I have long enjoyed dining at Shawn Cirkiel’s various restaurants: from his first, Jean Luc’s Bistro, to Bullfight, his most recent.
Shawn is a creative chef and he’s adventurous. In my book that’s an excellent combination. And that brings us to the Spanish-styled Bullfight at 4807 Airport Blvd.
I cannot say that I am wild about the design and decor. Like far too many Austin restaurants these days, it is modernistic and a bit stark. However, the cuisine more than compensates. We began with the Bacalao Fritters. This combination of cod and potatoes is one of the more delightful of the many tapas that grace the menu. The taste of this was as one might expect given the ingredients, yet it had an almost indescribable nuance that made the dish irresistible.
Another first bite, aha moment occurred as we tried the bacon-wrapped date with valdéon cheese. The flavor explosion was amazing as all the ingredients blended into a comforting melange of exquisite mouth feel. We enjoyed them so much that we actually ordered a second dish.
The eggplant bruschetta with the classic North African spice ras el hanout was equally delicious. Draped in beautiful cherry tomatoes the dish just sparkled. I had a bit of difficulty spotting the eggplant, but the overall flavor was impeccable.
No visit to any Spanish restaurant would be complete without sampling its version of the classic Paella, an historic Valencian rice dish. There are virtually an unlimited number of ways to prepare Paella (which takes its name from the black skillet in which it is cooked). Bullfight used fresh prawns, clams, chorizo and saffron along with green beans (the first time I’d seen those used) along with various spices. The verdict? Thumbs up. It could have used a couple more prawns and clams for a tad more moisture, but the flavor and texture was spot on and we sent the pan back empty!
We could have happily stopped there, but there was dessert to try. I had the most delectable and almost lighter than air churros with vanilla ice cream while Marge had a stunning chocolate cake.
We left not quite satiated but extremely satisfied. I suggest you give Bullfight a go!
4807 Airport Blvd.
Austin, TX 78751