This week takes us to one of our all time favorite spots, The Odd Duck on South Lamar. Not long after starting on this little adventure of ours, we found that much of the best food in town is being served out of trailers. The Odd Duck has been one of our favorite trailers for a long time now. Located on South Lamar, the Odd Duck has a menu that changes daily but features consistently delicious food.
We start this review with what is probably their most popular item: the pork belly sliders. What is pork belly? It is uncured slab bacon. To be clear, by bacon we do not mean strips you buy in the store that cook up nice and crispy. The bacon in this case is cut very thick, and cooked over a wood-fired grill. The result is a piece of pork that is buttery and tender. It comes served on a roll with arugula, fresh aioli, and a pickle. If you've never been to The Odd Duck this is a good item to start with.
Next, we got one of their other most popular items, the goat cheese grits with a soft-boiled duck egg. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of grits, even when they're called polenta. I know, it's almost blasphemous to say such a thing in the South, but there it is. I think what I usually don't like about grits is the gritty texture. That is not the case with this version. The grits are thick and creamy, and the duck egg adds that little extra to push this over the top. I highly recommend this as side to any of their mains.
Personally, I love a good sandwich. I especially love a good sandwich when it includes some type of pork product, so you can imagine how happy I am with the pulled pork sandwich. The pork has a perfect tender texture. It nearly melts in your mouth it is so tender, and has an excellent flavor to go along with that texture. It is served on a toasted baguette with homemade sauerkraut. This sandwich is easily as tasty as it is pretty to look at. This is one of my favorites on the menu.
Finally, we had the roasted beet salad. I have always been a big fan of beets. They have nice sweet-earthy kind of flavor that I have always enjoyed. This salad is made with roasted beets, pecans, cabbage, goat cheese, and a honey vinaigrette. While the flavor of each component is great individually, be sure to get a forkfull of all of the ingredients at once. The flavors meld together perfectly to create one of the better salads that I have ever had.
The portions are on the small side, so they do recommend two to three items per person. How much will this set you back? Not much to tell you the truth. If you were to get two items and a drink, you'd be looking at between $10 to $13. So really, it's no more than going to one of your local nationwide mega-restaurant chains, but the food is of a much higher caliber.
All of the ingredients are sourced fresh from local farms and producers with result being very fresh and vibrant flavors. So much attention is paid to the small details and flavors that few other restaurants in Austin, regardless of price, can compete. It's easy to see that Chef Bryce Gilmore truly loves what he does. As often as I have been to this particular trailer I could easily go on for pages extolling their many virtues, but I'm pretty sure that you all would get sick of it. So let me just finish by saying, if you only go to one food trailer in Austin make it The Odd Duck!
The Austin Food Junkies are Alex Artibee, Matt Braley, and Dave Braley, "Two guys who love food, and one chef, trained at the Texas Culinary Institute." Check out their reviews of other Austin area restaurants on their blog, Austin Food Junkies.