Trace at the W has launched a new winter menu that is sure to warm up your appetite this season. Chef de Cuisine Ben Hightower, along wit the culinary team’s foragers, has created a few new palette-pleasing dishes including Handmade strozzapreti pasta with bacon, toasted pecans and blue cheese; sea bass crudo with seared butternut squash, white ponzu and pistachio oil; braised pork howl with vanilla parsnip puree, pickled pears and charred green onions; seared red grouper with green apple puree, brown butter cauliflower and marcona almonds; and bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with anson mills cheddar grits, apple salad and apple pork jus.
I was lucky enough to get the chance to try several of the new dishes and just fell in love right away with the strozzapreti pasta. The pasta is perfect for a cold winter day, and just rich enough that it’s perfect to share as a starter. I loved the taste the crunchy bacon brought to the dish, and the kale was so fresh.
The other starter we enjoyed was the jars of pimento cheese spread, house pickles, pepper jelly and black bean hummus. While they were all extremely flavorful, I personally fell hard for the pepper jelly. It was just fantastic and I simply couldn’t get enough but knew I couldn’t over-enjoy it (and there was plenty to take home for later) as the main dish was coming out.
My meal highlight had to be the braised pork jowl. The vanilla flavor was so unique, and of course nothing I would dream of adding to a pork, but it was absolutely perfect and so flavorful in every single bite. It is simply an amazing dish, and a must try on your next visit to Trace.
My personal favorite of the new desserts, created by Executive Pasty Chef, Janina O’Leary, is the banana pudding with dark chocolate sauce and salted peanut ice cream. It was really out of this world and such a unique spin on a traditional dessert. The pumpkin whoopee pie, served with bourbon ice cream and pumpkin meringue, was delightful too. I’m not usually the biggest pumpkin fan, but, as so often happens for me at Trace, the chefs introduce me to flavors in a new and unique light that changes my tastebuds’ ideas about all sorts of food!
I have to mention that a big part of what made the meal so special and unique for me was our server, Javier. Javier was so knowledgeable about the cuisine and delighted about showing off the new menu, I felt like he had been right there in the kitchen with chef. I recommend requesting a seat in his section as he really added to the overall ambiance.
Trace at the W Hotel
200 Lavaca Street
Austin, TX 78701
Sunday-Thursday: 5:30-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 5:30-11 p.m.