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Dinner at Congress

Chef David Bull’s Inspired Menu

Photography by Casey Dunn

“Congress restaurant was built for the community and city that we live in – it provides a very specific need that people have to celebrate and enjoy the special in everyday life,” said Executive Chef David Bull. “We feel it represents Austin because it offers an exceptional dining experience while still remaining casual. Congress works because we all love what we do, we take the responsibility very seriously and we enjoy celebrating everyday life with great food and wine.“

The menu below is Chef David Bull’s recommendation for an evening at Congress, with accompanying wine pairings from June Rodil.

First Course:

American Ossetra Caviar · Carrot-Citrus Mousse · Dill
Louis Roederer Premier Brut · Champagne, France NV

Second Course:

Hamachi Sashimi · Avocado · Grapefruit · Turnip · Chive
Ginga Shizuku Divine Droplets
Junmai Daiginjo · Hokkaido, Japan

Third Course:

Yellow Tail Snapper · Spring Peas
Golden Potatoes · Meyer Lemon · Pistachio
Simon Bize et Fils · Les Champlains ·
Chardonnay · Burgundy, France 2008

Fourth Course:

Beef Short Rib Ravioli · Burrata
Bordelaise · Tarragon Bread Crumbs
Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande · Douro, Portugal 2002

Fifth Course:

Ribeye Cap · Pomme Puree
Espresso Rub · Smoked Caramel
Terra Valentine Spring Moutain District · Cabernet Sauvignon · Napa, California 2007

Sixth Course:

Challerhocker Cheese · Beer Nuts
Caraway Stout · Mostardo
Rare Wine Company Boston Bual · Madeira NV

Seventh Course:

Chocolate Terrine · White Chocolate
Crispy Gianduja · Raspberry · Hazelnut
Lustau East India Solera Sherry · Jerez, Spain NV

About the pairings:

“When pairing wines with Chef Bull’s tasting menu, my main goal is to allow each dish to shine its brightest,” said Beverage Director and Sommelier June Rodil. “The wine should be the supporting actor that elevates the protagonist (the dish) into the spotlight…”

Course 1:

Champagne and Caviar is classic. The spherical bursts of flavor of the caviar are mirrored in the mousse-like bubbles of the Roederer. Plus, Champagne is never a bad choice to start off the meal. It’s fun and wakes up the palate with its lighting-like lift.

Course 2:

Raw, sashimi grade fish is delicate and pristine. It’s important to find a wine (or beverage in this case) that doesn’t over-power the dish. Divine Droplets tastes like the purest rainwater, tinged with anise and fresh pineapple and enhances the ethereal nature of the Hamachi.

Course 3:

The snapper dish is open and fresh, like a new spring day. The green notes and Meyer lemon enhance the beautiful fish, so I chose a wine that enhances the green peas and Meyer lemon – a citrus, mineral driven chardonnay from Burgundy.

Course 4:

Comforting and nostalgic, the beef short ribs calls for something easy to drink, but powerful enough to stand up to rustic short rib, bordelaise and creamy burrata. Casa Ferreirinha (a Portuguese red blend) is an older vintage (‘02), so it drinks smoother, but still has rich fruit and rugged earth components to match the dish.

Course 5:

Red meat + Napa Cabernet = Paul Newman. It’s just classic and ageless. The sweet, succulent, sun – kissed fruit matches with the mid-palate sweetness of the smoked caramel and complements the bitterness of the espresso.

Course 6:

Something a little playful here. Madera (fortified wines from the Madera Islands, near Portugal) is off-dry and mirrors the whimsy of salty-sweet cheese and beer nuts. The saltiness enhances the richness of the cheese, and the sweet, nutty note plays well with the beer nuts.

Course 7:

It sounds crazy, but you need something really rich with chocolate. It has to be balanced in sweetness and weight, or the chocolate tastes astringent and bitter. Sweeter style Sherries are perfect and have a dried fruit component that goes wonderfully with white chocolate as well.

Reservations Recommended:

200 Congress Avenue

Dinner served:

Tuesday-Thursday, 6 p.m-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 6 p.m.-11p.m.






  1. Sounds divine. You had me at champagne and caviar, but the rest would put you in the “one of the best dates ever” category.

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