionate about his restaurant (and clearly loves his job) but also a smart businessman. If we lived in Austin, this would definitely be our go-to restaurant for special occasions. I have no doubt we will remember this night at Wink for a long time! :mrgreen:

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