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Thought it would be nice to have a thread where we can talk about the Austin dining scene.

 

Went with several friends to Alborz Persian Cuisine on Saturday night (hopefully they will post as well)

 

Alborz is one of the few Persian restaurants in Austin. The food was good and the portions were huge. I think the winning dish was chicken in walnut and pomegranate sauce. The grilled meats and various kabobs were moist and flavorful.

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It's been around a couple of years - the place was quite full Saturday - as were our bellies after the meal. I thought the hummus had a bit too much tahini in it, but the baba ganoush was outstanding....you guys' Persian pizza looked interesting - and we all loved the pomegranate-sauced chicken.

 

I like the idea of the Food Trail continuing after the jump over the fence....

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Is that place new?  I don't recall ever having heard of it.

They started out in the food court at the Northcross mall. The menu was a cross between Persian food and Mexican menu items. The owners took over a Mexican stall and never changed the signs. Initially only making Persian food for family and friends, it evolved to become their core business.

 

They developed a strong following, which led them a few years ago to open Alborz restaurant.

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Oh, yeah. Now I remember hearing about them starting out at Northcross...

 

And those portions were huge; we're just finishing our leftovers today! Now I'm kicking myself for not having a single bite of rice, though--I just knew I'd be too full from the nun, and I didn't even manage to finish half of the ground beef kabob, at that...

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I want to put in a plug for Smokey Mo's BBQ up in Cedar Park. Yes, it's true that one reason I like it so much is that it was close to where I lived. But on the other hand, there were joints closer that I didn't like at all. So it can't be just that.

 

I loved the sliced brisket with roast potatoes. And the sauce is really good, too. Just like the place. It won some sort of award about two years ago....I think FoxTV did a "your favorite BBQ poll"...so I'm not the only one.

 

If any of you are up in the Cedar Park area, give it a try. It's in the HEB shopping center at 183 & 1431.

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I want to put in a plug for Smokey Mo's BBQ up in Cedar Park.

Just had them cater a party for work. They got rave reviews on the brisket, sausage, beans, and potato salad. Oh and on the tea! We went through 12 gallons

 

:lol:

 

Only thing that was left was the Butterkrust white bread and 1/2 a thing of coleslaw.

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  • 1 month later...

So I might get to spend one or two days in Austin in March. I'm tempted to go to places I've already been to, but I'd like to check out at least one new place. So...what would be some of your recent recommendations for best casual lunch and best fine dining? Any great new places open in the last year or two?

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For fine dining, I'd recommend the Driskill Grill in the hotel. Longhorn Gal, Bevo and I had an amazing meal there about a month ago. David Bull was designated one of the 10 best chefs by Food and Wine magazine last year and it was well deserved. Not only is the food good, but the service is excellent.

 

I know we all like to try new "edgy" places, and the Driskill has been open a long time, but you can't argue with perfection.

 

Want to chime in , anybody?

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Funny you should mention the Driskill Grill since that's one of the places I've considered visiting and never have. I wonder if it would be a circus during SXSW though since it's on 6th Street.

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  • 2 months later...

As a 3 night 2 day tourist - I can't tell you about everything that's new - but we did have some good eating.

 

The night we arrived we ate at Manuel's. I don't know if this is authentic "interior Mexican food" - but it was excellent and we liked this restaurant a lot. Decor was pleasant - somewhat trendy - and the place was packed. We had the camarones fritos (fried shrimp) and enchiladas de mole. Started with the corn soup. And ended with the budin de chocolate (bitter-sweet chocolate bread pudding) - which was fantastic. Only problem was a false start with the soup. We originally ordered a chile soup - and - although we're not wimps - it was inedibly hot - kind of like what you get when you order Indian food "hot" in London. So we sent it back (no problem) - and got the corn soup instead. The fellow at the front said the chiles had varied in terms of heat intensity - so one night the soup would be very hot - the next night not so hot.

 

The next night we ate at Threadgills (figured we had to do at least one "music night"). The outdoor venue was pleasant. But the music was mediocre - and so was the food. This was the day we had lunch at Lockhart - so to counter all that BBQ - we had veggies. I'm not sure how Texas veggies are supposed to taste - but southern veggies (even the ones we get in a Morrison's cafeteria) are better. Still was it fun getting a little sampling of the Austin music experience.

 

Yesterday - we had lunch at (don't laugh) the new Whole Foods Market near downtown. This is the most amazing grocery store I've ever seen. It is huge. And it has tons of things to buy - including many you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else - everything from fresh porcini mushrooms to Anson grits. Whole Foods' gift to Austin for giving it its start. It has little serving areas with stools where you can order different kinds of cooked food - everything from seafood to pasta. As well as many "prepare your own meal from pre-made things and dine outside" areas. We had some chowder - and some scallops sauteed in Wasabi butter (which came with an orzo/baby spinach salad). The scallops were excellent. Had some home dipped chocolates (fresh berries in chocolate) for dessert. Another winner. I think that half of downtown Austin was eating lunch there yesterday with us.

 

We had dinner at the Cafe at the Four Seasons - which is pretty fancy. I think the gist of this dinner is that the dishes were well thought out - but I'd have to rate the executions about a B comparing the place to other high end restaurants in other cities (except for the dessert - the pastry chef's riff on a Tres Leches - which was a solid A). My husband and each had a starter (I had quail in mole sauce - he had escargot ravioli - and a soup (I had the 10-15 vidalia onion and he had the cold corn). We shared a main course - the veggie platter - which I thought made excellent use of local ingredients and southwest cooking concepts. And the kitchen made the effort to split the main course into 2 little tasting plates. Very attractive presentation. Like I said - overall - a solid B.

 

Anyway - that was our eating in Austin (we're in Dallas now). Very good overall. Hope the rest of you will share your experiences. Robyn

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Thanks, Robyn.

 

Yes, Manuel's is pretty popular, and most folks would agree that it is authentic interior Mexico food....sort of....a kind of upscale riff on it anyway. But it's not TexMex, so you're right about that.

 

My son used to work at the Four Seasons, and I ate there regularly. Sometimes it was fabulous; sometimes just 'damned adequate' (as they say in the military). But the atmosphere is nice, with the large fireplace, and the doors that open onto Town Lake. Are the bats back?

 

Threadgills is an Austin institution. Did you go to the one on North Lamar? That's the best. And I do always advise folks to go for a slice of 'old Austin,' but the home cookin' food is better, I think, at Tony's Southern Comfort, and at Dot's, which burned down a short time back, but which I am hoping is back up and running. Does anyone know?

 

Thanks for sharing, Robyn.

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