Swift’s Attic


Sporting both a serious cocktail program and an inexpensive small-plates menu, chic, whimsical Swift’s has positioned itself as a resto-bar. Start with an order of blistered shishito peppers (the new edamame) sided by an aioli-like dip, but skip the undistinguished Kennebec fries. A fine special of slow-cooked oxtail and pork cheek (with ramps, on homemade ramen in broth) was like an all-American stew. Another hearty success was Lockhart quail with cornbread (like airy hush puppies) and a sweet raisin-rum butter spread. With dishes ranging from Peruvian tiraditos to kimchi, the menu is impossible to classify, which could be either a weakness or a strength. Right now, we’re leaning toward strength. Bar. 315 Congress Ave, second floor (512-482-8200). Lunch Mon–Fri 11–2. Dinner Mon–Sat 5–midnight. Closed Sun. $$–$$$ W+


San Antonio

Do people still have bibs and tuckers? Do you? If so, put on your best ones when you head here for a dinner of “modern Southwestern cuisine.” Sustainable fare is key (hence the name); we greatly enjoyed chef David Gilbert’s tender and aromatic Devine wild boar loin with a sweet-potato-stuffed tamal. The curried rack of lamb (a bit tough and, to us, resembling leg rather than rack) was also tasty. Appetizers were similarly extravagant, including a corn pudding tamal with foie gras and a truly fine scallop with a touch of sweetness provided by a stuffed plantain. All in all, an impressive start for an ambitious newcomer in a distinctly swanky hotel. Bar. Éilan Hotel, 17103 La Cantera Pkwy (210-598-2950). Open 7 days: breakfast 6:30–10:30, lunch 11–2 & dinner 6–10. Reservations recommended. $$$–$$$$ W+