Austin Monthly’s Best New Restaurants (2016)
10 Reasons to Drive to Texas Hill Country… the heated patio is a great place to experience a meal highlighted by sangrias, cheese boards and cured meats….. Even if you’re stuffed from eating your way through town, the roasted mushrooms are worth the drive to Bullfight alone. Break up the jamón-cured egg and stir it into the garlic-spiked mushrooms for a velvety, creamy, earthy party of flavors that demand you soak up every last morsel with toasted bread or anything you can get your hands on.
Chef Shawn Cirkiel transports diners to Spain for classic tapas and an extensive wine list
Opened in September, it’s the fourth restaurant from the Austin-raised chef who serves as one of the biggest touchstones for Austin Dining 2.0. If you play a game of Six Degrees of Shawn Cirkiel, you can create a spider web-like network that ensnares almost every chef of consequence in this town. If a chef hasn’t worked under, over or alongside Cirkiel, one of his current or previous co-workers has. Cirkiel’s demi empire includes Parkside, Backspace and Olive & June. Bullfight draws on Cirkiel’s long-standing interest in Spanish cuisine, which dates back to his first job after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America. While his frequent visits to Spain inform the cuisine, the restaurant helmed by executive chef Ryan Shields (a former sous chef at Olive & June) is not beholden to strict traditions. The result is Spanish food with a New American accent.
The Hottest Restaurants in Austin Right Now
This newcomer to revitalized Airport Boulevard is quickly becoming a favorite….. Executive Chef Ryan Shields wows diners with a menu that is heavy on seafood and inventive with its treatment of vegetables.
The Hottest Restaurants in Austin Right Now…. To enjoy phenomenal Spanish cuisine, you don’t have to go abroad….. ou’ve got what we’d consider a restaurant dream team. We suggest you try the tapas, the wine, and, of course, the cocktails.
The menu doesn’t shy way from the classical Spanish arsenal, including a straightforward paella, padrón peppers, croquettes, jamón Ibérico, gazpacho, and a rustic tortilla on the menu. Another tortilla offering adds squash blossom and sheep’s cheese. Gazpacho takes on sweet summer corn and smoked paprika. Bitter orange is right at home as a glaze for pork ribs. The concept is tapas, but Bullfight eschews overly precious bites in favor of heartier fare. On the dessert side, pastry chef Erica Waksmunski expands her repertoire of classic Americana to include Spanish influences, but her commitment to layered flavor stands.
Bullfight, a new Spanish-style eatery on Airport Boulevard, offers small standout plates like the roasted mushrooms.“Chef Sean Cirkiel’s new Spanish-style tapas restaurant offers such a wonderful happy hour menu that I couldn’t help but stay for dinner. Everything I tasted was delicious, but especially the roasted mushrooms—a blend of four varieties, by my count—with fresh yolk and a salty yet savory ham-infused cured egg.”
No Bull. Shawn Cirkiel’s foray into Spanish cuisine has Austin diners charging the door. Just when it looked like Austin might run out of hot new restaurant row…Cirkiel and his executive chef, 33-year-old Culinary Institute of America graduate Ryan Shields, have aimed the restaurant at a youngish audience whose knowledge of the country comes largely from the travel and food channels…“Shawn and I traveled around Spain and we had wonderful, delicious experiences, but our approach at Bullfight is more to take Spanish ingredients and ideas and apply our techniques and taste to them.” The restaurant calls the approach “modernized.” Another term might be “Austinized.” It’s a realistic reflection of what works in this city at this time in this economy.
Over 100 New Restaurants Opening in Austin this Year…… Bullfight is a neighborhood restaurant inspired by Spain, the perfect mélange of great food, fresh design, and inviting vibe.
Last Friday, we made an impromptu trip to Shawn Cirkiel and the Parkside group’s latest venture: Bullfight. I’ve long anticipated the opening of this Spanish tapas concept. Since traveling in Barcelona years ago, I have yet to have tapas that brought me back to that fun, vibrant fare that stole my heart – until now. The amusing and alluring thing about Spanish tapas is it balances ease, flair, and uncompromising quality of ingredients. It’s somehow casual and fanciful, all at once. From that angle, Bullfight absolutely delivered. Their sangria and cocktails were solid, but I encourage you to opt for their sherry flight and choose your own fortified adventure. If your schedule allows, kick your meal off at happy hour for half-off snacks and cocktails to save a few bucks. Their rustic-chic patio is ideal for the Fall weather. The immensely complex and rich meats paired beautifully with the round & earthy Cortés cocktail (Lustau cream sherry, Acha vermut, orange bitters). Luscious and strikingly sweet corn gazpacho! Likely best dish of the night – roasted mushrooms, garlic, jamón cured egg.