Chicon, A Casual Yet Elegant Restaurant, Makes a Home for Itself in East Austin
Co-Owners Ben Edgerton and Executive Chef Andrew Wiseheart set the table for taste, atmosphere, and a touch of approachable polishby Nicole Carbon photos by Molly Winters
“It’s been a fun couple of months,” says Co-Owner Ben Edgerton of his newest endeavor, with Co-Owner and Executive Chef Andrew Wiseheart, called Chicon. We all know and love the cool and comfortable ranch-like feel of Contigo; Chicon is it’s sister restaurant inspired by the same design and features – woods, metal, and leather – but with a downtown feel. Ben describes it best, “It’s like a sibling, they share the same DNA, but their uniqueness makes them different. Chicon is the younger sibling who moved to New York to attend art and design school, then came back to Austin.” It lends a slightly more elegant feel.
Located in a former post office on East 6th and Chicon, expect to find a playful menu meant to be shared. Chef Wiseheart designed the menu with small plates and larger-format plates meant for sharing, like a “fun family-style meal.” A signature small plate is the Goat & Gnocchi inspired by Wiseheart’s West Texas roots, which had an emphasis on goat. He makes a rich tomato broth and adds pulled braised goat, gnocchi, parmesan, and seasons it with black pepper. Large-format plates labeled “To Share” include the Grilled Half Chicken served with dipping sauces, camp bread, and grilled green veggies. The 36-ounce T-Bone is also served with grilled greens and a healthy side of onion rings.
Here, the cocktails are as creative as the menu items and are kitchen-inspired. Think fresh herbs, spices, and even charred red pepper used in their take on the Negroni, called the Jabroni. Campari and gin are used and sweet vermouth is swapped out for charred red pepper simple syrup to add a touch of sweetness. The New Delhi Mule, their take on a Moscow Mule, uses Indian spices, honey, and grapefruit along with ginger beer and vodka. Newly opened Chicon is a winner, or as Ben modestly says, “It’s an East Austin neighborhood spot, a casual place, to get together with good friends.”
To recreate Chef Andrew Wiseheart’s culinary excellence at home, try his recipe below:
Carrot Hummus with Tomato Dip and Sweet Potato Chips
5 Horse carrots
1 Head of garlic, halved
250g Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Juice and zest of three lemons
160g Tomato dip (recipe below)
Shaved yellow beets
Shaved carrot rounds
Sweet potato chips (recipe below)
1/ Cut the horse carrots into oblique cuts and roast with garlic facing down on sheet tray until carrots are soft. Season with oil and salt before roasting.
2/ When ready, put carrots and garlic in a food processor with salt, lemon juice, and zest. Pulse until well blended. Add in Tomato Dip and pulse more.
3/ Drizzle in EVOO and add water if necessary until smooth and it is the consistency of hummus.
Salt TT (to taste)
EVOO (enough for a heavy drizzle)
Canola oil (enough for a heavy drizzle)
1/ Cut tomatoes in quarters and lay across parchment paper evenly.
2/ Add cut shallots and tarragon and sprinkle across tomatoes. Lightly season with salt.
3/ Roast in oven at 150 degrees overnight.
4/ Finely chop tomatoes after being in oven overnight and season with EVOO and Canola oil.
Sweet Potatoes Chips
1 Sweet potato
1/ Cut sweet potatoes with mandolin on setting two and fry at 275 degrees until potato turns golden.
2/Add to dehydrator and dehydrate for 24 hours at 160 degrees.
3/ Cover with tight lid and with dehydrating beans at the bottom.
For more information visit, www.contigotexas.com/chicon