Foreign, yet So Familiar

July 29th, 2010  |  City: | Published in Out on the Town

Invitingly tucked away in a North-Central neighborhood, an unpretentious urban bistro is serving up delicious bites and bevs to eager guests. The turquoise exterior of the restaurant encases an industrial space complete with a diner-like bar overlooking the kitchen. This unusual combination sitting among its residential neighbors proves it’s unique and unpredictable. “Isn’t it ironic, don’tcha think?” to be unpredictable, yet reliable? Modern, yet quaint? Mature, yet spontaneous? Foreign & Domestic fits the bill. And, so does what Jenny and I ordered off of their new Blue Hour (l’heure bleue in French for twighlight) menu.

With smaller bites comes a smaller tab, but still show up with a big appetite. First of all, I can’t believe we ate these 4-inch all around popovers (thanks, Jenny for the fearless menu selection). Um, all carbs and cheese? Not usually my first choice, but I’m so glad we tried them! Jenny cut right into them with a knife to expose the doughy center with Gruyere popped inside (it was also shaved on top of the flaky exteriors). And, we went at it.

This next fresh dish was my favorite. Not only because the Tomato & Manchego tasted like a lighter version of Bruschetta topping, meant to be eaten like a salad, but also because we could tear off a piece of the popover and dip it into the mixture to add some texture to the bite.

I’m pretty sure when I asked what was in the bowl, I heard red and yellow tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, and coconut oil? There’s the unlikely ingredient— a signature of Foreign & Domestic, add in an unlikely character to spice up a dish. I almost ordered another mini-bowl of this, but we were full from our hearty bites and bevs, so I vowed to order it again on my next visit.

The Blue Hour menu also houses a few other light bites and refreshing drinks. Take, for example, the White Wine Punch, laden with cherries (see main image of this post). I’d also love to try their standing menu, complete with more light bites (Summer Lovin’ with Greens, farm fruits, muesli, lime vinaigrette) and entrees or “plates” (such as the Nicholson’s Sockeye salmon with smoked tomato water, or Baked Cannelloni with corn, ricotta, and herbs).  And, a little birdie told me they once had every item on the dessert menu, including one that is no longer listed, and that they are all winners.

Check out this unusual suspect of a lovely gastronomic find. After all, if you make your website www.foodanddrinkaustin.com, you must be pretty confident it’s here to stay. And, I believe Foreign & Domestic is making a statement that won’t go out of style. On 53rd & Avenue G.

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