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Foreign & Domestic

4.7 655 votes

306 E 53rd Street

(512) 459-1010

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Jane Mesa Last updated on Jul 28, 2023 by

Since 2017, owners and chefs Sarah Heard & Nathan Lemley have turned Foreign & Domestic into the quintessential neighborhood hangout! This spot has 47 seats of indoor dining, including counter seats, as well as an outdoor lounge area with comfy seating. The menu here focuses on all things local, while showcasing the savory & unique flavors of Texan cuisine. The menu does change seasonally, but you’ll always be able to find their signature Gruyere & Black Pepper Popovers as well as an array of handmade pastas like gnocchi, rigatoni, and campanelli. 

We decided to check out Foreign & Domestic on a Wednesday night for dinner. Walking in, I noticed the vibe immediately. It’s small without feeling cramped or chaotic. Throughout the meal, my husband and I noted that it had the best soundtrack of any restaurant we’ve been to so far. The kitchen is set up behind the lunch counter and several well-loved cookbooks line shelves on the back wall. Having a 6:15 pm reservation, we arrived at the end of Happy Hour, but our server quickly put in our drink, appetizer, and salad order so we could take advantage of the half priced drink and food specials. I have to go back for a proper Happy Hour experience, but this was a brilliant introduction. For drinks, I ordered the Grenache-Cinsault Rosé ($12 regular price, $6 Happy Hour)and my husband ordered the Sémillion Villard ($14 regualr, $7 Happy Hour). The rosé was fruity and dry, which is a combination I love. Bert’s wine was sweet and fruity, just like he likes it.

I can't get these flavors out of my head!

Everything I read about Foreign & Domestic talked about how legendary and delicious the Gruyere & Black Pepper Popovers ($8 regular price, $4 Happy Hour) are, so of course that was a part of our appetizer order. These mammoth size popovers are like little cathedrals of flavor inside. The exterior is perfectly flakey, buttery, and the black pepper adds a punch of flavor complemented by the topping of Gruyere cheese. As simple as butter, bread, and cheese may sound, the complexity of flavors within this popover make this a signature item at Foreign & Domestic. We also ordered the Green Tomato & Peach Carpaccio as well as the Texas Peach & Pecan Salad from the Happy Hour menu. The Green Tomato & Peach Carpaccio ($13)came highly recommended by one of our servers. This brightly flavored dish is thinly sliced green tomatoes and fresh peaches flavored with black tea, tamarind, pork, and stracciatella. The black tea balanced out the acidic tartness of the green tomato, bringing out more of the earthy flavors of that fruit. With the crisp peaches and the crumbled pork on the top, this was a mind-blowingly great recommendation. The Texas Peach & Pecan Salad ($6 Happy Hour price) was equally delicious. I couldn’t help but indulge in all the peach options I could from the menu. The smooth butter lettuce, the crisp peaches, and the candied pecans are a brilliant combination of texture and flavors in one bite tossed in a creamy and tangy dressing.

Foreign & Domestic's amazing & delicious hand-made pastas!

For our entrees, we both went for pasta dishes. My husband ordered the Rigatoni with Pork Ragout, Pecorino, & Pistachios ($26). The house-made rigatoni is hearty and holds up with the pork ragout. The pistachios added a nice crunch and the cheese on top made this possibly one of our new favorite comfort foods in Austin. I ordered the Tomato Leaf Risotto ($25), which was as pretty as it was delicious. The risotto was both creamy and bright, with light yet complex flavors. It came topped with tomatoes and greens. Both pasta dishes were very large portions, so we had some delicious leftovers the next day!

Peep that perfect little heart shaped strawberry on top of the Fenugreek Yogurt!

When it came time to order dessert, I looked at our server Nathan and said “Bring us your favorite dessert here”. Not to spoil the end for you, but Nathan has EXCELLENT taste when it comes to dessert! He brought out the Fenugreek Yogurt with buttermilk foam, strawberry, and puffed rice ($8). Every component of this flavor collection made this the perfect dessert. It was creamy without being heavy, sweet, and with a dash of salt and texture with the puffed rice.  

Foreign & Domestic was such a fun and fresh date night for us, that I can’t wait to go back for Brunch, Happy Hour, or really any time of the day. 

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