Jezebel, Bar Mirabeau set for September

By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 06.17.12
UPDATED 10.01.12: Restaurant Jezebel will open Oct. 31. Read more
UPDATED 08.23.12: Restaurant openings are not a precise business. Chef-owner Parind Vora has set a new date for the opening of Bar Mirabeau: Sept. 23. Jezebel will follow about a month later, he said.
UPDATED 07.18.12: The latest word from chef-owner Parind Vora is that Bar Mirabeau will open Sept. 15. Restaurant Jezebel should open about a month after that, Vora said.
When the ad went up on Craigslist in the wee hours on Saturday, Parind Vora made another step toward bringing back his Restaurant Jezebel, a project that will be joined by another concept called Bar Mirabeau to share the space being carved out for him in the new Cirrus Logic building on West Sixth.
The ad (see it here) is a Monday cattle call for cooks, servers, hostesses, bartenders, bussers — the whole starter kit — for Bar Mirabeau’s seven-day operation that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner on one side, and Jezebel, with dinner service six nights a week. Vora said he plans to have Bar Mirabeau open by Labor Day on Sept. 3, with Jezebel to follow a few weeks after that.
The project marks a return to downtown for Vora, whose original Jezebel on Congress Avenue burned in 2010. Since then, he’s opened Braise on East Sixth Street (called Jezebel Jr. behind his back) and a wine bar called Simplicity, which he sold last year.
But neither of those projects carried the weight of Jezebel, which stood among Austin’s best two or three restaurants, drawing from Vora’s Indian, European and tropical influences. As critic for the Statesman, I was one more visit away from reviewing Jezebel before the fire stole my chance to write about escargot in garlic balsamico, roasted chicken stuffed with brie and walnuts in vanilla-shoyu gastrique, lobster bisque and a dessert of foie gras and mango coulis. It was like eating in New Orleans at one of those Old World high-tone places just off the main tourist drag.
The new Jezebel, where Vora will be the chef, will focus on prix-fixe dinners of three, four or seven courses for $75, $85 and $125 respectively — the same pricing as before the fire. For perspective, Wink does five courses for $68 and seven for $98. David Bull’s Congress does three for $75, seven for $125. It’s clear where Jezebel’s targets are set. To stir the waters further, Jezebel will join a market in which the upstart Lenoir is plating three well-executed courses for $35.
On the more modest side of the new West Sixth Street project, Bar Mirabeau has adopted Texas historical icon Mirabeau B. Lamar as its disheveled mascot.  The restaurant — which in addition to its wider audience will serve Cirrus employees as one of the nicer lunchrooms in town — will offer breakfast and lunch on the weekdays, with dinner seven days a week plus late-night and dinner Monday-Friday. Mirabeau’s kitchen will be overseen by Bill McGrory, who cooked at Taste Select Wines and Taverna in Austin and worked for Tom Colicchio and Bobby Flay before that.
Highlights from the menu at Bar Mirabeau include nightly blue plates for $19.95 with steak frites, almond-crusted trout and pork chops over low-country grits, among others. The lineup includes grilled pizzas, house-made breads and pastries, a raw seafood bar and a coffee bar with gelato. Vora intends to roll out desserts and antipasti on carts, like a twist on urban dim sum. And this: a burger topped with a chile relleno, enchilada sauce and fried tortillas.
(TOP: Renderings of Bar Mirabeau by the Lauck Group. INSET: Restaurant Jezebl on Congress Avenue in 2009. Chef/owner Parind Vora at Jezebel after the fire in 2010 and a dish of chicken with brie and walnuts in vanilla-shoyu gastrique. Photos by Mike Sutter.