Attention East Siders: Mettle is taking it up a notch.
This stylish new restaurant is stepping out in the land of dives and trailers—and tossing its hat into the burgeoning upscale ring. Mettle’s panache is no surprise since it’s owned by Bridget Dunlap, the woman who transformed Rainey Street into a nightlife destination with bars like Lustre Pearl, Clive, and Bar 96. Mettle is Dunlap’s first foray out of the Rainey Street bar scene—and into east side dining.
Carved from the corner of an old warehouse, Mettle’s different rooms are subtly divided by low walls and wine racks. There’s a cozy bar in the back anchored by a towering spiral sculpture. Up front, two dining rooms have distinctly different personalities: one bathed in natural light and the other dark and moody. Outside, overlooking the train tracks and parking lot (this is the east side, after all), is a welcoming patio with shaded dining tables and an adjoining lounge with comfy wicker furniture.
Design elements reflect Mettle’s urban theme: Floors are concrete, ceilings are exposed, and rebar provides visual interest. Chandeliers look like jagged, translucent stalactites. Even the bathrooms provide drama, as jet-black fixtures and tile are highlighted by gold-flecked snakeskin wallpaper.
Meals start with complimentary bread that’s worth the carbs. Light, fluffy, and slightly sweet, it’s served with smoked butter (who knew?), shaved dark chocolate, and crunchy sea salt. Watch out: It’s addictive. The unsexy-sounding ‘grain salad’ is anything but. This delicious mix of ancient grains and chopped raw greens is studded with pickled tomatoes, slivered almonds, and apricot ‘leather.’ An ethereal lemon foam pulls it all together. It’s a cavalcade of flavors and textures—savory, sweet, nutty, chewy, crunchy, creamy—and was the unexpected showstopper of our meal.
At lunch, we were tempted by the heaping plate of fish and chips, but instead opted for the fried chicken: three pieces of moist dark meat resting on a pool of buttermilk-mustard sauce. Multi-hued fingerling potatoes and roasted shishito peppers finished the plate. The cheeseburger gilds the lily: A beef patty is topped with both cheese and lardo, a Italian specialty of thinly shaved pork fat. Tasty medium-cut fries are served with yummy miso aioli. For dessert, we sampled one of Mettle’s homemade sorbets made with Campari, grapefruit, and ice wine. Next time, we’ll try the brioche ice cream or the mango ‘soup’ with yogurt and pistachios.
Mettle makes a mean cocktail. Try the Siamese Caipirinha made with basil-infused cachaca, Thai chili, and lime. It’s a deliciously complex concoction that’s smoky, spicy, sweet, and tart. The wine list has lots of tasty selections and our sparkling rosado cava paired well with all our dishes. Service was unsurprisingly exceptional, since much of Mettle’s staff was culled from Austin’s finest restaurants. Our wonderful waiter described each item in tantalizing detail, making every diner feel appreciated and special.
by Joanna Steblay
As the warm weather begins to set in and patio parties hit our calendars, we can’t help but embrace that summertime has returned to Austin. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be celebrating the return of the season with decadent ice cream, healthy smoothies and icy cocktails from your favorite local spots.
For those days when it’s too hot to venture out, we went to Austin’s sweet treat professionals and compiled the ultimate collection of DIY recipes to make from your home. Click through the galleries below to learn how to make everything icy and sweet, from poptails for date night to ice cream sandwiches for a dinner party.more
The spring edition of the Renegade Craft Fair returns for its seventh year in Austin May 14-15 at Fair Market. With over 125 makers on the roster, the scene is sure to be bustling with local artisans and DIYers slinging their unique, one-of-a-kind wares. In addition to great shopping, the RCF offers activities, special showcases and plenty of food and drink options for visitors. This year, celebrate your hard work shopping with a snack from Burro Cheese Kitchen and Lucky Lab Coffee Co. before commemorating the afternoon with some snapshots from Magnolia Photo Booth Co. But before...more
by James Ruiz
Inspired by the beautiful outdoor living spaces featured in our May feature The Space Between, we went window shopping and found some great outdoor furniture and accessories to liven up your outdoor patio, porch and pool. Flip through the galleries below to see how you can add a pop of color and style to your outdoor hideaway.more
Hundreds of people are moving to Austin each day, and downtown is one of the major hubs of growth for the city. Local real estate expert Jude Galligan discusses smart urban growth and what to expect this year as the skyline continues to evolve.
Your blog keeps Austin updated on the latest news in downtown. What is the most exciting development happening right now?
From my point of view, the most exciting development is the Waller Creek District Master Plan. Decades in the making, this transformative project came to life after designers competed for the contract. It is finally coming to downtown, bringing an imaginative chain of parks,...more
by James Ruiz
As you flip through the pages of our February Love Issue, one thing you’ll notice is the beautiful blooms that pop up throughout the magazine. We got some major googly eyes for the bouquets featured in our "Real Weddings" features, and earmarked the TRIBEZA Wedding Guide for even more Pinterest-worthy petals.
Instead of letting all that inspiration go to waste, we tried our hand at flower arranging to see what we could create. Since we consider ourselves floral design novices, we asked a few top designers...more