The other day, I got the pleasure to dine at Finn & Porter and check out their Summer menu. Dinner was simply fantastic. It might have been one of the most enjoyable dining experiences. Not only was the food delicious, the whole atmosphere, the staff, and company was incredible.
Finn & Porter is in the heart of downtown Austin and hidden at the bottom of the Hilton on 4th street. I will admit that I am not the type to eat at the bottom of my hotel. F&P has to overcome the preconceived notion that “hotel restaurants’ are generic, standard and nothing special. Well, Finn & Porter is no hotel restaurant and does hold something special. Everything, from the staff to the food, blew my mind away.
Chef Peter Maffei brings true talent to the table. When he talks about his food and his career, you can tell that he truly loves what he does. When you eat his food, you’ll see that he is truly a genius at what he does.
He worked hard for his college degree but his ultimate dream was to cook. Even with 80-90 hour work weeks, he is grateful for what he does. Plus, he is just an all-round good guy. Chef was a joy to talk with and he made sure all his guests were taken care of.
His passion is so evident in the food—his dishes are crafted so beautifully. Each time he brought a dish to the table, my heart would jump out of my body in excitement to photograph.
(^me… so very, very happy)
Their Summer menu consists of some real gems. The appetizers that we tried were:
- Grilled Gulf Oysters- sake, siracha tobiko butter, micro celery
- Miso Cured Salmon- green onion, purple potato, Zucchini, miso vinaigrette
- Pan Seared Scallops- shaved Brussels sprouts, bacon dressing
- Jumbo Lump Crab Cake- red pepper celery salad, Old Bay Hollandaise
- Heirloom Tomato- deep ellum blue cheese, aged balsamic, microbasil, red onion
- Chilled Corn Chowder- jumbo lump crab, chive, celery
These oysters were beautiful, I thought there was gold on them. These guys went down smoothly with a slight spicy aftertaste. I can’t say I am the oyster connoisseur—I only built up the courage to eat them a year ago, but I did enjoy these. They were not too fishy and had great flavor.
The Miso Cured Salmon was so delicious. Miso salmon might be one of my favorite dinner items so, of course, I loved it. Any salmon fan would appreciate this dish. The salmon was so buttery, creamy, and it totally melts in your mouth. The miso was lightly dressed on the plate with purple potatoes and zucchini. It’s a smaller dish but was put together so thoughtfully and with so much flavor.
When the Scallops and Lump Crab came out, I pretty much lost my sh*t. Excuse my language, but how beautiful and delicious does this look? I want to eat my computer screen right now.
I dove into the scallops first and paused to just remember the moment. These scallops were an original on the menu and have not left (rightfully so). They were perfectly seared, moist, and fell apart in my mouth. Chef explained that the scallops are actually seared on one side. This allows the other side to be full of the scallop juice, when plated. Plus, it comes with shaved Brussels sprouts in a warm bacon dressing. I refuse to let you leave the restaurant without the scallops.
The crab cake is full of crab chunks and seasoned with basil, red pepper and celery seed. I hate when I get a crab cake with miniscule pieces of crab and mostly bread. Well, this is just the opposite. Minimal bread, maximum crab. Delicious.
The Heirloom Tomatoes surprised me. I am not a huge tomato fan, mostly because they don’t taste like the tomatoes I used to eat from my backyard as a child. But you could tell these tomatoes were incredibly fresh. They were tossed with a little balsamic and tasted just like Summer. There were chunks of bleu cheese and even a bleu cheese foam!
This Chilled Corn Chowder was also beautifully plated and tasted like dessert. The chowder was pretty sweet and tasted almost caramely. And more crab? Sign me up.
So yes, that was just the appetizers. A ‘First Press’ Chardonnay was recommended by our sweet server, Pearl, and I loved it. It carried me through all these dishes quite happily. Also, our server, Pearl, was so helpful, sweet and absolutely hilarious. I hope you get her– she is wonderful.
As for the entrees, we got a taste of:
- Red Snapper- asparagus, cucumber, avocado, spring onion, fennel
- Sea Bass- grilled radish, snap peas, salt roasted baby beet, cucumber
- Lamb Steak Frites- handcut potatoes, rosemary truffle butter
- 7 oz Filet- feta creamed cord, green beans, peppercorn demi
- Ribeye with fried Brussels sprouts
The 2010 Zinfandel, from Rosenblum Cellars, carried me through dinner and I highly, highly recommend that wine. Yeah, I know you’re thinking, how did she eat so much? Well, I’m pretty sure I gained about 20 pounds that night. But so worth it.
This snapper was almost too pretty to eat. My eyes were just in awe. But of course, I ate… and ate more. This was a nice, lighter fish and the avocado/spinach puree beneath was a perfect complement.
And the Sea Bass. Oh my goodness, the sea bass. I don’t know if any words can attest to how incredible it was. Sea bass holds a special place in my heart because it’s my mom’s favorite. I know I will be taking her to F&P and at that moment, she will be the happiest person in Austin.
This was definitely my favorite dish of the night. It was beautifully seared on the top and just melted away with each bite. Just get the sea bass for yourself, and you’ll understand why I am drooling over here.
Next up was the Lamb Steak with truffle fries. As you know, I am not the biggest red meat fan, but luckily I brought a red-meat loving friend. She enjoyed the lamb—it was tender and with the truffle fries? A perfect steak & fries combo. I devoured those truffle fries.
Next we had a nice combo of filet, rib eye and pork chop. The filet was nicely seasoned and both meats were very tender. Despite disliking red meat, I actually enjoyed these!
The feta creamed corn was fantastic. The kernels were sweet and crispy, as if they were fresh shucked from the cob. So indulgent, so comforting, and again, so worth it.
And then came the Brussels sprouts. You MUST to get these, it’s not an option. He tosses the sprouts in a perfectly complemented sweet chili sauce and it is un-freaking-believable. It takes you right to food heaven—I swear, I could drink that sauce all day long.
As if that wasn’t enough, Chef closed the meal with the ever so popular, Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse with banana sorbet and toasted marshmallow.
A delicious dark chocolate enrobed the peanut butter mousse and rested on a puddle of melted marshmallow. The mousse was just like peanut butter that had been whipped into a fluffy cloud and tasted like heaven. And then the banana sorbet was magnificent– it was full of that banana flavor, but paired well with the rich mousse.
Finn & Porter stands out with it’s commitment to presenting flavors in their finest form. The dishes are fresh, well-crafted and delicious. F&P provides an upscale dining experience, equipped with food and service that you deserve to experience.
Now that you have been staring at all this good food, go treat yourself!
- Finn & Porter
- 500 East 4th Street, Austin, 78701
- Hours: Mon – Th 5:00 – 10pm; Fri-Sat 5-11pm; Closed Sunday
- Happy Hour: Mon-Fri, 5-7pm. 1/2 off sushi, appetizers and wines by the glass