100 Austin Burgers: Odd Duck
Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm (only time the burger’s available)
Dinner: 5-10pm Sun-Thu; 5-11pm Fri-Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 10.27.16
It’s been almost seven years since I walked up and ordered the whole Odd Duck trailer menu for less than $30. Since then, chef Bryce Gilmore has kept up with the urbanization of South Lamar by converting the Odd Duck trailer into an aromatic cigar box of a restaurant, cased in reclaimed wood and girded with the steel and glass the neighborhood calls for these days. This isn’t trailer food at trailer prices anymore, but Odd Duck hasn’t lost touch with the screened-in wood grill that started it all.
► The Burger: At $16 with no sides, this is one of the most expensive burgers in this series. But that’s the only critical point I can raise, because the result transcends the price. The ingredients themselves are stars: pickled green tomatoes, egg salad spiked with pimento, a dense grind of brisket and ribeye, angel hair onions fried crisp, a spread of emulsified bacon, a yeasty sesame bun baked tawny brown that morning. Working together, they’re unstoppable, a melange of fatty lushness and tart vinegar pickling with one bun to rule them all. ($16)
► On the side: Here, even the simple tater tot is dressed in a vest and vintage work boots, cut into fat casino dice with a sharp and salty armor of pork cracklings and nuggets of firm mushroom. The little $7 bowl carries the aroma and taste of a wood-fired grill, braced by tangy, velveteen mustard bechamel. The runner said it was aerated to make it light, a description that deftly avoided the word “foam.” Because tater tots.
► Wash it down: Odd Duck, like its big brother Barley Swine, keeps about 10 smart draft beers on tap to go with its full cocktail board and short, well-matched wine list. And every four years or so, they get a keg of Avery Election IPA from Colorado. It’s as golden as one candidate’s complexion and as sharply dry as the other’s public persona. But with its deep complexity and big malty substance, there’s no doubt whose side it’s on: yours ($7).