“Cooking is about using the ingredients around you and making food that’s right for the climate,” explains Elizabeth Street Café chef-owner Tom Moorman at last night’s SAVEUR Supper.
It makes sense then that Moorman and his co-owner Larry McGuire chose to expand their Austin, Texas-based McGuire Moorman Hospitality (MMH) empire with a French-influenced Vietnamese restaurant. After all, the famous Austin Mexican food the two grew up on shares loads of ingredients—cilantro, jalapeños, lime—with Vietnamese food, which, as Moorman noted, is also popular throughout Texas.
Beyond flavors, there’s also a similar method of eating between the two cultures that make them ideal for warm-weather feasting. Hot, savory, rich dishes are offset with garnishes of fresh herb that allow every bite to juxtapose textures and temperatures. Take for example Moorman and McGuire’s first course of soft, steamed rice rolls nestling Gulf shrimp but topped with crunchy puffed rice and fresh herbs; or the crispy beef rib given acidity and brightness from a chili-garlic nuoc mam and crunch from basil and other Vietnamese herbs.
A highlight of the meal—executed by Moorman, McGuire, and the group’s executive chef Jedd Adair—was the bun bo Hue, a central Vietnamese noodle soup that is markedly different from the more familiar pho. Thick and spicy, it’s typically made with beef bones, lemongrass, and chile pastes. Non-traditionally, the ESC chefs use a tomato paste to help replicate the soup’s brick-red hue. (Find their recipe for bun bo Hue and other dishes in the soon-to-be-released Elizabeth Street Café cookbook).
We washed down the food with rosé, specifically the super crush-able June’s Rosé Brut Traisental from Austria, created by the group’s master sommelier June Rodil (one of MMH’s most critically-acclaimed venues is June’s All Day, named, fittingly, after Rodil). For our supper, she also shook up original cocktails including a gin and beet-infused sake number made with Bombay Sapphire and a margarita variation fusing blanco tequila with Pierre Ferrand curaçao, lime, and sambal.
Capping off dinner was pastry chef Jennifer Tucker’s Vietnamese coffee pot de creme with a chocolate chip macaron and, in traditional Vietnamese fashion, a Vietnamese coffee with roast provided by Stumptown.
The Elizabeth Street Café cookbook comes out October 23rd. Buy it here and shop for other MMH merch here.
From left to right: Chef-owners Tom Moorman and Larry McGuire along with pastry chef Jennifer Tucker plate salads for service. Matt Taylor-Gross While the chefs prepped their first course, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour with drinks crafted by master sommelier June Rodil, including her house rosé and cocktails featuring Bombay Sapphire gin and Pierre Ferrand orange curacao. Matt Taylor-Gross Tofu spring rolls were served as starters. Matt Taylor-Gross From left to right: Cookbook author Julia Turshen, writer JJ Goode, and Editor-in-Chief Adam Sachs pose for a photo. Matt Taylor-Gross
Hawa Hassan, author Klancy Miller, and publicist Becca Parrish are a striking trio. Matt Taylor-Gross From left to right: McGuire Moorman Hospitality communications director Alex Reichek, PAPER Magazine social media editor Jake Greene, Surface Magazine’s Jenn Parker, and SAVEUR deputy digital editor Dan Q. Dao Matt Taylor-Gross Air France-KLM brand marketing manager Chris Le and SAVEUR Director of Partnerships James LaRusso raise a glass to a wonderful evening. Matt Taylor-Gross The first course included a cold beef tendon dish with fish-sauced pickled peppers. Matt Taylor-Gross And this escargot with Thai basil-curry butter. Matt Taylor-Gross And who could forget these steamed rice rolls nestling gulf shrimp, topped with puffed rice, and seasoned with a coconut-vinegar ponzu? Matt Taylor-Gross We’re obsessed with master sommelier June Rodil’s house rosé, shipped in from Austria exclusively for our dinner. Matt Taylor-Gross From left to right: baker-entrepreneur Krystal Mack, author Klancy Miller, author Julia Turshen, and Mission Chinese Food chef Angela Dimayuga gather for a selfie. Matt Taylor-Gross Emily Takoudes of Phaidon and SAVEUR Editor-in-Chief Adam Sachs chat about the meal. Matt Taylor-Gross Wall Street Journal columnist Kitty Greenwald and SAVEUR test kitchen associate Kat Craddock smile for a picture. Matt Taylor-Gross Attendees take a few snaps of chef Tom Moorman in action. Matt Taylor-Gross The night’s main course included this spectacular crispy beef rib with roasted chili and garlic nuoc mam. Matt Taylor-Gross Pastry chef Jennifer Tucker whipped up a Vietnamese coffee pot de creme with chocolate chip macarons. Matt Taylor-Gross Stumptown Coffee Roasters came through with their Kenya karimikui, grand cru coffee, prepared Vietnamese style with condensed milk. Matt Taylor-Gross Writer-author Stan Parish, chef Rob Newton, writer Alexis Cheung, and SAVEUR Editor-in-Chief Adam Sachs are all smiles for Elizabeth Street Café. Matt Taylor-Gross From left to right: McGuire Moorman Hospitality’s Larry McGuire and Tom Moorman pose with SAVEUR Editor-in-Chief Adam Sachs after a successful SAVEUR Supper. Matt Taylor-Gross