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TRACE at W Hotel in downtown Austin

4.7 776 votes

200 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701

(512) 542-3600

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Ivan Collins Last updated on May 26, 2022 by

Trace is located inside the W Hotel in downtown Austin on 2nd Street. While I’ve never stayed at this particular W, I have stayed in the NYC Financial District as well the W in Amsterdam, which were also very modern, stylish, and hip locations. The Austin W Hotel appears to be even more of an upscale experience than those locations and Trace matches the energy perfectly.

The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating with a small bar on the inside and live music playing outside while we dined. The indoor seating includes elegant chairs, posh booths, mirrored walls and modern chandelier lighting. The outdoor seating features large outdoor umbrellas providing shade over tables, plenty of space, all organized around a rock garden where a band can set up a stage. We sat outdoors and the breeze gliding through the downtown buildings helped keep us cool on an unseasonably warm May evening.

Patio Seating at Trace

The Menu at Trace
The menu is short and I find that compelling in most scenarios, but would have liked to have seen a few more entrees on this one. Collectively our group ordered nearly everything on the small plates, sides, and salads list. The small plates included Smoked Shrimp and Tasso Grits ($18), Smoked Crab Dip ($15), and Crispy Brussel Sprouts ($9).  These were all fantastic with each being somebody’s favorite at the table. As a fan of brussel sprouts, these were individual leaves peeled and fried and then tossed in bourbon apple glaze with some pecorino cheese on top giving it a crispy salad feel. Along with the small plates, we ordered Bourbon Carrots as a side and two salads, a Tomato and Cucumbers, which fit the warm evening nicely and a Kale Salad with tahini dressing that was a table favorite. Both salads were reasonably priced at $15 each.

Smoked Crab Dip at Trace

Entrees and Desserts
Next up we ordered a Grilled Faroe Salmon ($28) that looked great, but I wasn't quick enough to get a bite, so I suppose that says something in itself. I ordered the Smoked Pork Tenderloin ($35) and shared that with a friend who ordered the 12 oz New York Strip ($38) so we could try both flavors. The NY Strip was cooked perfectly medium rare with a large pink center and came with some crushed baked potato that was baconed and buttered up nicely. The tenderloin lived up to its namesake being one of the most tender versions I’ve tried. It could be easily cut with a fork, but was already cut into small medallions and laid over crispy Brussel sprouts with Dijon coated onions on top. Everyone enjoyed their entrees and we finished it off with 3 desserts: Strawberry Crisp ($9), Buttermilk Chess Tart ($9), and Key lime Pie Martini ($16). The martini stood out the most, tasting exactly like key lime pie but delivering a final cocktail for the evening that left us with a good taste in our mouths and a smile for the Uber ride home.

Pork Tenderloin at Trace

Trace is fantastic for the stylish vibe and accompanying live dinner music. The menu is well prepared and reasonably priced, but perhaps a little light on variety. If you’re sitting outside during the live music, it can be tricky to hear dinner conversation at times. But the entertainment was excellent with a meal that hit all our sweet spots. We'll definitely be back for more. Trace currently feature live music on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6-9pm. 

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