Austin to welcome 100% plant-based fine dining restaurant this summer

Austin’s food scene will celebrate a first next month. Fabrik, which representatives are calling Austin’s first 100% plant-based fine dining restaurant, will open next to La Plancha at 1701 E. Martin Luther King Blvd. on Aug. 10.

The restaurant—helmed by a chef with experience at Michelin-starred restaurants—will serve a seasonally rotating menu that focuses on Japanese, Nordic and Italian cuisines. The starting menu features hand-shaped parsnip cappelletti pasta with miso butter, caramelized yeast and Szechwan; confit potato with smoked creme fraiche and wakame caviar, a vegan caviar made from seaweed; and sour cherry cheesecake with poached cherries and panna cotta.

The beverage program will feature vegan, biodynamic and organic wines, sake and a range of nonalcoholic options.

The restaurant is aiming to operate as sustainably as possible, representatives said, using locally sourced ingredients, including some from the restaurant’s own hydroponic gardens and some foraged finds. Chefs will also repurpose food scraps and use them to create new dishes.

Fabrik’s space has a comfortable, intimate aesthetic, representatives said, providing only enough room for 16 people in two individual seating windows each night. Guests can either reserve the 6 p.m. window, which features a six-course tasting menu, or the 8:30 p.m. slot, which includes a nine-course menu. Reservations are required and can be made online.

Fabrik’s culinary program is led by co-owner and chef Je Wheeler, who comes with years of experience staging at Michelin-starred restaurants as well as working at vegan and vegetarian spots around the world.

“Our vision for Fabrik was a crossover of fine dining with the warmth of a mom-and-pop restaurant,” Wheeler said in a statement. “We are independently owned and operated, and have really put love into every detail.”

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Nitpicks And Whines: Dining Annoyances

I was excited to go to one of my favorite upscale eateries recently. I was full of happy smiles until I sat down at our table and picked up a menu, ready to peruse its tasty delights.


Thanks to an overhead light that blasted down from behind my head like an airport runway beacon, much of our table was bathed in harsh light. But that light was placed above and  behind me so everything in front of me was lost in dark shadow. 

It was hard to read the menu. It was a struggle to see the food on my plate. And it was really tough to get Instagrammable photos of my food.

I’m not naming or shaming the restaurant. Everything else was great. And I’m pretty sure the bad lighting came from a previous occupant.

So why am I bothering to complain about something so small? That, my friends, is the point of today’s dissertation. When we go out to dine, our expectations are high. An unpleasant surprise – even a relatively trivial one – ramps up the disappointment.

Or maybe I was just being a pill. 

To get a reality check, I sought the advice of the social-media hive mind. How do others feel about minor annoyances that spoil the restaurant mood? What little things harsh your dining mellow?”

Much of our table during a recent dinner was bathed in harsh light. But that light was placed above and behind me so everything in front of me was lost in dark shadow.

More than 200 replies later I had my answer: It’s not just me. Let’s talk about this.

Let there be light, but not too much

Let’s begin with lighting annoyances, since that’s what set me off. My usual heartburn starts when a romantically dim

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