Food & Drink

Putting local in the W

You can never be assured of quality unless you visit the source, though to avoid hard feelings you should probably also visit Vibe and XXL. Making sure they're getting the best of regional goodness: Trace

Nestled into the newly opened W Hotel, Trace boasts contemporary American cuisine with ingredients procured by an on-staff "forager" who personally visits each Cen-Tex supplier, from our own Springdale Farm to Round Rock's G&S Groves; designed by a cast of Austinites, the space features touches like fragmented-mirror mosaics, light fixtures evoking sea urchins, and booths upholstered with crushed-gray-velvet, which is just sad it'll never know the warm comfort of the inside of Dennis Hopper's mouth. Affixed to locally reclaimed barnwood, the menus feature entrees like the Beef Duo (grilled ribeye, braised short rib, salsify, wild mushrooms), Lamb Shank (rustic potatoes, onion fondue, chorizo, oregano), and house-made pappardelle with black olives, rosemary, and ragu of wild boar obtained from Ingram's Broken Arrow Ranch, where the cows say "Woo". Lunch kicks off with the likes of Curried Squash Soup (whipped mozz, guanciale, shaved green apple) and a charcuterie board from Niederwald's Salt and Time, then moves on to heavier stuff like the Grilled Shrimp Tartine (shrimp from San Miguel Seafood, Boston lettuce, potato, red onion, hard-boiled egg, herb vinaigrette) and the Grilled Brisket Steak, cooked sous-vide for six hours and served with paprika Hollandaise, duck-fat potatoes, and spinach custard -- so you'll be strong to a finish that, thanks to the custard, should be around your 48th birthday

In addition to eats, they're rocking two bars with adjoined "living rooms" (one with a gigantic wall of vinyl records) in which to sip specialty cocktails like the lime/basil/strawberry Black Peppercorn Martini, made with gin and vodka -- so if you can't get any hard feelings, you'll know the problem's source.