Sway is one of several trendy restaurants to open up shop in South Austin on South 1st street. The street itself lies between the two better known corridors of South Congress Avenue and South Lamar Blvd, both of which have been remodeled considerably in recent years and are losing their "keep austin weird" personality.
Sway was created by Hospitality holdings who first made a splash with La Condesa in downtown Austin and are connected to other restaurant hits like Qui and Otoko. Some may not realize they're also responsible or the South Congress Hotel and all the restaurants inside. That's quite the resume and it shows in the fine touches the ambiance each conveys.
Community Tables Encourage Interaction
The interior of Sway centers around large community tables that seat 16. Guests are encouraged to sit together and interact with each other if they so desire. These types of arrangements usually add to positive energy and a feeling of being connected to other diners. Sway also offers bar seating along the open kitchen area, a regular bar on the side, and some outdoor seating to accommodate those looking for a more couples experience.
A Modern Thai Menu
The menu is well priced for the level of ambiance and features "Modern Thai" cuisine. In this most recent trip we ordered a Po-Pea Jay (a vegetarian spring roll) for $8 and the Son in Law entree for $18 to start. The spring roll was rolled tight like a sushi roll and that sort of threw my dinner companion off as she was accustomed to the more traditional loose wrap. Honestly it was a bit bland and I recommend springing for the blue crab spring roll unless you're sticking to a vegetarian diet. The Son in Law entree featured a braised pork shank and was on target and easy to recommend. We also ordered a Soft Shell Crab for $17 that came in a bowl with other edibles that was very well prepared and some braised pork ribs that were a featured special and also came on top a bowl of unique edibles.
Fits the Bill
The final bill was just under $100 which included only a single glass of wine. There are a lot of fine restaurants in Austin like Uchi on South Lamar, Jeffrey's on West Lynn, and Carmelo's in downtown Austin that definitely deliver a finer dining experience. But we aim for dining experiences that hit a sweet spot when it comes to ambiance, culinary creativity, and price. The goal is to order for a couple to share an appetizer and dessert and then each get an entree and a couple of glasses of wine for about $50 per person. That's getting harder to do these days, but remains a good goal. The restaurants along South 1st street are more likely to fall into that category than anything downtown. And Sway is one of the most unique and inspiring options in the area if not Austin.
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