Sorry (kind of) about the title of this post, ha. But let’s be real for a sec. East 7th is blowin’ up! I swear every time I turn around there is something new going in on that street. It’s making me a little anxious – how am I supposed to keep up with all these openings?
Well, here’s one we can check off the list. I finally paid a visit to Hightower exactly two weeks ago. Rob and I ducked in for a late-ish dinner on the patio after a beer tasting event and were both pleasantly surprised. Not that we didn’t think it would be good, I just had no idea what to expect going in, but we really enjoyed everything. Our server was very chill and friendly, the dishes we shared were creative and high-quality yet very affordable, and despite being seated right on the edge of busy 7th, the patio was pretty tranquil.
Sooo let’s rewind to the food for a sec. We started with two of the small plates, ceviche and brussels sprouts.
The ceviche tasted ultra-fresh and came with an interesting assortment of flavors and textures: blood orange, shallot, fennel mojo, popcorn crumble, scallion ash, and potato chips. It’s hard to describe the popcorn crumble but it totally worked. And the blood orange? LOVE.
I wrote about these brussels sprouts on Endless Simmer last week – they were so fun! You see brussels sprouts all over Austin, but these stood out to me because they were made with one of my favorite ingredients (which I’ve never seen combined with sprouts before): peanut butter. Housemade peanut butter, golden raisins, sambal, and lemon, to be exact. I don’t think the combo of the sprouts with peanut butter and raisins is for everyone, because I know people can be weird about both peanuts and raisins… but I was a huge fan.
We were still a little hungry after our first round of shared plates, so we rounded out the meal with a bibb salad and smoked tofu.
BIbb lettuce, smoked onion vinaigrette, blue cheese, egg, radish. It was nice and light; just the right amount of blue cheese to compliment but not overwhelm the other ingredients. I will say that both Rob and I noticed that the dressing seemed extra smoky, almost like liquid smoke or something. Luckily they didn’t drench the lettuce, so it wasn’t a horrible drawback.
This smoked tofu entree was another standout. It came highly recommended by our server, she described it as especially unique and I’d have to agree – the firm tofu was mixed with rainbow cauliflower and arugula then covered in a gingery edamame puree. Once again, similar to the salad, this dish had the potential to be kinda heavy, but it was light and fresh, handled very delicately. I would have eaten twice this portion if it had been served to us (but it’s probably for the best that I didn’t have that option!).
One thing I’ll keep in mind for next time is that Hightower has happy hour! If only we had come a little earlier… from 5:00-7:00 every day – you can score $1 off house cocktails, well drinks, house wine, and certain beers, as well as $2 Lone Star, PBR, and Modelo Especial cans. Perhaps more importantly, you can take $1 off their small plates, including my beloved peanut butter brussels sprouts! I will definitely be back on the patio for some sunny HH eats this summer.