*I attended the Oasthouse Crawfish boil and blogger happy hour as a guest. I've been to District Kitchen and Cocktails on my own.
Austin is growing like the hackberry tree in my yard, but the proliferation of chef owned restaurants outside of central Austin is slow to come. There's a few eateries a little drive away like Pieous, Stanley's Farmhouse Pizza, Jack Allen's at the Y, Via 313 at the Y, and Api's. So check those out if you're looking for a bit of a drive.
However, if you live in way South or in Lakeway, Chef Amir Hajimaleki has opened two restaurants that deserve a visit and a nod.
District Kitchen and Cocktail, located in Circle C, opened in 2013, and it is a hidden gem. It is the most nominated meetup location among friends who live in South Austin. The happy hour menu there boasts an array of snacks and cocktails that will please the most diverse group of diners. That's a key advantage to both of Chef Amir's restaurant that you don't always find - a restaurant that has food that will make everyone happy and an atmosphere that is flexible enough for casual meals or even a business meeting.
My recommendations for District are the Persian Princess cocktail, lamb kabobs, and hog wings. Sit on the patio on a cool evening, and be glad that you're not battling Austin traffic to get somewhere downtown.
Oasthouse, located in Lakeway, has a menu with approachable roots yet sophisticated execution. They have a waygu beef burger topped with Guinness cheddar, brown ale bacon, and bourbon mustardo. The truffled waygu flatbread there is also something that is familiar, yet upscale enough for a client meeting.
In addition to their usual fair, Chef Amir brought back some of his Louisiana lifestyle with him. This year, Oasthouse hosted a crawfish boil. Be smart. Bring gloves for easy clean up. If you eat like me, bring an apron and some goggles too. The crawfish boil was $20 for 2 lbs of crawfish, sausage, corn, potatoes, and an Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager. If the rumor that they will be hosting another boil is accurate, the chances of finding me there are pretty high.
*Both District and Oasthouse are dog friendly on the patio. Friendly and leashed dogs welcome.