“McGuire Moorman-ed” might as well be a verb in the Capital City, conveying the process by which all the details of a restaurant add up. At Jeffrey’s, Austin’s grand dame of special-occasion dining, the valets hand you a brass number rather than a ratty paper ticket; the host knows to congratulate you on your company’s going public. But if all of that seems like ruffles on a bedsheet, have the martini cart pull over for a solid no-nonsense cocktail. It also helps if you shovel a crispy squash blossom into your mouth, a sublime substitute for a potato chip, topped with a light lobster salad. As it’s just a bite, you can still have a verdant green pea–filled tortellini or a creamy slice of hamachi served crudo style. Going headfirst into the seafood risotto, you’ll find the shellfish-studded rice stretched across a plate, the marine notes just right. And the pure simplicity of the Niman Ranch ribeye—unadorned except for a magical finish of sea salt—reminds you that the McGuire Moorman folks know what is essential.
Cuisine: New American