Thursday, June 18, 2015

Getting Peached at the Peached Tortilla Brick & Mortar

I've been a big fan of the Peached Tortilla and its owner, Eric Silverstein, ever since the Peached truck rolled into Austin five years ago. So much of Eric's story and his food resonates with me; for me, the flavors at Peached are both deeply comforting and also new and exciting. And now that Eric has gone brick & mortar within walking distance of my house, I find myself "getting Peached" on a much more regular basis. If I were ever able to tackle the daunting task of naming my favorite restaurants in Austin, I feel sure that Peached Tortilla would make my short list.

The Dish I Always Order there is the Lush Pork Belly Bowl ($13). "Lush" is such an appropriate word for this meal, which satisfies at the deepest level - wonderfully unctuous pork belly and rich, runny, 45-minute egg are balanced by the best kim chi in town (made in-house and delightfully stinky) and pickled daikon & carrots, all served over a lovely bed of rice.

Peached Tortilla 8

There's also a Blistered Catfish Bowl ($12), which pairs unagi-style catfish with that egg atop Japanese pickles and charred wasabi napa, but...I always get the pork belly version.

Peached Tortilla 7

Every once in a while (but not often), I feel like trying something a little different. On my last visit, I was craving fried finger food and ordered up their Kimchi Arancini Balls ($7). This is such a wonderful example of taking the best parts of different cuisines and melding them together into something altogether new - the cheesy, Sicilian arancini I've had in the past have nothing on this spicy kim chi version served with wasabi & sriracha aioli.

Peached Tortilla 3

I further sated my fried finger food craving with an order of Peached's Crispy Umami Chicken Wings ($9). The complex mix of flavors on these meld together just right, yielding perfectly piquant results. However, if you're on a first date, you might want to wait until next time to order these; they are really best eaten caveman-style, out of view from polite company.

Peached Tortilla 4

On my most recent visit, Eric generously treated me to an order of the Hangar Steak Ssam ($19). The steak is prepared in a sous vide machine, so it is very tender and full of beefy flavor. The steak is served with kim chi, lettuce, rice, and one of my favorite condiments, gochujang, so you can assemble little lettuce wraps. A part of me wanted to skip the healthy lettuce and just eat the steak, kim chi, and gochujang over rice, making this into a steak version of the pork belly bowl I love so much, but I was good this time and ate it with the lettuce.* No promises about next time, though!

Peached Tortilla 5

I don't have any decent photos of cocktails from Peached, but let me assure you that their bar is top notch. Bar manager Kevin Kok and his team not only have a deft hand at drink-mixing, but they're the kind of bar staff that makes every person at the bar feel like a cherished regular. Last time I was there, I sat alone at the bar, trying to shake off a particularly trying day, and by the time I left, my mood had lifted considerably. Great folks.

Best of all? Considering the high quality ingredients and the obvious care and thought that goes into preparing this food, the price point at Peached is more than reasonable. The entrées top out at $19, with most items being in the $9-$14 range. I not infrequently pay more for meals I enjoy much less, whereas I always leave Peached feeling fulfilled in a sense that means more than just "no longer hungry." Go get Peached yourself and you'll see what I mean.

5520 Burnet Rd, Ste 100
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 330-4439

*Yes, I do realize how pathetic it is that I referred to a few leaves of lettuce as the "healthy" part of my meal. Apologies to my cardiologist.


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