The Austin City Limits food court has long been home to the more casual fare of the city’s fine-dining restaurants. It’s a chance for the establishment to create one-of-a-kind, off the menu dishes that will not only be enticing to festival goers’ taste buds, but will be relatively simple to eat as well. A recent success story that comes to mind is that of Hudson’s on the Bend, whose ACL foray into the food of the everyman led to the creation of food trailer The Mighty Cone on South Congress. This year was no exception.
Over the weekend I was able to sample the made-for-festival creation of award-winning French restaurant Aquarelle. They had scheduled to temporarily stop service at the restaurant for the duration of ACL; I figured any restaurant willing to put forth that kind of effort must produce some pretty killer festival grub.
And that they did. The “Steak N’ Frit” sandwich was meaty concert-food perfection, layered with crispy, cheese-sprinkled black pepper fries and topped with housemade garlic aioli. All of this was put inside a mini-baguette for you to enjoy one-handed–although I ended up using my other hand to hold the paper tray it came in so as not to lose a fry, or worse, some sliced steak. While the baguette turned out to be a bit stale, the overall sandwich was served warm, something that other fine-dining competitors failed to accomplish (I’m looking at you, Bess Bistro). For now this sandwich seems to only be available once a year at ACL, but here’s to hoping that Aquarelle will decide to go the way of Hudson’s on the Bend.