Golden, crispy, buttery perfection. Biscuits in Austin have officially been elevated. And you’d be hard-pressed to find two restaurants doing more for our favorite flaky bread than Olamaie and Fixe.
The two Southern cuisine inspired restaurants have been making a name for themselves in Austin’s dining scene for their fresh take on soul food. But those biscuits, whew, those biscuits are game-changers.
You might think it odd to compare two gourmet restaurants that average $20-$30 per entree by the most inexpensive thing on their menu, but that would just mean you haven’t actually tried their biscuits. These aren’t the Pillsbury tubes you’ll find at HEB. Both Olamaie and Fixe spent months crafting their biscuit recipes, and when you see a server walk past your table carrying a steaming stack of doughy perfection, you’ll understand why.
This Austin soul food battle pits Olamaie vs. Fixe, examining their biscuit skills as well as their menus as a whole.
The Gold Standard
Comparing the biscuits at Olamaie and Fixe is almost like comparing the pizza at Via 313 and Home Slice. Both restaurants are at the top of their game, but each offer a unique take on our favorite foods.
Let’s start with Fixe first. The biscuits are made to order, so be sure to ask for them as soon as you put your drink order in. And make sure to get at least one biscuit per person. You’re not going to want to share these.
The biscuits come with a side of strawberry preserves for your sweet craving, as well as a small portion of n’duja, a spicy spreadable pork sausage from Italy. If you’re feeling bold, mix both for a perfect blend of sweet and savory.
As for the biscuits themselves, they come hot to the touch, but can be easily broken apart with your hands. Once split open, a subtle golden color on the outside gives way to a soft white inside. How Fixe gets the biscuits so crispy on the outside, yet so wonderfully fluffy on the inside, is beyond me. But it’s absolute perfection.
Olamaie may not always have biscuits on their menu, but ask for them anyway. As with Fixe, the biscuits are made to order, but typically take longer to make and are served with your entree. They’re really made to complement your meal, not to be a precursor to it.
The condiment can vary, but on the night I last dined at Olamaie, I was provided a warm salted butter as a spread.
The biscuits here are more square than round, and clock in a smidgen smaller than those from Fixe. Though they don’t quite have that velvet-like flakiness you get at Fixe, these biscuits hold their own with a crispy bite and consistent texture.
Supper Is Served
Since man cannot live on biscuits alone, let’s take a closer look at Fixe and Olamaie’s menus as you prepare to cast your ballot for the winner of this food battle.
Fixe’s primary goal is to recreate the Sunday Supper experience you might’ve had at your grandmother’s place growing up. The decor lends to that experience with the feel of an elegant Southern home.
A dedicated Grits menu tells you all you need to know about the focus of the cuisine here. While I’ve never been big on grits, the Carnivore with Texas Quail, pickled pears, pecan granola and a BBQ consomme should not be missed.
With a menu that features Pork Shoulder, Duck Breast and Veal Brisket, you wouldn’t expect Fried Chicken to be the stand-out entree, but it is. It’s that good.
Olamaie serves a modern interpretation of traditional Southern classics in a charming white cottage. Accolades from the national media for Olamaie’s co-executive chefs Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas, including Food & Wine’s best new chefs of 2015, are well deserved.
Unfortunately, the overall dining experience left something to be desired. While the entrees were inventive and delicious, the portion sizes, especially for the price paid, were woefully lacking. The setting conjures up images of a relaxing Sunday Supper around the table with family, but this experience was not one of bounty.
Despite the downsides, I was surprised to find the most incredible fried catfish I’ve ever had. Its delicate crust melted in my mouth and the tender fish was complemented by a delectable comeback sauce.
Who Wins the Biscuit Battle?
Austin’s soul food options have been significantly upgraded with the addition of Olamaie and Fixe, complementing local classics like Hoover’s. But in this Soul Food Battle, Fixe comes out on top. Chef James Robert’s interpretation of Southern comfort food will redefine the way you think of Sunday Supper.
@Crafty_Ed wants to know:
What is your favorite Soul Food spot in Austin?