Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bridget Dunlap's East Austin Hotspot, Mettle, Introduces New Lunch Menu - Austin, Texas

Bridget Dunlap’s East Austin Hotspot Mettle Introduces New Lunch Menu:
Traditional Bistro Fare Infused with Eclectic International Influences

Recently-opened East Austin hotspot Mettle—the first restaurant venture by über nightclub developer Bridget Dunlap—is offering a new lunch menu just in time for the lazy days of summer. Executive Chef Andrew Francisco has created offerings that infuse traditional bistro with eclectic international influences. The ingenious fare (innovative pairings and modern updos on classics) fits a remarkable re-imagined space that was once home to a tortilla factory. Dunlap, who transformed the downtown nightlife scene by refurbishing dilapidated properties on Rainey Street and turning them into the city’s hippest clubs and pubs, has once again shown her visionary prowess.

Francisco, who interned at the French Laundry and worked at Austin’s Olivia as the chef de cuisine, uses locally-sourced products and ingredients from his on-site garden for a menu that boasts simple starters—watermelon, kaya, and mint ($5); pickled anchovy, black olive, and pepper ($5); and vegan chicharron and salsa ($5)—and smart flavor and texture pairings, such as Beet with white chocolate, jalapeño, and chevre ($10) and Beef Tongue Tacos with escabeche, crème fraîche, and salsa verde ($11). Salads include the Walnut Caesar—crispy parsley and pecorino Romano dressed in balsamic ($7)—and the Grain (kale, almond, and pickled tomato; $7).

Larger bites range from a Grilled Cheese (this revamped version features a crispy green tomato, spicy mustard, and caramel; $10) and Fried Chicken with buttermilk-mustard ($13) to Fish and Chips (red fish, pickled chili, and aioli; $11) and Pork Belly Quesadilla with cilantro and chipotle crème fraîche ($9). Even Chinese Broccoli is elevated with white soy and foie gras butter ($7).

Like Dunlap’s Lustre Pearl, Clive Bar, and Bar 96 concepts, Mettle pours freshly squeezed juices and seasonal cocktails such as the Siamese Caipirinha with Thai chili and basil-infused Cachaca and lime or the Wimbledon Cooler with Pimm’s No. 1, cucumber, lemon, and ginger ale (all cocktails are $10). And Mettle offers an extensive wine list—probably the most selective on the east side—with about eighty labels and by-the-glass options.

The modern L-shaped venue seats nearly 200 guests in the 4,000-square-foot space that houses a variety of dining areas and a bar that features a floor-to-ceiling sculpture by lon Art. The modern architecture mixed with decorative European wall coverings elicits a relaxed vibe that encourages socializing indoors as well as out on the plant-lined patio.

Mettle is located at 507 Calles, in East Austin. Hours are Tue­­sday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information about Mettle, call 512.236.1022 or go to

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