I guess I’m still a little baffled that I get to do cool things like preview lunches, because I still feel like a baby blogger…but I’ve been at it for a year-and-a-half, so maybe it’s more of a feeling and not a reality. But anyway, when I walked in the (beautiful) door to Suerte and was greeted by THE Sam Hellman-Mass (he’s one of the guys who opened Barley Swine and Odd Duck, and he’s now the creator of Suerte, Austin’s newest Central Mexican restaurant), I felt a little like, wait, this is life right now? This is super sweet!
Suerte been called one of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings in Austin in 2018, and this is why:
- Sam Hellman-Mass has opened two of the most popular restaurants in Austin, so he knows what he’s doing. He knows Austin, and he knows what Austinites want.
- Executive chef Fermín Nunez has worked at places like Uchiko and Launderette, which is crazy impressive.
- The team traveled to Mexico for months of research. They were in Oaxaca (and surrounding areas) exploring the cuisine, the colors, the people. This restaurant is a legitimate representation of Central Mexican cuisine, but everything is presented in a very Austin-y way (like those sweet mezcal bottle chandeliers hanging behind me in the photo above ^)
- Simple things are difficult to do well. Before lunch, Sam gave a demonstration about how they make their own masa, starting with really high-quality dried corn. Since masa is made from just three ingredients (dried corn, calcium hydroxide, and water), everything has to be just so. It’s easy to screw it up. When the tortillas come out perfectly light, flavorful, and fold-able, it’s the result of a skilled team. Impressive.
- The interior is custom designed with a lot of imported goods. The tables are made from pecan wood from Bastrop, TX. The fabric on the booths was custom made from designers using a foot loom in Mitla, Mexico. The waist-high windows stretch all the way to the ceiling and open up to give an indoor-outdoor feel. The patio outside overlooks E 6th’s bustling activity. It’s a restaurant that’s screaming to be photographed.
Pictured left to right: Campesino (tequila, carrot, lemon), Agua Fresca, Rosalinda (mezcal, campari, rose water)
^INFLADITA: mahi mahi, ahi amarillo, yogurt.
I had a bite of one of these little guys to start, and it was such a tease! I could have eaten a whole plate of them! (Good thing I didn’t, because then I wouldn’t have been hungry for the abundance of food coming out later.) But they were cute and tasty little nuggets.
^ TRY THIS: beet tostada with smashed avocado, peanut walnut yum yum sauce, pickled onions.
The yum yum sauce is what did it for me! I had eaten half of this before I even realized that it was vegetarian. Holy moly – the flavors on this were so freakin’ good!
^ CHICKEN TAMAL: recado negro, chicken skin chicharrón
^ RED LENTIL AND CARROT FRITTERS: mole amarillo, goats milk feta, pistachios
^PASTOR TACO: chile árbol salsa, green onions, yellow beets
I finally got to try one of those corn tortillas at the end of the meal! I (sadly) devoured this thing pretty quickly because I had to take off my food blogger hat and put on my violin teacher hat, but I still was able to take a moment to enjoy the softness of the corn tortilla and the beautiful (and clever) combination of yellow beet on a pastor taco. I loved that it matched the color of pineapple, which is typically served on the taco.
No guns. Be cool. Have fun.
I can get down with that. Welcome to Austin, Suerte!
Suerte 1800 E 6th St, Austin 78702