You can tell the old customers from the new ones the minute they walk in. The new ones seem a little hesitant as they wait to be shown to one of the four revamped rooms, gazing with open curiosity at the storied restaurant that was, in its heyday, the undisputed king of Austin dining. The old-timers—the ones who’ve been coming here since Jeffrey’s began as a little French bistro in the funky Clarksville neighborhood in 1975—march in like they own the joint.
Pitmaster: Zach Davis, age 34 (since 2012)
Method: Oak; gas-fired smoker
Pro tip: Malbec pairs well with brisket.
This week was Rebecca Meeker’s last at Congress. The former chef de cuisine has left David Bull’s restaurant to become a chef and project manager for Larry McGuire’s and Tommy Moorman’s growing restaurant enterprise.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to work with Larry and his team,” Meeker told Texas Monthly. “They’re extremely creative and I truly admire the work they’ve done so far.”
The beautiful, briny sea is delivered on the half shell here, where the city’s best oysters come expertly shucked. Small but robust, the Pickle Points from Prince Edward Island may be our favorites (add a squeeze of lemon), but we won’t pass up the salty Pleasant Bays dressed in mignonette. It’s hard to move beyond the oysters, but we love the shrimp toast: wonderfully chewy bread topped with sweet crustaceans under a layer of broiled cheese.
Thirty-year-old Larry McGuire, Austin’s most prolific high-quality restaurateur, sits down to lunch at his newest restaurant, Josephine House in the capital’s central Clarksville neighborhood. With impeccably clean hands, he straightens his Rag & Bone shawl collar cardigan before placing a crisp napkin into his lap. Josephine House opened last month, and its dining room, with white-washed wood-paneled walls and marble counters, is already packed with neighbors and food aficionados.
Whole-animal consumption is in full fashion these days, and we aren’t just talking hog. On April 22, chefs Emmett Fox, Louis Lambert, and Larry McGuire will prepare an Argentine-inspired Texas feast, Vaca y Vino, at the Bridges Ranch in Wimberley, which includes four-course menu consisting of steer, empanadas, Shiner Beer, Argentine wine, escarole, potato salad, tres leches, and various other dishes.