Austin Way Magazine - GreenGale Publishing - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.
Issue link: http://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/787203
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NEIL BURGER (FOOD, CARUSO); ADAM BARBE (INTERIOR, EXTERIOR) BACK IN THE GAME HUDSON'S ON THE BEND IS BACK WITH NEW OWNERS READY TO DAZZLE WITH THEIR TAKE ON HILL COUNTRY CUISINE. BY TOM THORNTON It's hard to imagine Central Texas without the iconic Hudson's on the Bend—one of the region's first fine- dining establishments--and now we don't have to, thanks to a team of rising culinary stars. Opened in Lakeway by visionary chef Jeff Blank in 1985, Hudson's led many Austinites up Ranch Road 620 for the first time. With its game-focused menu and hearty but elevated style, the restaurant became a spiritual forefather of current favorites like Dai Due and Salt & Time. (It even started an ACL Festival snack legend in The Mighty Cone, which still thrives as a food trailer.) But as Blank pondered retirement, the restaurant's future was uncertain. Enter a culinary team younger than Hudson's itself, led by two Paggi House alums: chef Billy Caruso and advanced sommelier Chris McFall. The two friends helped form Prime Thyme Restaurant Group, which purchased Hudson's last spring and closed it for major renovations. By its reopening in late November, with guidance from interior designer Tabette Stewart, Caruso and company had transformed the space dramatically. Ceilings were raised; a rooftop garden, dining gazebo, and patio were installed; and a new wine cellar took the place of the former private dining area. A cleaner, less rustic look prevails, but touches of taxidermy (and a portrait of Blank) remain. The menu from Caruso and Chef de Cuisine Brandon Silver reverently nods to the restaurant's past while pointing to the future. Both the hot and crunchy trout with ancho aioli and grilled romaine and a spiced quail entree with red quinoa salad and Honeycrisp apples show a deft blend of Southwestern tradition and fresh local accents. 42 AUSTINWAY.COM SCENE REOPENINGS