Sway seems to be the newest, hottest restaurant in Austin right now. Although that title seems to be filled with something different on an almost weekly basis, I think it's well deserved. The modern Thai restaurant is located in a deceptively simple from the outside Michael Hsu-designed building (he is seriously the godfather of all hip buildings in Austin), but the inside is stunning. Sleek and modern (as all his designs seem to be), but still warm and inviting on the inside. There are large square tables that accommodate the communal-style seating offered, and each table is highlighted by a gigantic bamboo(?) chandelier. There is a bar facing their open-kitchen concept, and I imagine that would be a fabulous spot for a fun date night. There is a second bar a little out of the way of the main dining room, as well as a candle-lit outside patio. When the weather is nice, I'm sure the patio will be a hot spot.
We met another couple for dinner on a Sunday evening, and chose to meet early (6:30pm) in order to avoid a wait for a table. We were smart, as the dining room was almost completely full by 7:30. I mentioned communal seating- and you have to know that up front before you go. The tables are large enough to listen in on a neighbor's conversation, but not so close that you feel like your space is being invaded. It's a loud and busy environment, but one that makes for really great people watching.
And listen to me...I haven't even gotten to the food yet! You should know by now that I eat mostly vegetarian, with a few exceptions here and there. Knowing that the menu would be adventurous, I had already resigned to the fact that I would need to get over my aversion to meat for the evening. The food is served family style, which makes eating with others even more fun. You get the opportunity to try a bunch of things as opposed to having to settle on just one main dish. The menu is laid out by categories of food: stir-fry, curry, wok noodles, grilled + crispy....you get the idea. We tried to order one dish from several different categories, and the result was a parade of delicious food.
Dishes are brought to the table as soon as they are ready, and it allowed us to try bites of a few dishes at a time. After awhile, the flavors all started to blend together, but each dish had a memorable component to separate it out from the others. Like the crispy farm egg from the Son in Law dish, or the tomato vinegar from the Po-Pea Jay spring roll appetizer. We also ordered a side of Miso Sweet Potato Mash that was nearly my favorite dish. It was almost like dessert with how rich and decadent it tasted, but it was also the perfect way to cool off your mouth after one of the more fiery dishes.
The service was flawless- informative without being pushy, and attentive enough without being annoying. Multiple people brought dishes out to us throughout the evening, and all of them made sure we had everything that we needed. My one and only "disappointment" of the evening, if you can even call it that, was dessert. I was drawn to the banana split purely by all the crazy components in it. Things like Chocolate 5-spice caramel cashew ice cream, coconut milk jam and drunken cherries. And each bite was delicious, but it was almost just too much. When (not if) we go back, I will likely go for one of their house made ice creams or sorbets.