Top Chef Paul Qui’s Flagship Restaurant Opens in East Austin

Posted by on Jun 20, 2013

Today marks Austin’s most anticipated restaurant opening of the year.  512’s beloved Top Chef and James Beard Award winner, Paul Qui, unveiled his long awaited project in East Austin.

Paul Qui Restaurant's Opens in Austin by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

qui’s dining room

I had the pleasure of dining and shooting there in the weeks leading up to the opening.  To sum up my experience, I’d describe qui as exquisite, relevant, and progressive.  Without a doubt, each dish and cocktail were thoughtfully planned and meticulously executed.  Just check out the laborious means that bar manager Michael Simon goes to for the cocktails alone.

Cocktails at Qui Restaurant Now Open in Austin by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

Bar manager, Michael Simon hails from Chicago’s Graham Elliot, Acadia, and The Bedford & Carriage House.

It’s relevant in the sense that Qui stayed true to his roots and the city.  His heritage, culinary training, and experiences are artfully manifested in each dish.  Meanwhile, he’s not above serving staples like green tomatoes, catfish, and corn on the cob (with sea urchin, might I add).

After chatting with him, it was refreshing to see that his new-found fame did not inflate his head.  In his words, he’s not about the hype and only sticks to what he’s good at: cooking.  Nevertheless, there will be plenty of merited acclaims coming his way.

Paul Qui Restaurant's Opens in Austin by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

“I’m not about the hype. I’m about delivering good product so as long as the food that comes in from the back door is amazing and my guys are motivated and inspired, that’s what I focus my energy on,” says Paul Qui.

Qui chose to construct the organic feeling restaurant in East Austin instead of posher neigbourhoods.  On one hand, it declares that the Eastside is oh-so ready for this.  On the other, qui is a destination restaurant that beckons diners that would not step foot in this hood otherwise.  Welcome.

So how progressive is the menu?  Qui and his team are forward thinking enough to not go overboard with avant garde presentations or modernist cooking techniques.  There are dabs and dashes of those but quality ingredients and harmonious flavors are ultimately on the forefront.  In other words, they know better than to mess with a good thing.  So for his restrained sensibilities, I thank him.

Paul Qui Restaurant's Opens in Austin by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

Clean, sensual aesthetics paired with unobstructed flavours

Go check out my 2 articles on Serious Eats for more comprehensive looks at qui’s food menu and space and the cocktails by Michael Simon.

Cocktails at Qui Restaurant Now Open in Austin by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

What goes into the drinks is plenty more than meets the eye.

And yes, the restaurant’s name is intentionally spelled in lower case.

QUI
1600 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702

Qui on Urbanspoon

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  • Les_Bergeron

    The presentation is wonderful. I also hope that investment was mad in getting good, quality

    restaurant supply (Austin) equipment. Investing in and maintaining good restaurant equipment can be the difference between a lasting restaurant and one that doesn’t fare well.

  • Hossein Mehrizy

    I love all those dishes which is posted in that Blog … Thanks !

    North Vancouver tour