At first, I assumed Feast was all flash, no substance. It looks like a club, all shiny white and clear plastic, house music thumping over the speakers. It’s undeniably cool, like a club where only the most beautiful come to be seen. But when you look at the menu, you see ambition and a bit of quirk. Dishes are ordered by texture — “crispy,” “grilled,” and “melted” among the categories. And when you actually eat the food, you know owner Andrew Goodman cares just as much about what’s being cooked in the kitchen as what’s playing over the speakers.
Feast’s menu is, for the most part, small plates, organized by feel (to the categories above, add “hot” and “chilled”). Goodman says the menu is modern American with Mediterranean touches. It would be more accurate to say the food has a smack of Mediterranean in it. The chicken fingers are served with a coriander cream, but other than the color of it, I couldn’t detect any coriander. The mac ‘n’ cheese has saffron cream, but it’s hard to find beneath the garlic breadcrumbs. Luckily for Feast, the lack of overt Mediterranean influence doesn’t detract from the quality of the food.
The roasted Yukon gold potato chips came dripping with creamy blue cheese béchamel sauce and green onions, tasting and looking like a classy baked potato. The yukons come stacked high on a plate; sharing is encouraged. For every other dish, I’d protect your plate with knife and fork. The beet salad is positively tiny with barely a whole beet on the plate, though it does come with a lot of tart pickled cauliflower and plenty of puckery lemon vinaigrette. The seven-spice barbacoa has a great garlic yogurt atop butter lettuce leaves, but there’s almost more dairy than meat.
It’s a testament to the quality of the food that my biggest complaint was that there was not enough. Or that, despite the portions, I still felt motivated to share it. The brussels sprouts on skewers were resting in a delicate shallot vinaigrette, and I wanted so many more. The ground lamb kebabs came only four to a plate, and I found myself resenting my dining companions for eating their fair share. The super cheesy mac ’n’ cheese disappeared in a few bites (and I was morose until the next dish arrived) — the sauce was loose without being runny, and thick enough to coat without congealing.
Many of the taste combinations were delicious, even sublime. The beautifully cooked pork tenderloin came with a buttery and rich foie gras rice. The aforementioned chicken fingers are labeled as “adult” due to their sophisticated panko crust and solid frying, avoiding the grease and limpness of most fried chicken. But some dishes weren’t as successful. The only dish I didn’t care for in the slightest was the ahi tuna tartar. Chewy pomegranate seeds gave it an unpleasant texture and the pieces of fig lent a bizarre sweetness. The tuna itself is fresh, but its partners on the plate make for an odd combo. The beef and lamb burger wasn’t a complete disappointment, but arrived without any sauces. No matter. The roasted ketchup (which came with the side of French fries) rescued the well-formed but not particularly flavorful meat from dryness.
Multiple small plates add up to a full stomach. But dessert promised more tantalizing flavors. The menu will change seasonally at Feast, so I decided to ignore my bulging stomach on the chance that I might not get the chance to taste them again. The dense chocolate cake with cherry ice cream was pure comfort — warm and gooey. The tobacco bread pudding was perfect, but lacking in any tobacco smell or sharp nicotine taste. Not sure what the tobacco added to the dish, but the allusion to cigars seems to be more for shock value than flavor.
The décor and ambiance might put off some, but the final product here is worth braving even a dozen more plastic chandeliers and a mild volume bump. Feast has hat and cattle, flash and a bit of lightening, too. •
1024 S Alamo
New American cuisine with Mediterranean influences
The pork tenderloin, brussels sprouts and kebabs
Tue-Thu, 5-10pm, Fri-Sat 5-11pm
$5-$17, small plates; $15-19, main courses
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.