Paul Revered

Complex pairings, assiduous technique, and very high standards characterize Paul Qui’s new Austin restaurant. So why is everyone having so much fun?
Photograph by Jody Horton

When I think about my visit to Paul Qui’s place, three random scenes pop into my head. Scene 1 happened when I spotted two friends laughing like hyenas because they had just grabbed the whimsical ink stamps the restaurant leaves lying around and decorated each other’s arms with images of the restaurant’s crazy little fish-man logo. Scene 2 happened about thirty minutes later, when I was in the tasting room looking at a wooden rack (a.k.a. idea board) festooned with different-sized parcel tags, each labeled with ingredients (combine catfish, sweet potato leaves, and tonka beans—why the hell not?). Scene 3 is from a video on the restaurant’s website, where musician and painter Peelander-Yellow recalls meeting Qui: “He’s a normal guy, but he has a … ,” and here the artist makes a loud ffftttsssstttt! noise, like sparks flying from a live electrical wire. What

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