Austin, TX: any can't miss restaurants?

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Austin, TX: any can't miss restaurants?

#51 Post by awilliamson4 » October 7th, 2013, 12:29 pm

Anyone have any experience with Jeffreys in Austin? Also, if you could only do one would you do barleyswine, foreign and domestic, or wink
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#52 Post by Bill Gold » October 7th, 2013, 1:02 pm

East Side Cafe is a stop i make every time I am in Austin.

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#53 Post by Charles Palmer » October 7th, 2013, 1:36 pm

awilliamson4 wrote:Anyone have any experience with Jeffreys in Austin? Also, if you could only do one would you do barleyswine, foreign and domestic, or wink
Barleyswine. No contest.

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#54 Post by Greg Pierce » October 8th, 2013, 7:38 am

I haven't been back to Jeffrey's since it reopened under new management. My take on the menu was that it had been changed to an overpriced steakhouse.

Agree with Charles that I would choose barleyswine if I could only do one out of barley swine, foreign and domestic, and wink. That having been said, you'll probably be okay with any one of those.

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#55 Post by awilliamson4 » October 9th, 2013, 11:18 am

I was in Austin for work Monday through this morning and had a wonderful trip culinary speaking. I went to Jeffrey's Monday night and sat at the bar.They have a wonderful bar program and a great bar staff...i ate 3 of their appetizer dishes and dessert and the steak tartare was amazing. The food in general was quite good although their version of pig in a blanket was a little one note (and before i get criticized for critiquing a pig in a blanket, i got the hard sell on it from the staff). The baked alaska dessert was also really really good. They do have a very intense steak program, but my take on the overall restaurant was that the non-steak items tend to really shine. The wine list is great as well as the spirit selections and the bar room may be one of the sexiest places i have ever eaten.

Tuesday night i went with 3 of my colleagues to Barley Swine. I got there at 6 and put my name on the list for 6:30 and then went next store to Henri's for a cheese plate and glass of wine. Henri's is a great spot and a worthwhile place to wait on a table for Barley Swine. We ordered the whole menu and the specials for dinner and everything was excellent. honestly there was not a single dish of the 16 (including desserts) that missed the mark and the highlights for me were the country ham and watermelon dish, the egg and mushroom dumplings, the tomato soup and grilled cheese ice cream and the flank steak dish. Also, they brought us some ice creams they are experimenting with and the pumpernickel was amazing.

Lastly, this morning i went to gordoughs and it was spectacular.
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#56 Post by Jay Selman » November 11th, 2013, 3:49 pm

I will be visiting Austin over the Thanksgiving weekend to visit our daughter (Army nurse). Where can my wife and I get a killer breakfast?

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#57 Post by Greg Pierce » November 12th, 2013, 7:03 am

Jay Selman wrote:I will be visiting Austin over the Thanksgiving weekend to visit our daughter (Army nurse). Where can my wife and I get a killer breakfast?

Jay,

I would say that the quintessential Austin breakfast is either breakfast tacos or migas. The best breakfast taco to be had in Austin (IMNSHO) is the Don Juan taco at Juan in a Million. Juan in a Million is a divey Tex-Mex joint on the east side. However, there are many places to get good breakfast tacos all over town.

My favorite migas are found at Trudy's (a semi-ok Tex-Mex joint near the UT campus). However, for true old-time Austin feel, I recommend the migas at Cisco's. Cisco's is one of the classic old-time Austin mexican joints on the east side and has been a goto place for breakfast migas for decades -- for example, it was one of LBJ's favorite mexican restaurants in Austin.

Alternatively, the Kerbey Lane Cafe has been an Austin staple for some time. Many folks love their pancakes (I prefer the Eggs Francisco -- similar to eggs benedict, but with queso/bacon instead of hollandaise/ham). If choosing this option, I would go to the original one on Kerbey Lane.

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#58 Post by Jay Selman » November 12th, 2013, 12:13 pm

Greg Pierce wrote:
Jay Selman wrote:I will be visiting Austin over the Thanksgiving weekend to visit our daughter (Army nurse). Where can my wife and I get a killer breakfast?

Jay,

I would say that the quintessential Austin breakfast is either breakfast tacos or migas. The best breakfast taco to be had in Austin (IMNSHO) is the Don Juan taco at Juan in a Million. Juan in a Million is a divey Tex-Mex joint on the east side. However, there are many places to get good breakfast tacos all over town.

My favorite migas are found at Trudy's (a semi-ok Tex-Mex joint near the UT campus). However, for true old-time Austin feel, I recommend the migas at Cisco's. Cisco's is one of the classic old-time Austin mexican joints on the east side and has been a goto place for breakfast migas for decades -- for example, it was one of LBJ's favorite mexican restaurants in Austin.

Alternatively, the Kerbey Lane Cafe has been an Austin staple for some time. Many folks love their pancakes (I prefer the Eggs Francisco -- similar to eggs benedict, but with queso/bacon instead of hollandaise/ham). If choosing this option, I would go to the original one on Kerbey Lane.
Excellent! Much appreciated!

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#59 Post by John Liotta » November 12th, 2013, 5:46 pm

I don't understand the love for Uchiko. While the service was outstanding and BYO is always nice, the entire food experience was more than a let down. All of the fish items were covered up with sauces and fruit. Same with the proteins. There was not one memorable item frankly.

We enjoyed all the BBQ places we visited in Austin, especially Franklin and La BBQ Cuisine Texicana. Also had a nice breakfast at Juan In A Million.
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#60 Post by Jay Carroll » November 12th, 2013, 8:39 pm

John Liotta wrote:I don't understand the love for Uchiko. While the service was outstanding and BYO is always nice, the entire food experience was more than a let down. All of the fish items were covered up with sauces and fruit. Same with the proteins. There was not one memorable item frankly.

We enjoyed all the BBQ places we visited in Austin, especially Franklin and La BBQ Cuisine Texicana. Also had a nice breakfast at Juan In A Million.
Different strokes I guess. I quite enjoyed it.
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#61 Post by awilliamson4 » November 21st, 2013, 6:02 am

Ok back in Austin tonight last minute. Olivia or Foreign and Domestic? Thanks!
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#62 Post by John Liotta » November 21st, 2013, 2:12 pm

awilliamson4 wrote:Ok back in Austin tonight last minute. Olivia or Foreign and Domestic? Thanks!

Olivia
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#63 Post by awilliamson4 » November 22nd, 2013, 10:04 am

John Liotta wrote:
awilliamson4 wrote:Ok back in Austin tonight last minute. Olivia or Foreign and Domestic? Thanks!

Olivia
I will have to do Olivia next time. After spending a couple of hours at the Austin Wine Merchant, they all told me to go to wink. I did the chefs 5 course menu and wine pairings which ended up getting upgraded by Chris at the bar. Really good food and wine program is fun. I would surely go back.
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#64 Post by Nolan E » November 22nd, 2013, 7:14 pm

Industry people in Austin are all nuts about Wink but I never liked it that much...
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#65 Post by awilliamson4 » November 23rd, 2013, 8:39 am

Nolan E wrote:Industry people in Austin are all nuts about Wink but I never liked it that much...
I can totally see that, as the food is interesting but certainly at a level or 2 lower than barley swine and the like, however the staff is very friendly and the pours and upgrades i was given throughout the night were really nice.
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#66 Post by A Ballin » July 21st, 2014, 5:44 am

Hi guys,

Im in Austin this week for one night...staying in Downtown at the Driskill. Would love to try some BBQ or good Texmex, but not adverse to higher end if available. Good wine list is preferred!

Thanks for any help.

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#67 Post by M. Meer » July 22nd, 2014, 4:44 pm

Also headed there this week. On our list:

Louis Mueller
John Mueller
Snow's
Soto
Qui
Odd Duck
East Side King
Midnight Cowboy/Whisler's for drinks

Adam, La Barbecue and Franklin aren't too far from you if you can make it for lunch.
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#68 Post by Chris Kurzner » July 22nd, 2014, 7:28 pm

John Mueller's is really good, and the line is not crazy like Franklin. No liquor license but he hands out Lone Stars while you wait.

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#69 Post by Chris Kurzner » July 22nd, 2014, 7:29 pm

For dinner I highly recommend Foreign and Domestic. No reservations. Fun, funky atmosphere with really good food. Wine list ok.

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#70 Post by Ron Kramer » July 22nd, 2014, 8:02 pm

[quote="Joe Valha"]Also, for the best pork chop you will EVER have, check out Perry's on 7th St.[/quote

Flemings also provides a dynamite pork chop, in all their locations.

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#71 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » July 23rd, 2014, 4:58 am

Was at Snow's this past weekend and it just firmed up the fact that the place is the best BBQ in Texas by a long stretch. We got there right at 1100 and had only a five minute wait in line.

I guess if you need to be a wanna-be-hipster or have to be seen in line to be cool, then go to Franklin's. Otherwise, make the drive to Lexington to experience the best.

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#72 Post by Shannon Perdue » July 23rd, 2014, 11:57 am

Perry's only does lunch on Friday's with that Pork Chop special - a huge plate of food for under $15. Very popular and reservations for lunch are a must.

Olivia is good and a BYOB with corkage. Barley Swine and Qui have gone to 100% tasting menus.

Although not on the in-lists Lambert's does some good BBQ+ and you can get in there. The last time we tried to go to Foreign and Domestic it was a 2 hour wait on a weeknight. Life is way too short for that. Unless it's Franklin's! :)

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#73 Post by M. Meer » July 23rd, 2014, 1:37 pm

Bill Tex Landreth wrote:Was at Snow's this past weekend and it just firmed up the fact that the place is the best BBQ in Texas by a long stretch. We got there right at 1100 and had only a five minute wait in line.

I guess if you need to be a wanna-be-hipster or have to be seen in line to be cool, then go to Franklin's. Otherwise, make the drive to Lexington to experience the best.
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#74 Post by Shannon Perdue » July 23rd, 2014, 3:07 pm

For those considering the drive Snow's is only open on Saturdays. 8 am 'til sold out. Good Q.

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#75 Post by M. Meer » July 24th, 2014, 10:43 pm

Thursday:

Louis Mueller - They must be the Abe Froman of Williamson county, because the sausages were fantastic. That and the lean brisket (better flavor and texture than the moist) were pretty rockin. Washed it at all down with a few shandies and a St. Arnold's. BYO; no fee.

Odd Duck - Not as precious as Barley Swine; they have a different approach to their food. While the it doesn't aim to reach the same highs, it's also a more casual atmosphere and a great place to enjoy a meal with friends. The food is pretty awesome too. BYOBed ($20 fee) a Breton Dilettante Brut & a 2012 Terres Dorées Côte de Brouilly. They went great with the food. The standouts were the pretzel with cheese, soft-cooked duck egg*, quail fried quail, tater tots with foie gras, and olive pasta with braised goat (close 2nd).

Ended the night with a few cocktails at Javelina on Rainey Street.

*dish of the night, reminded us of a garlic fried rice, presented in a manner like Filipino sisig; great use of vinegar
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#76 Post by M. Meer » July 25th, 2014, 9:03 pm

Friday:

Soto - Apparently the propietor Chef Andy trained at Nobu & Morimoto and it shows in our first courses like the new style kumamoto oysters, madai with uni and ponzu, truffle white salmon, and kalbi-style wagyu seared over a hot rock. Better still was the fire salmon, which was draped over a lemongrass stalk and roasted over a flame fueled by coffee beans and rum. Spectacular presentation and very flavorful, great dish right there, not just a gimmick. Otoro over truffle risotto and the lobster tempura were also standouts from the hot menu. For me, Soto is really strong in its fresh fish preparations, whether in sashimi or nigiri form. They have a great botan ebi with fried head. Mirugai, kinmedai, uni, and ikura were all very clean and sweet tasting. Everything from the rice to the nori and the grated wasabi, small but critical details, make it a great sushi spot as opposed to a really good one. In fact, if I were local, this would be the spot where I roll in, order a few pieces of sushi and some beer and roll back out 20 minutes later. It's a serious spot and makes a good case against driving downtown. Only bust was that I brought a bottle of Picq Vosgros and they couldn't open it :( . Hopefully that changes. Good options on the beer and sake front though, but I would have died to have some chablis with the oysters and truffle preparations.
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#77 Post by M. Meer » July 31st, 2014, 9:02 am

Saturday:

Qui - Apparently no one wants me to drink my Chablis in their establishment [beee.gif] . Thankfully, they have a fairly decent list and BTG options.
One of our party went with the pairing, and we also went with a bottle 1998 LdH Tondonia Riserva blanco for the vegetable/seafood-dominated menu.
White wines seems to be a bit more interesting by the bottle than reds, but they did pour a very nice Domaine Depeuble BTG, which I had for the ribeye course.
First 5 courses were on fire, with a really great interplay between the vegetable, protein, and sauce. His use of pork blood to sauce a dish with chanterelle, okra,
and purslane was akin to using an aged balsamic, but the flavors of it remained tied to tradition. Wasn't as much a fan of the ribeye, relatively speaking, perhaps because of its
plating, with the sauces (shrimp paste, coconut, and peanut) dotted on the steak. For example, I got a blast of salty if I only ate a piece with the shrimp paste, or only
sweet with the coconut. I started to like it more when I mixed some of them together, but the dish was a contrast to the preceding ones that worked so seamlessly.
First world problems though, and I wouldn't mind dining here again. The ice creams for dessert were great, and we add in the cheddar cheese ice cream sandwich to our course.

Whisler's - Okay, okay, I get it... Austin is a cocktail and beer town, and people here are quite proficient at making them. At this point, I'd actually be surprised to walk into a place and have a bad one. Lively crowd, a lot of people, but not jam-packed. The bartenders in the main room did a timely job of putting out drinks. We did a few off the list, some bartender's choice (one ended up being a Paper Plane), and I went gin-based with a Singapore Sling, Ramos Fizz, and a Gin-Gin Mule -- all very proper.

Wonderland - Wow, did I walk into a metal-version of the bar from A Clockwork Orange? So there weren't naked-lady tables or special milk, but yikes! Bartenders are friendly, but it's not really my vibe. Ordered a drink and went out back.

Thai Kun - Probably the best "Asian Food" I've had in Austin. The Sichuan at Asia Cafe is good, but more like "good for Austin." Maybe it was an side-effect of the libations, but Thai Kun was good, period. Had the Fried Chicken and Waterfall Pork. The flavors were right and the textures were on point, down to the sticky rice. If one is a fan of the music blasting in the background, or can tune it out long enough to enjoy the meal, it's a good late-night bite.
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#78 Post by M. Meer » July 31st, 2014, 11:48 am

Saturday/Sunday: BBQ

Franklin's has created a barbecue hysteria, and even though it's been a few years since we've been and our wait was under an hour, some of it has transferred over into our psyches: "Let's go, it's already 9:45! We gotta drive to Lexington still, and they might run out!" Lexington, with a population I'm guessing in the thousands, gentlemen selling watermelons and honey out of their cars. To get there, we pass miles and miles of pastoral green and at least 2 esteemed barbecue establishments in their own right. The line is 4 deep in front of us at around 11:00. At some point they will sell through, but there is no frenzy. No one brought chairs to endure the wait. Franklin is it's own phenomenon, which is great for the attention it brings to the region, but the people waiting in line can have my share. I've had a fair amount, and I've learned I'd rather be eating 'cue than waiting in a queue. Even factoring in the drive, the wait, and our meal time, it's just more enjoyable experience for me. I think, once the barbecue gets to certain level, it becomes a matter of preference, and I prefer the food at places like Snow's.

Snow's - We ordered a bit of everything: moist brisket, turkey, chicken, pork shoulder, pork ribs, turkey, regular and jalapeno sausage, potato salad, and banana pudding. As a whole, the menu is very strong. The brisket is solid. Flavor-wise, it's almost like eating a prime rib that has a light smoky flavor to it. The pork shoulder and chicken were probably my two favorites here. The turkey had a nice smokiness to it, and sausages were also very tasty with good snap. The jalapeno was less chile-flavored than Louie Mueller's. I might have thought about skipping the pork ribs next time -- clean, porky taste, but then I got to the sauce. Bang! Not super thick but it sticks to your ribs and adds some tang and sweetness to what was a simple preparation. Nice. The potato salad is great and the banana pudding is classic and a fitting end. Snow's is worth it if one wants to make the drive.

John Mueller - We get here about the same time the next day, maybe a little earlier -- no problem -- and take our food to go. Went with the moist brisket, beef rib, sausage (regular, jalapeno-cheese, andouille), pork rib, pork shoulder, cheesy squash, and potato salad. The brisket has a smoky, peppery bark, which I like. The pork shoulder wasn't as good as Snow's, where it was at least on par with the brisket, but the pork ribs are smoky and peppery and great from the smoker. So were the sausages. The squash is a good side, the potato salad, okay. With those meats alone, this place is in the conversation of outstanding barbecue. That said, the beef rib is the star. Not just here, perhaps anywhere. Not just beef rib, barbecue anything. It is my desert island barbecue (to go with my desert island wine). Beefy, peppery, perfectly tears away without being stringy or mushy. It is the very essence of beef, for me, like he magically combined what I love in a braised short rib with that of barbecue. Out of everything we ordered, it was the only one not to make it to leftovers. I share this reluctantly, in case it ever runs out while I'm still in line, but it really is good and worth a try if wanting to stay in the city.

After we picked up our food, we decided to check out the line at Franklin's. I think the line is even longer with the new addition. Some lady towards the front looked at us as we drove by, giving us the "Haha, you're just getting here?" look. Almost wanted to stop, roll down the window, and start eating. J/K! [wink.gif] We made a u-turn and made our way home to eat. On the corner was some guy walking up to Franklin's with his jaw open and a surprised look on his face. Thought about telling him to go somewhere else, but going through lengths for prime barbecue is sometimes part of the fun.
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#79 Post by Ron Kramer » July 31st, 2014, 9:12 pm

Ron Kramer wrote:
Joe Valha wrote:Also, for the best pork chop you will EVER have, check out Perry's on 7th St.[/quote

Flemings also provides a dynamite pork chop, in all their locations.

Mea culpa I meant Houston's newhere

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#80 Post by John Webber » September 23rd, 2014, 6:41 am

Barley Swine's wine list looks weak and I hear no corkage now?

If so, I guess it will have to be beer or sake.

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#81 Post by NickC » September 23rd, 2014, 9:42 am

went to qui last weekend. a very nice experience.

no corkage though
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#82 Post by John Webber » October 3rd, 2014, 4:05 pm

Update-

Barley allows corkage and it is $20 per. With that noted, we went for their pairings and enjoyed them. We really enjoyed the meal. We also enjoyed Odd Duck, Fabi and Rosi, Barlata, and Whip In.

Whip In is a convenience store with a bar and sorta Indian food. The vibe is awesome, the food very good, and they have the best wine to go and draft beer selection in South Texas. It was so much fun we went back. Great beers and cool wines. Highly recommended.

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#83 Post by Brian Zamkotowicz » June 2nd, 2016, 12:21 pm

Going to revive this as I will be in town the 9th to 12th. Thinking a dinner at odd duck, maybe a lunch at sway, possibly dinner at lenoir or olivia. Also if I'm not doing Franklin, BBQ rec with relatively short in and out for lunch Friday?

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#84 Post by Michael O'Brien » June 2nd, 2016, 2:04 pm

Had dinner at Wu Chow on Monday, April 25. Excellent food. The eggplant dish was amazing. A little different take on Beijing (Peking) Duck but it was very good. Had to order 48 hours in advance.

They have an interesting but limited wine list. They also allow BYOB - $25 per bottle if not on their list. $35 per bottle if it is.

http://wuchowaustin.com/

There is also a thread in the BYO forum that has some Austin suggestions. You would have to check to see if anything has changed though.
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#85 Post by c fu » April 15th, 2019, 9:01 pm

Bump.

Casual spots for dinner? Kid(s) friendly?
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#86 Post by M. Meer » April 17th, 2019, 4:12 pm

Austin is about as casual as a city can get. I might save Barley Swine for an evening without the kids, but places like Contigo, Odd Duck, and Salty Sow have different seating areas where it shouldn't be a problem. Tons of great pizza, BBQ, and fried chicken places, some with decent wine lists.

If you find something interesting, it'll more likely be cool to take the kids than not. I'm sure you'll figure out the ones to avoid with a little bit of homework.
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#87 Post by Michael O'Brien » April 18th, 2019, 12:57 pm

I would add June's to the list. http://junesallday.com/
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#88 Post by John Draper » April 18th, 2019, 1:00 pm

Holy Roller, brunch served all day, dinner items after 4pm. good cocktails www.holyrolleraustin.com
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