Sway Thai Now Open On South 1st

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78704 is the new 78701 for Austin’s best chefs and restaurants. Long after Uchi and Vespaio led the charge, finer dining continues to expand throughout the South 1st and South Lamar corridors as restauranteurs attempt to stay central but avoid downtown rents.

The latest of these is Sway, a “modern Australian-style Thai” concept from owners Jesse Herman and Delfo Trombetta. If those names are familiar to you, it is likely because they’re the same team behind 2nd Street interior Mexican stalwart La Condesa. Herman and Trombetta have also brought along executive chef Rene Ortiz and pastry whiz Laura Sawicki from the La Condesa team to oversee the new project, which is helmed by chef de cuisine Alexis Chong. Over two years in the making, the finished space (designed by Michael Hsu) is dark, dramatic, and welcoming: large wooden communal tables and an open “theater” kitchen dominate the room, with a bar off to one side as well as a spacious patio with several huge tables. The Thai flavors on offer aren’t a new concept for Ortiz; he spent time earlier in his career cooking Thai food in Sydney.
In only a week of operation, Sway has already hosted visits from Robert Rodriguez and Rachael Ray, so it would be fair to say there’s some good buzz for the new spot. Dining options are plentiful at the space: patrons can order from the a la carte menu (starters $6-10, mains $15-19) or can select from one of two daily tasting menus priced at $35 and $45. Early standouts from the soft opening included chicken wings with chili tamarind caramel, fish sauce, and basil and the som tam, a green papaya salad with thai red chili, cucumber, and tamarind. Chefs Ortiz and Chong are thankfully not afraid of spice, and the spice and heat of Thai food weren’t reined in or sold short on the dishes we sampled during a test night. The som tam in particular sent us in search of some cooling kombucha – which Sway serves as a house blend made by Austin’s Kosmic.
Sway’s beverage menu focuses on Asian and Australian beers and a small but well-curated selection of about two dozen global wines, about half of which are available as glass pours. There is also a lengthy selection of sakes and teas on offer, as well as coffees and drinking vinegars. During our visit, a Biohof Pratsch grüner veltliner and the Austin Hope “Troublemaker” from Paso Robles stood out as by-the-glass wines that could stand up to the big flavors of the dishes.
Sway is now open from 11am daily – closing times vary by day. They currently accept reservations for large parties (8 or more) only. For more information, call 512-326-1999.

From: http://austinist.com/2012/12/14/food_sway_thai_now_open_on_south_1s.php