Saturday, August 29, 2015

Rob Samples Apatite Café

Chef David Sanchez

Had my first tastes at David Sanchez’s Apatite Café at the Galleria behind Mandola’s Thursday night. This is a thoughtful, intimate and highly sensual dining experience. Sanchez, who hails from Vail, opened this with his wife. I thought the name Apatite was a play on “appétit,” but no. Apatite is actually the name of a gemstone that is said to foster new and improved relationships for all who wear it.

And the dishes we tried were excellent: anchored by the simplicity of basic core ingredients each selection stood on its own merits with no unnecessary embellishments. The Sweetbreads, lightly dusted in flour and sauteed in clarified butter were tender, crunchy, and terrific. Likewise for the Truffle and Reggiano Parmesan Gaufrettes (their version of homemade potato chips). Hard to stop eating these once you begin!

The Blue Crab and Avocado Torta (with just a hint of truffle) was another immediate flavor. This is a delicate yet highly compelling small plate.

The larger plates were equally appealing. The Seared Sea Bass in an edamame and sweet corn succotash (when’s the last time you’ve seen a succotash) was a delight in an Applewood bacon hollandaise. The Pinot Noir Laquered Short Ribs was another slam dunk. The ribs did what they were supposed to do: fall off the bone. And the flavors from the ribs and the caramelized shallot mashed potatoes along with the warm baby spinach unfolded in layers of languid, almost decadent flavors.

Then we had to have dessert. I experienced a Creme Brulee unlike any I’ve had thus far in Austin. Most crème brûlées will go for the seared, caramelized sugar topping. But this one was covered in delectable (you heard me) chocolate. The taste was nothing short of amazing!

Apatite Café is open for lunch and dinner. It’s been quite some time since the Bee Caves area has seen anything like this.