"100 years ago, the only things you’d have here were corn bread, tortillas, and beans. This a nod to that," said Cirkiel. Fresh tortillas and cornbread are served alongside house-whipped lardo, marrow, and spicy butter. "It’s an introduction to who we are, and our dedication to making homemade food," he added.
Oyster Taquitos ($9)
"This is our classic play on fish tacos, like the ones found throughout California and Baja," said Cirkiel. The lightly battered gulf oysters are served with an avocado crema, cabbage slaw, and habanero salsa.
Vuelve a la Vida ($9)
Squid, shrimp and salmon float on a spicy tomato sauce, dressed with a touch of lime and celery, and a wafer-thin "chicharrón" made of squid. Cirkiel explained that this a play on a seafood cocktail that's sometimes served in a sundae dish with crackers on the side.
Blade Steak al Pastor ($22)
Cirkiel calls this dish "a reversed el pastor." "Usually, people think of ordering tacos with chopped up pork and onions and cilantro," he says. "We take a blade steak and grill it over an open oak fire, then roast the radishes and onions to give it a bit of depth." The tangy sauce is made from puréed tortillas and the pineapple-achiote marinade.
Mango con Queso ($10)
Mango is served several ways in this dessert —as a sorbet resting on a piloncillo (sugarcane) crumble, and in fresh chili-accented ribbons draped over whipped cream cheese. Roast pineapple and pepita (pumpkin seed) tuilles add crunch, and micro cilantro brings a touch of brightness.
From left to right
The signature Congress ($9) is made with local Tito's vodka, hibiscus, lemon juice, and a splash of cava. Levario explaines that the hotel wanted a “bat-tini”-style drink to pay homage to the nearby Bat Bridge, minus the cheesy name.
The Smoked Cherry Margarita ($11) is a twist on the ubiquitous tequila drink, made with Milagro Reposado, cherry juice, habanero, lime juice, and a smoked salt rim. "Everybody loves smoke in Texas and we wanted to incorporate that into a margarita… it's something that nobody else is doing," Levario said.
The Kale Mary ($9) is a popular brunch drink made with Tito’s vodka, kale, celery, tomato, and a salt rim. "Kale gets bitter after a day, so we have to find the right balance for it to keep long enough and still taste fresh" Levario says.
“It’s a three-meals-a-day design, and we wanted to keep the look clean and contemporary,” said Cirkiel.
Floor-to-ceiling windows divide the pool deck from the spacious bar and lounge area.
Bar and Lounge
Manager Benjamin Levario describes the bar menu as “fun and Austin-y," thanks to lots of local produce and spirits. The cocktails were inspired by “the drinks that I grew up with and love as a local in town," he said.