The Carillon Grill, located at the AT&T Executive Center on UT campus (just a stone's throw from Han's building!) is debuting a new menu, and we were invited to give it a try.
We had gotten a chance to taste some of Executive Chef Josh Watkins's dishes at the Chefs Under Fire competition. Some of the flavors were familiar, some we eagerly got to try for the first time.
We started off with the white bean soup which was creamy and subtle. Funny story: the first time we got to try it, Han wasn't really a fan. She said, "There's some kind of animal fat in it." I looked at the menu and said, "No, it's not animal fat. It's actually a smoked scallop." Han said, "Oh really? Oh then it's pretty delicious actually."
The other appetizers we got to try were the beef tartare and the eggplant caprese. We definitely favored the caprese, which was equal parts crunchy fried eggplant and soft mozzarella.
The real stars of the show, though, were the braised short ribs and the crispy pork belly. Usually "braised anything" is enough to get me out of my seat, and this was no different, although I admittedly did start to wonder if there was such a thing as "too tender." As for the pork belly, Han and I didn't really mean to be rude, but we probably ate like 5 or 6 of these dishes. So much for our "selective omnivore" New Year's resolution!
The restaurant itself was very swanky and it was the first time for both of us to visit. While we were visiting, we heard a lot of good things from other bloggers about the weekend brunches and dinner tasting menu for $38. We are looking forward to our next opportunity to eat here, but that brings up another question for us. Who is the primary clientele here? It's located in the middle of campus and it's apparently not open to the public for lunch. It seems a little nice for the average undergrad or grad student, so who does that leave? The faculty? Guests of the hotel? If you have an answer or a story or an explanation, we hope you'll share it with us below!