Like nearly every other neighborhood in Austin, Rainey Street has seen it’s transformation into a diverse collection of modern day venues boasting elevated craft cocktails and chef driven cuisine, served inside architecturally contrived restaurants, high rise condos, a boutique hotel and giant storage containers converted in to the latest hipster bar. I might sound slightly sarcastic but I promise I’m not bitter. On the contrary, Rainey’s cuisine has been elevated to a new level of distinction and splendor with the arrival of Emmer and Rye.
Helmed by Owner and Executive Chef Kevin Fink, Emmer and Rye serves a seasonal, rustic-inspired, American contemporary menu. The restaurant makes every effort to use whole animals sourced from local ranches and farms, limiting to what’s available at at periods throughout the year. Fink uses non-GMO heirloom grains, milling them all in-house daily to create flour for breads and pastries.
Much like their dinner service, brunch offers a component of their signature dim sum style service via a circulating pastry cart as a starter. The cart filled with scrumptious, handmade treats from Pastry Chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph. The cart includes house favorites like Persimmons Roll Cakes with crème fraiche, Orange Marmalade Tea Scones; and Fruit Tarts made with a chestnut flour shell, lemon curd, and merengue – all made fresh by the hour.
Emmer and Rye’s full menu is a bit of a shift from the typical institutional Benedict-of-the-week-brunch most are accustomed to eating. If you’re looking for the latest fried chicken and waffles or Eggs Benedict dish to post on Instagram you’re in the wrong place. I don’t want to sound like I’m knocking on anyone’s decorum of brunch standards, but chef Fink’s ambitious and inventive menu offers a refreshing revision to Austin’s chef driven brunch scene. It raises the bar on so many levels, boasting rustic American contemporary creations that brings the romance back to a chef-driven brunch service.
Polenta and Charred Kale
With mushroom confit, topped with a soft poached egg.
Soft Scrambled Eggs
With pork sausage hash, garlic chive and Sourdough Toast is easily my favorite and one of the most popular dishes of the entire menu. The dish is so popular that there’s only one person in the kitchen assigned to it’s preparation during the entire brunch service.
Braised Lamb Sandwich
Braised Lamb with carrot top chimicurri, fresh greens and fried farm egg.
Creme Brulee Toast
With whipped creme fraiche, Steen’s cane syrup.
Sea Island Pea Shashuka
With egg, fennel, turnips, tomato and Rotti.
Emmer & Rye boasts 160 seats in the restaurant and features different dining options, including bar seating, a chef’s table, outdoor seating, a main dining room, and a 14-seat private dining room.