New Menu & New Chef at Sandra Bullock’s Bess Bistro

October 08, 2014

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New Bess Bistro Executive Chef Roman Murphy is taking Bess in a new direction, and there’s no better way to experience his new vision than at the fall menu. In a city that has morphed into one of the nation’s hottest culinary spots, it seems fitting that Murphy is applying a fresh approach to New American cuisine, using locally sourced products and experimenting with Asian, French and Spanish elements to create sophisticated fare.

Austin’s evolving food scene translates to ultra refined palates, which is why Murphy, whoemphasizes farm-to-table cooking with a modern yet playful approach, broadened the ingredients and techniques utilized at Bess. The new menu direction means local and seasonal. In addition to utilizing offerings from area purveyors such as Broken Arrow Ranch and John Lash’s Farm to Table, Murphy has direct access to the restaurant’s Morsels Farm, a one-acre spread just outside the city.

“We started as a French-inspired bistro with a touch of New Orleans and a sprinkling of Southern influences,” says Justin Raiford, culinary director of Bess Bistro “However, it was hard to always have all those influences in every menu and for Bess to stay cohesive.”

New restaurants open every day, and Raiford felt the need to stay current with the city’s changing tastes. “Austin diners are educated. They know about food products. They expect to be impressed with details ranging from smart flavor pairings to subtle nuances,” says Raiford.

The ambience at Bess also has undergone a transformation that showcases the stylish Stratford Arms Building, completed in 1918, and a host of renovations, including artwork from London, Paris and New York; linens and modern lace from Belgium; a solid bronze menu box made in Chicago by Tablet and Ticket; Bevolo gas lanterns handmade in New Orleans; custom-made hand-blown Simon Pearce deconstructed chandeliers; leathers imported from Italy and Germany; and stemware and glassware for wine and cocktails. The updated rooftop patio bar, one of the first in the area, looks fresh, with a large L-shaped piece of furniture in addition to lush landscaping.


Bess Bistro

I had the chance to sample the brand new fall menu and check out the new changes at Bess – and I was impressed! The crispy artichokes were my favorite. The last time I stopped by the restaurant was to photograph their fall menu last year. The rooftop itself beautiful – best view of the city and one of my favorite hiding spots. Check out the new dishes below.


New Menu & New Chef at Sandra Bullock’s Bess Bistro



Beef Tartare

Arugula, parmesan, pickled mustard seed, herb aioli, lavash



Berkshire Pork Chop

Celeriac purée, caramelized root vegetables, rosemary jus



Braised Lamb Shoulder

Fall braising greens, white beans, shallots, pappardelle, gremolata, lamb jus



Braised Short Rib

Roasted carrots, cipollini onions, beech mushrooms, red wine reduction, horseradish grits



Duck Breast

Sweet potato purée, brown butter roasted salsify, Brussels sprouts, huckleberry demi



Chocolate Hazelnut Napoleon

Chocolate puff pastry, chocolate and coffee mousse, hazelnut mascarpone ice cream

*Photography by Jody Horton


Bess Bistro
500 W. Sixth St.
Austin, TX


Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.