Since AKA Bistro shuttered early this year in St. Helena, a rumor or three has flown out about the spot's next taker. Today modern Mexican restaurant La Condesa is ready to go live with the news they're moving in. Quite literally, in fact, see the freshly minted Facebook and website splash pages here and here. The restaurant's first outpost in Austin, TX has enjoyed a James Beard nom for best new restaurant in the country and just nabbed the #1 spot in the Austin Chronicle's reader's choice restaurant poll. They're also the first restaurant to be recognized by the Green Restaurant Association in Texas. So, lots to talk about with this one.
Partners Jesse Herman and Delfo Trombetta have brought chef de cuisine Rob Peterson up from Austin to recreate the Mexico City-style menus he's been doing with executive chef and partner Rene Ortiz down south. Herman tells Eater, "Local produce and markets dictate our cuisine." Expect related tweaks to the existing bills of fare. Here's what he had to say about it to our sister site in Austin.
Besides the rather stirring news that the joint will have a tequila bar that's over 100 bottles deep—with a good bit of mezcal, to boot —they've brought on Napa resident and soon-to-be-sommelier Chuck Meyer as GM. He'll create a more in depth wine program than what's happening now in Austin, with lots of local wines, and some from South Africa, Argentina and Spain. Although Herman says they've got a few full-time employees devoted to juicing fresh fruit for the cocktail program. So a margarita might be the wiser choice here.
Also take note, despite what was leaked in Inside Scoop yesterday, the build-out on Main Street hasn't even begun yet. Austin-based designer Joel Mozersky will create a Mexico City-inspired interior, employing local woods, contractors and vendors. Local guy John Lail will serve as architect. As of now, they're hoping to get things up and running by the end of July. "I'm excited to be a part of such a vibrant food and wine community," says Herman. "It's a dream come true for me as a restaurateur."
· The Shutter: AKA Bistro [~ ESF ~]