It’s rare to describe a fine dining restaurant as “uncomplicated,” but The Carillon achieves this feat with ease. The restaurant is located on The University of Texas at Austin campus in the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, where standards are high.
So what makes The Carillon so special? For a fine dining restaurant, it’s surprisingly fitting for any occasion, such as Sunday brunch, quick lunch, or date night. You name it, and The Carillon is ready for the occasion.
Thank you to The Carillon for hosting me. All opinions are my own.
Team Behind The Carillon
The Carillon boasts a diverse menu. Influences range from Asian to American, and sometimes both at the same time. The culinary team consists of Executive Chef John Herdman, Sous Chef Bradley Turner, and Chef de Cuisine Kyle Barham. These three oversee all of the food served at AT&T Conference Center and keep the beverage program at par.
Herdman’s creative style of mixing modern techniques with traditional ingredients is evident on the menu. The resulting product? Delicious and memorable.
The team focuses on using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. You might read the menu, see crispy chicken thighs or lamb chops, and wonder: is this really something new? Boy, are you in for a surprise! Don’t let the traditional names fool you. What you’ll get is most certainly going to surprise you. The chefs take creativity seriously, which you’ll see and taste in every dish.
I Came in Hungry
At the start of my dinner, Chef Barham swung by for a chat. He had put a tasting menu together for me. To my surprise, Sommelier Susie Scott had a divine lineup of wine pairings to match.
I was curious about the process of pairing, and discovered Barham and Scott typically have a vision for how the food or wine should progress through the evening. Aligning is a big part of the restaurant’s success, and these two do justice to each other’s art.
Both Barham and Scott adeptly managed my curiosity about their food and wine. I made it abundantly clear I didn’t know much about the world of wine. Scott helped me learn terms like “full bodied,” as well as what to look for when a wine is described as floral and fruity. Her mantra is simple: “The food should make you thirsty for the wine, and the wine makes you crave another bite of food.”
The Carillon’s kitchen is exhibition style, which means you can see all the action from the dining room. Toward the end of my dinner, the kitchen received a big order from a table of 35 guests. Amidst the burst of activity, Chef Barham brought me into the kitchen. My inner foodie was in heaven. Watching him and his team hustle around the kitchen, preparing perfectly cooked meats and vegetables, and plating them artfully was thrilling.
Despite the busyness, Chef Barham answered all questions I had about the process and the food, not once breaking form. The team works like a well-oiled machine, and seeing them is like watching a choreographed dance performance.
As far as my meal, Barham and Scott served the best of the best. The courses ranged from cheese and caviar, to Asian-inspired tuna crudo, to hearty steak and potatoes. If I haven’t said so already, I’ll say it again: the food is amazing.
Rather than spout menu details about each of the courses, I thought I’d show you instead. Get ready to salivate.
Food Photo Tour
I’ll Be Back
The dining experience at The Carillon was one of my favorites in Austin to date. The food is delicious and satisfying. Having engaging staff members like Kyle Barham and Susie Scott, who are available to chat with any guest, made it that much more fun for me. I love learning about the food and drinks I’m tasting.
None of the serving or kitchen staff were shy about giving me a high five when they found my hand up in the air, ready to receive. It’s rare to be engaged in the way I was at The Carillon. I cannot wait to return for the food, where I expect to learn even more about the culinary world.
If you’re as curious as me, I suggest you take a trip to The Carillon as soon as possible.
1900 University Ave. – Website
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