Austin’s long growing season gives chefs a full range of produce for weekly-updated seasonal menus.
Words by Ben Haguewood Photos by Ashley Haguewood
You can’t see Austin’s unmistakable skyline from the low lying farmland that surrounds Eden East’s outdoor dining area. In fact, if it weren’t for the occasional car passing on Springdale Road, you wouldn’t even know you’re in the fastest growing city in Texas. Austin has maintained a distinctive dining scene by supporting its local restaurants, but there’s eating local, and then there is arm’s-length eating. Many of the vegetables that supply the weekly dishes the Eden East kitchen prepares come from Springdale Farm and other small farms in the neighborhood. The concept is simple, but pulling it off takes a dedicated team with a singular vision and a lot of logistics.
Each week the Eden East chefs prepare a menu based on available produce and meat from a list of local farms, ranches, and fish purveyors that it supports. Each menu is balanced, playing each ingredient and dish off one another, but unfussy, always allowing the freshness of the ingredients to stand out and often giving a nod to other Texas food ways, like a roasted pork rib glazed in fermented Texas honey and finished with a crumble of chicharron, and the faint smoke-tinged onions that spike the fragrant summer vegetable succotash and sweet corn and coconut soup. The pre-fixe menu is full of bold flavors and subtle surprises with each course, such as a tuna crudo topped with a fresh kimchi puree, and smoked Wagyu beef in a shallow pool of Juliette BBQ sauce—a rich, red puree that takes BBQ as one knows it back to its simplest and purest elements: fresh tomato, real smoke, and heat from garden-fresh roasted peppers.
Diners should expect to make a 2-3 hour evening of the multi-course menu and are encouraged to linger at the long, knotty pine communal tables under a canopy of tents with low intimate lighting. Eden East is BYOB and provides an opportunity to enlist your wine merchant for innovative pairings. A good reason to arrive before your reservation is to walk the grounds of Springdale Farm to see the current crop that makes up the menu and the neat, tilled rows of rich soil that will create the next one.
Native Knowledge: Eden East also serves breakfast on Saturdays from 9am-1pm while the Springdale Farm’s market is open, with classic hash and eggs, shrimp and grits, bacon and eggs, egg sandwiches,
755 Springdale Rd.