Last week for date night, Nate and I went to Lutie’s Garden Restaurant. (It’s the restaurant that’s at the Commodore Perry Estates, a luxury hotel in central Austin.) Y’all, this is a very bold statement, but I think this might be my favorite restaurant in Austin right now.
Yes!! I’m already dreaming of when I can go back!
This restaurant opened when I was pregnant was Dayton. I was just super pregnant and uncomfortable, and honestly I got way behind on my restaurant visits. It’s just how it goes sometimes.
Anyway, last week I FINALLY went to try it out! It’s won numerous awards and gotten high praises from national publications, so I knew there was quite a hype around it…
…but I’ve also had several of my foodie friends tell me it’s just a really pretty, overpriced restaurant.
My expectation for Lutie’s
Honestly, I was expecting a really beautiful restaurant that was “good.” You know? Good food, nice servers, a beautiful ambiance. That was what I was expecting.
But I was actually blown away
Y’all! I’m not even sure how to say this… Every single part of the dinner was absolutely above and beyond all of my hopes and dreams for an excellent restaurant experience.
The Vibe // Duh, it’s beautiful. I mean, can we just all agree on that? It’s even prettier in person, but those photos give you a pretty good idea. (I’m excited to go back on a sunny summer evening and enjoy it in he daylight!)
There are real pothos plants hanging from the ceiling. The bar has this ornate, 1920s vibe with the velvet chairs and fun chandeliers. And the marble checkered floor is so classy. The floor-to-ceiling windows make it feel much larger than it actually is.
The Service // I am fully aware that the service industry is severely lacking right now. There just aren’t many people who are interested in working for tips! So a lot of restaurants (GREAT restaurants) are having trouble finding good servers.
The staff at Lutie’s was phenomenal. Everyone, from our main server to the runners who brought us our dishes to the manager who stopped by to make sure we were having a nice time, was excellent. They were willing to share details about the food, anecdotes about the restaurant’s decor, or just stop and chat to make sure we felt comfortable and welcome.
It’s honestly pretty rare to have a hospitality experience quite like that, and it stuck with me.
The Food // Obviously this is a pretty important part. 🙂 I’ve been to a few new restaurants recently that are located inside hotels, and it’s typically “good.” Like, I wouldn’t call most hotel restaurants stellar or even memorable, but if they’re in an upscale restaurant and have enough money, they’re typically good food and I leave with no complaints.
Lutie’s cuisine is memorable. I mean, it’s so memorable, I’m still thinking about it a week later and trying to come up with an excuse to go back to Lutie’s asap.
The cocktail menu is small. Super small…like 6 options, I think? And two of them were made with mezcal, which I just don’t love. So I didn’t have a lot of choices, which bummed me out.
But then I chose one and Nate chose one, and they were both absolutely perfect. Our server said, “all of the cocktails at Lutie’s are very balanced.” I think that was his way of saying that there’s nothing here that’s overly sugary-sweet, or a super tart/fizzy cocktail, or anything like that. Both of our cocktails were beautiful.
Again, I can’t wait to dine in the daylight and enjoy one of these cocktail on the outdoor patio overlooking the hotel grounds.
The Estate Bread!! I want to eat it every day of my life. It’s basically a century-old sourdough starter that’s used to make these fluffy English muffins that are served with brown and cultured butter. Eating a bite of that bread = one of the best things in life. No, not just best things from my dinner…best things in life.
Chickpea, Green Corn, and Fermented Herbs // I love ordering things that look “meh” on a restaurant menu, only if the restaurant is truly supposed to be the “best.” And then I’m kind of like, “ok, go ahead and WOW me with this!”
And Lutie’s did just that.
This lovely little dish was PACKED with the most amazing flavors. It was crunchy and creamy, solid and liquid, salty and sour. I looked at Nate and said, “I just paid $20 for plate of chickpeas and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
And then two of our larger “main” dishes that, again, absolutely wowed me. I love how the server took the time to explain all of the details of the dish, from the chef’s own personal connections to it to the way the food was sourced, all the way to how he suggested we eat it (try a bit of the rice alone so you can appreciate the flavors he’s created there.”
It’s been a while since I’ve been to a restaurant that I’ve loved THIS much. And I know that Lutie’s has been around for a couple of years already, so I’m late to the game…but holy delicious. Can’t wait to go back. Please add this one to your list to visit in Austin for a special occasion!