By Nancy Marr
Chef Shawn Cirkiel has hit the proverbial jackpot once again with the addition of Chavez, the new Southwestern eatery, to his growing empire. You would never know that just months ago the space was home to a dingy TGI Fridays that was crying for a renovation and a much needed face lift.
The new, open, airy restaurant, designed by talented Austin architect Michael Hsu, is sleek and modern. Floor to ceiling windows overlooking Lady Bird Lake create an open, inviting space to relax, have a drink, and enjoy one of downtown Austin’s best views. Accents like red paneling and bright blue fish tanks shine against the natural wood tables and white chairs throughout the eatery.
The food is nothing less than what one would expect from such a brilliant chef. Since the opening of Parkside, Cirkiel has made a name for himself as one of the best in the “Raw Bar” category. He’s doing the same at Chavez. The menu features an extensive list of ceviche and raw oysters in addition to classic Southwest and Tex- Mex dishes. When it comes to food, quality is key and Cirkiel carries that philosophy into the kitchen at Chavez, as well. You’ll find fresh, local ingredients, from-scratch tortillas and sauces. Coupled with a nice glass of wine from Chavez’s extensive wine list or one of their signature margaritas, you have the makings of a perfect evening right in the heart of our state’s capital.