Inside Prélude, the Elegant New Austin Cocktail Bar by Award-Winning Chef Mathew Peters

Texas may not have a Michelin Guide—yet—but the Lone Star State is becoming somewhat of a fine-dining mecca.

Case in point: The chef Mathew Peters, an alum of Per Se and the French Laundry, opens on Thursday a reservation-only cocktail bar in Austin, Eater reported. Called Prélude, the bar is named such because it’s serving as Peters’s first stop on the way to launching his tasting-menu restaurant Maven, set to open its doors late next year.

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Chawanmushi toast
Chawanmushi toast

Until then, diners will have the chance to sample the chef’s cooking at Prélude, where he’s serving up bites to accompany the cocktails. Asian influences are seen in dishes such as chawanmushi toast with uni, ginger, apple, and scallion salad, as well as citrus-cured hamachi with a sesame “cornet,” charred shishito pepper, and avocado puree. Spice is abundant as well: There are masa gougeres with guajillo pepper and chicken “nuggets” with hot sauce.

The drinks, meanwhile, are heavily produce-forward, with Prélude’s signature cocktails encompassing everything from Strawberry + Coconut (tequila blanco, Pinot Grigio, fortified wine, strawberry, coconut, dates, honey, amchur, lime) to Carrot + Oat (apricot brandy, sherry oloroso, Italian herbal liqueur, carrot, oat milk, earl gray). The bar is whipping up its own take on classic drinks like a Negroni and an espresso Martini, and can also make any standby that you may desire.

Quatro Negroni
Quatro Negroni

As for Maven, Peters is still toying with what exactly he wants the restaurant to be. It’ll serve a tasting menu when it first opens, but that may not always be the case. “I do love to be playful with the menus and see what my diners enjoy most, so I could see myself changing the structure over time with new ideas,” Peters told Eater in an email.

As the first and only American to win the coveted Bocuse d’Or, Peters has been an eagerly awaited arrival on the Austin scene. And while gourmands will have to wait quite a bit longer to try his full-scale restaurant, Prélude is a welcome appetizer. The bar will be open from 5 to 11 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and until 1 a.m. Thursday through Sunday. And while anyone can snap up a reservation online, VIP email subscribers receive priority access.

Known best for barbecue and Tex-Mex, the Austin food scene just got a little bit fancier.

Click here to see all the images of Prélude.

Prélude bar
Prélude bar

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