“This is going to be the next big Austin restaurant,” said my grounded, engineer, out-of-the-scene date to La Condesa‘s soft opening last night. He is not given to fanciful phrases and media hype, but he was absolutely floored by the decor and atmosphere at La Condesa. Add in some tasty drinks, superb guacamole, and just a few nibbles of food and he was all, “I have to come back here. Soon.”
Well, duh, I’ve been telling you that for weeks! La Condesa is just cool–aqua blue couples with concrete, glass and frosted glass with rich mahogony-colored leather booths, and chrome chairs on the patios with interior pine details–all of these combinations of texture and color lend the place an airy, easy-going vibe. And despite its hype as one of the nicest restaurants in town, it’d be easy to eat on the cheap too. Menu items range from street-style taquitos at $7 to whole suckling pig at $35. Most appetizers are between $8-$16, with several types of guacamoles and ceviches. The ceviche we had was very different–in a grapefruit juice, it was sweet rather than tangy and lime-y. We also sampled a few other delicious finger-foods: huraches (sandals! I joked with owner Jesse, but it’s the literal translation), tasty beef tacos in corn tortillas, and a delicious seared tuna atop. It was just enough to make us feel like we NEED to go back for more. The fantastic drinks (you know I already went into detail over those here), will be just $10.
Just last night I read something in US Weekly (I read it religiously, don’t knock it ’til you try it) about celebs dining at La Esquina in New York, and I got to put two-and-two together. You see, La Condesa lured René Ortiz, the famous NYC chef behind the famous La Esquina, to Austin, so now we have our own celeb hotspot. Owner Jesse Herman is also an NYC transplant, but the rest of the management team is local–and famous in their own right too, including neighboring chef Larry McGuire of Lamberts, who will be managing La Condesa’s 150-seat space as well. Plus, I love bar manager Andrea Brown with her Jenna-Bush-looks and constant grin, even when she’s shaking drinks for over 150 VIP guests.
On the northwest corner of 2nd & Guadalupe, La Condesa is open tonight, so head on over! It will be open 11am to 11pm daily, with lunch from 11-3, dinner from 5 -11, a bar menu inbetween, and brunch Saturdays and Sundays. http://www.lacondesaaustin.com/ Look for more info on upstairs bar Malverde next week!