|500 E. 4th St.
Austin, TX 78701
Change can often be a difficult thing to absorb at a high end restaurant like Finn and Porter at the downtown Hilton. But the new chef Ryan Gossett, late of the Mansion at Judge’s Hill, and the extensive renovation have left a restaurant where the food is even better and the ambiance is even more attractive, and perhaps most importantly, significantly quieter than the former version of the restaurant.
Finn and Porter has maintained its substantive sushi bar: indeed the operation has been upgraded under the tutelage of chef Triet Huynh. You have to try the Goii Rolls. This endearing dish consists of himachi, shrimp, wasabi, tobiko, frisee, and cilantro rolled in rice paper. It’s served with a fish ponzu and chive aioli. And the tastes took me into previously uncharted territories. Absolutely stunning flavors to complement the delicate texture. Wow!
Chef Gosset has hit the ground running as well. His lovely leek and potato Vicchysoisse is irresistible. I’m not normally a fan of cold soups but this one is exquisite. It’s accorded must-try status. And the Crab Cakes are equally compelling. These are potato crusted with minimal filler and a maximal mellow taste. The wasabi cream and apple scallion slaw are the perfect accompaniment to this well-designed dish. And the Beet and Goat Cheese Salad is another palate pleasing experience. I like the combination of the fried goat cheese and the frisee and watercrest. These pair perfectly with the beets and a lovely pecan vinaigrette dressing.
The menu changes frequently at Finn and Porter. But regardless of what’s available that day, there is a baseline of superior flavors below which Chef Gossett will never descend. Take for example the Lobster Ravioli. This is served open faced with an exquisitely rich lobster salad and a parsnip puree in between the sheets of pasta. The mushrooms and tomatoes round out this engaging dish. And the Miso Glazed Black Cod (made famous at Nobu) will please the Omega 3 crowd and many beyond that. The miso glaze is perfect and the cod comes with roasted shitake mushrooms, beautiful baby bok choy, and sesame rice.
And an ongoing crowd pleaser has continued to be the Finn and Porter Trio. The tender filet of beef, the aforementioned crab cake, and a lobster poached in a flavor-enhancing vanilla butter totally complete this tasty triumvirate.
And lest we forget the carnivores in the audience, how about the 22 oz Bone in Ribeye? This is marbled to the extent that I prefer and there’s an abundance of flavor and searing tastes here. My suggestion: medium rare plus with a hint of Bernaise on the side.
The wine list at Finn and Porter is thoughtful and comprehensive. Oh and did I mention that after the renovation last fall, it is now much easier to hear your dining companions. Assuming you’ve chosen them well, that could be important! And do save room for the amazingly tasty home made chocolate donuts for dessert.