October 30, 2014
With my third annual dining guide, I limited my top restaurants list to 25, down from 50.
#25 - Swift's Attic
This gastroclub perched above the Elephant Room sometimes challenges me with its noise and décor. It’s like meeting a person at a dinner party who talks and dresses loudly and spends too much time looking in the mirror or over your shoulder while he talks to you. But then you listen to what he has to say and realize he’s a person of depth and character. Maybe the cover doesn’t always match the contents.
The kitchen at Swift’s Attic, helmed by Mat Clouser, defies classification. You may get a raw fish dish with Asian influences that reference the chef’s time at Kenichi, but you’re just as likely to find warm Texas-inspired dishes like Lockhart quail with pungent blue-cheese grits, candied almonds and cherry gastrique on a dish that looks like a Christmas table setting. I was surprised on a recent visit to taste Mexican flavors in a masa “gnocchi” dish served in an almond cream sauce and topped with dark chips made from huitlacoche. Just when I’ve got them all figured out, Swift’s makes me reconsider what I think I know.