Elevated dining at Lutie's Garden: Travel Weekly

Hotels are not necessarily known for great food, but Auberge Resorts Collection is turning that perception on its head in Austin with Lutie’s Garden in the historical Commodore Perry Estate.

Lutie’s, which opened last year on the 10-acre, urban resort, has rocketed to the top of the city’s fine dining queue. The restaurant’s weekslong waiting list is largely due to the talents of chefs Bradley Nicholson and Susana Querejazu. Auberge persuaded the husband-and-wife team, who have Michelin-starred restaurants in their past, to return to Austin to manage Lutie’s and all food service for hotel guests and club members.

Named after the mansion’s first lady, whose flair for entertaining dazzled the city’s elite during the Roaring ’20s, Lutie’s offers an inventive menu abundant with seasonal vegetables and herbs grown on the estate and meat and seafood from local ranchers and farmers markets. 

Green plants tucked into the dining room ceiling create the impression of being outdoors but without the stifling heat and humidity typical of central Texas summers. (A terrace overlooking the resort’s sunken garden is an option on cooler days.)

I considered myself lucky to score a table on a rare rainy evening in August. Following advice from my attentive server, Skyler, I started with a hand-crafted cocktail before sampling fresh farm-to-table veggies in the fritto misto; roasted butternut squash with feta; and estate-made bread with brown butter. Thankfully, I saved room for a savory entree of grilled trout on Delta Blues rice topped with smoked trout roe.

Then came dessert, with Skyler insisting that Querejazu’s pastries and sweets should not be missed. He was right again; the beeswax creme caramel with burnt honey was delicious.  

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