I was set to go to the soft opening of Eden East (located on the east side at Springdale Farm) a month or so ago, but both nights ended up being rained out, so I was very much looking forward to spending an evening eating out on the farm. Eden East is a reservation-only (you can do them all online via Open Table, a sigh of relief for me, who is a serious phone-a-phobic) weekend-only restaurant right on the grass by the farmhouse on Springdale Farm. The menu is seven courses prix fixe set at $60 and changes every weekend based on what’s freshest coming off the farm. We also had both vegan and gluten-free diners and they had no issues being accommodated, which is always a plus.
The atmosphere at Eden East is relaxed and quaint under the shade of a huge tree laced with hanging lights. I also enjoyed the long picnic-style tables that allows you to interact with parties on either side of you. It also added to the excitement when you saw your neighbors drooling over the courses you still had coming.
It’s BYOB, so my friends and I came stocked with 6-packs, and the waitress was happy to store them in a cooler while we were eating. They were also sponsored by Deep Eddy vodka (local to Austin) and had a cocktail special with their new Ruby Red grapefruit vodka. As I myself am not a big fan of grapefruits, I stuck with the brews.
Course One: “Freedom Ranger Roulade” – blackberry jam, pork, ginger and garlic. Not sure the sauce drizzled on this dish but it was phenomenal.
Course two: “Summer Vegetable Terrine” – carrot, arugula, malabar spinach, sweet corn. This was my least favorite dish since I don’t love the gelatin consistency, but it was still yummy.
Course three: “Smoky Wild Pig” – sweet potato BBQ sauce, pickled watermelon. This was my favorite dish of the night, but no one’s surprised because… pig. The pork was so tender, the sauce a little sweet and the pickles were the perfect acidic crunch.
Course four: “Weed Salad” – foraged summer greens, cornmeal fried chicken skin, hen egg, creme fraiche. Salads to me are just like rabbit food, but I love any dish that has a runny egg on top, so I was really on board with this salad. Apologies for the horrendous picture, I tried to get the egg-breaking but instead just got a blurry mess. Deal with it. Also please ignore my creepy alien finger.
Course five: “Gumbo” – seafood and rice bisque, fried okra, herbs. Creamy and delicious gumbo. I do wish it came with a piece of toast to dip…
Course six: “Prickle Duck” – butternut dauphine, wilted sweet potato greens, wild pomegranate. The duck breast was perfectly cooked, but it was really the pomegranate seeds that made this dish. When you bit into a seed you got a little crunch and they just exploded with a tart flavor of fruit that worked so well with the duck.
Course seven: “Peach Crostata” – prickly pear popsicle, mint. The best part of this dessert was the prickly pear popsicle, made by Cold Ones Popsicles (http://coldonespops.com/) that came served up in a mason jar with a little Deep Eddy vodka in the bottom, so as the popsicles melted while you were eating the crostata, the juice mixed with the vodka for a post-dessert treat.
My only minor criticism on the night was that the courses could have been served a little closer together (we typically waited around 15-20 min between each), but we didn’t mind as it just left more time to drink and socialize. And it’s understandable that things were a little slower with such a small kitchen and nearly every party at different points in the seven-course meal.
Overall it was an awesome dining experience with really excellent service, delicious food and just the right amount that I left full but not ready to explode. I only wish I saw the bug spray at the hostess’s stand on the way in to save myself from the Texas bugs. I wholeheartedly recommend Eden East for anyone looking for a relaxed and delicious locally sourced meal. There’s really no beating eating right on the farm where most of your food is coming from.