Counter 3 Five VII is one of Austin’s hottest new fine dining restaurants, bringing us an exciting counter-style dining concept in the form of three, five, or seven courses. Opened several weeks ago with Chefs Lawrence Kocurek (formerly of Trace) and Eric Earthman, this intimate 24 seat restaurant wows the diner with seasonal cuisine carefully prepared and plated beautifully.
From the second you walk into the space between Swift’s Attic and The Elephant room, you’re wowed by their bar at the front of the house, decorated in moody hues and paintings by Patrick Fagerberg. This is an excellent place to have a drink pre-dinner, or stop in for happy hour and enjoy a charcuterie and cheese plate while you have some wine or beer
I went a few weeks ago while I was doing a food cleanse, and they were able to accommodate my vegan diet for the five courses I chose because I called ahead and made the request. The food was still incredible regardless.
Dining here feels like you’re a guest at a chef’s home as you can watch them prepare and cook each and every single dish in front of you, then they serve you each course as they explain to you what it is. It’s a new form of dining that’s pretty quickly becoming popular, and this concept is the first of its kind in Austin.
Rather than having one chef dictate what is on the menu, the team of chefs brain storm and collaborate on the menu, which is unique as well. All of the chefs are salaried (another rarity in the restaurant world), and rather than leave gratuity, an 18% service charge is added to the check for the staff to share.
The staff at Counter 3 Five VII is comprised of three chefs, a pastry chef, a sommelier and sommelier assistant, plus the maître d’ and that’s it! If you have a chance to eat here, you have to splurge and do the wine pairings. The Level III Sommelier, Jason Huerta, is incredibly knowledgeable and takes the time to explain the wine pairing with each course and fills you in on why he made that specific choice. It’s incredibly refreshing as well as educational, and adds to the whole dining experience.
One other fun and unique thing about Counter 3 Five VII is that its the only restaurant in Austin that utilizes the Urban Cultivator–an indoor growing system that is used to cultivate and grow the restaurant’s greens every day. Over the course of our dinner I saw Chef Lawrence go to it several times, it’s neat to be able to have freshly cut greens with every course.
Overall the dining experience was fabulous and the food was delicious. I was impressed at how innovative each dish was, even my own since I was eating all vegan courses. They have everything on the menu, from seafood such as prawns and swordfish, to meats like boar, bison, duck, the list goes on an on. One dish I was particularly impressed with was their blood sausage boudin, even though I didn’t try it Ashley said it was delicious.
One of my favorites was a “pho” soup that they made with shaved leeks rather than noodles, the flavor was bright and beautiful and it had a bit of a kick from the jalapeño.
One other thing worth noting as well is that the dishes for one tasting menu aren’t included on the other two tasting menus. This means they have at least 15 different dishes, and they’re good about asking if the diner has any food allergies or dietary restrictions before they begin to cook, and they’ll also make sure to know if there is an ingredient or protein you’re not particularly fond of, so that they don’t serve it to you.
Reservations for Counter 3 Five VII are recommended, however they accept walk-ins if they’re not super busy. A reservation is not needed to have drinks and charcuterie in their bar area. If you’ve had a chance to go to Counter 3 Five VII, let me know what you thought about it in the comments below.
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