If that's true, I've possibly found my favorite tuna tartare in Austin at Bess Bistro. I'd never been to Bess, and the reviews have always been mixed. Still, Sandra Bullock's place has always been on my "to do" list because frankly, I adore the woman and her philanthropic tendencies and it just so happens I've seen most of her movies more than once, including "Hope Floats." Sue me.
I'd been to Walton's Fancy and Staple (twice), and while I found the food a bit bland, the space and decor are enough to lure me in a third time. And the bakery. And the cute but entirely unnecessary sundries on display. (Unnecessary because, really, who *needs* a $38 soy wax candle?)
Bess was equally alluring in terms of decor; the cozy factor is off the radar, with warm hues of brown and orange complementing the dark wood furniture. Low light and gas light sconces made it feel like a late-night weekend when it was in fact noon on a Tuesday.
As always, my sushi obsession carries over even to non-Asian restaurants when possible. I perused the menu, and though the salads looked incredible and the crab cake was sounding right up my alley, nothing else seemed to exist from the moment I spotted tuna tartare. Because this was a sponsored lunch (read: my employer paid), I didn't hesitate to order a $15.95 entree (thanks, boss!), and I went so far as to ask our waitress to add a petite arugula salad with lemon-thyme vinaigrette. (I'd noticed the arugula salad listed with the crab cake; they were kind enough to add it to lunch at no extra cost.)