Those driving up and down South Lamar have been
patiently watching and waiting for the brick and mortar incarnation of Odd Duck. To their credit, shortly after the signage went up things moved quickly. No extended wait on this one. Bryce Gilmore doesn’t mess around.
Craft Taste and I rushed over on opening night, dear readers, so that you might have a first look at some of the dishes. Rest assured that Odd Duck will be the hot spot for quite awhile, so you should go right away or wait a couple months. But we certainly beat the rush and didn’t sacrifice in quality or service. They are ready.
Like Barley Swine, there’s a comfortable bar to cozy up to and peruse the excellent beer and wine lists. There’s also a nice cocktail menu and I enjoyed a Moscow Mule with their house ginger beer. The pleasant bite was sheer perfection. Mr. Betty had a Founder’s Breakfast Stout which he regards as a real treat.
There’s plenty of seating at the bar and tables both inside and out. We opted to sit at the long communal table and soak up the excitement of the other groups. It was hard to choose from everything on the menu but our waitress helped steer us towards some of the staff’s early favorites.
We started with warm pretzels stuffed with ham and gruyere and a creamy mustard sauce. They were subtle, letting the mustard take center stage. The beer funnel cake was less successful, with a strongly bitter aftertaste overwhelming the whole dish. This was the only thing I wouldn’t order again.
The charred broccoli, sorrel, and honeycrisp apple slices sat atop a sous-vide scrambled egg that was simply stunning. Those pretty flowers are fried thin slices of the broccoli stem!
My only regret of the night was my photo of the kohlrabi soup. I was so entranced by the verbal description and presentation that I did not catch a photo before the broth was poured. This is the dish that blew me away. We raved about it so much that the people next to us ordered it at the end of their meal. If you only get one thing, get this soup! There’s creamy cheddar custard and world’s tastiest bacon are in that broth, people.
The goat rolled in pasta was an explosion of flavor, the savory meat accompanied by a divine mole and butternut squash. Another highlight of the evening was the boudin grits, pickled shrimp and chicharrones. Served in a mason jar, each bite offered a magical combination of creaminess, acidity and salty crunch. Major wow factor on this one.
One last show-stopper before dessert. The chicken fried chicken egg came with lots of mushrooms and homemade hot sauce. Who doesn’t love cutting into a perfectly runny egg?
The sticky toffee pudding made for the perfect ending to a great meal. The sweetness was balanced with rich goat cheese and tart pickled apples.
My takeaway? The food was creative and delicious, service was polished, and atmosphere was warm and welcoming. Quite warm, actually. No need to wear a sweater.
Welcome to the neighborhood, Odd Duck. We’re so happy you’re here.