[AUS] Lilly Sandwich and First Chinese BBQ in new Asian Market
We tried to go to Lilly's Sandwhich in the new Asian Market at Braker/Lamar but ironically they had just run out of bread and were waiting for their delievery (the lady in front of us had an order of 20 sandwhiches it seemed). The place looks nice but the menu seemed
limited. Maybe 5 sandwhichs ($2-$2.50), some bun and some rice wraps. Still, as always, I'm hopeful it'll be a good place.
Instead we ended up at First Chinese BBQ again and we had a nice smattering of dishes. BBQ pork with lo mein looked good but not as good as similar dishes at Din Ho. The spicy squid turned out to be salt & pepper squid and not quite as good as the options at T&S. Chicken with mushrooms & vegetables was quite tasty as was the seasem chicken. All in all, we like the place but weren't blown away.
Also, we poked our head into the market and felt we needed to get a good Asian cookbook and come back with a shopping list...
Finally, there's a Short & Sweet Cafe that is open that we didn't get a chance to look at while the Noodle House is still having its interior worked on.
Lilly's sandwich #1 is sublime and spicy (if you get lucky without too much gristle in the pate). The rest are meh, especially compared to sandwiches at pho Van (I think has the best in Austin). Beware of some the to-go luncheon items such as the vermicelli dishes which have soggy noodles.
1st Chinese BBQ's duck appears to be its specialty. I agree with other posters that the non-bbq dishes are uninspired. For authentic Taiwanese dishes, order from the Chinese menu at Mandarin House down the street. Do not feed from the buffet but order the 3-flavor squid and the REAL hot and sour soup. You will not be disappointed.
That's funny. I've tried to eat at Lilly's twice now, and I ended up leaving both times. The first time there were a few large orders ahead of us, some confusion in the line, and a lot of people sitting around waiting for their food looking unhappy so I headed to 1st Chinese BBQ and had a great meal with no wait.
Today when I tried Lily's, they also told me they had just run out of bread, and it would be a 20 minute wait. Instead of 1st Chinese BBQ, I ended up trying the restaurant in the back right corner. I think it is called Com Chi Food to Go. The owners of this restaurant are very nice, but I can't recommend it. It is setup like a Panda Express but with food selections that are more authentic than a Panda Express in a combination of Chinese/Vietnamese selections. You get a lot of food for $5, but it is of the "been sitting under a heatlamp for a long time" variety. I say skip it and just go to 1st Chinese BBQ instead.
Lily's could turn out to be decent. The prices are lower than other Bahn Mi places in Austin ($2-$2.50 for a sandwich). Plus, there are a few other items on the menu in addition to sandwiches, but I didn't get a good look at them. When they work the kinks out of their process, I'll give it a try and report back.
The Short & Sweet Cafe has ice cream, and I think boba drinks along with some other desserts. They had a sign up which said they make homemade Vietnamese ice cream, but all I saw in the window were Bluebell (I think!) stock flavors.
re: Mike B
The trick to ordering at Com Chi is skip any Chinese selections, and to order from the menu. They will make the dish fresh. Also, check out the pictures on the wall - apparently, these are dishes that they added after printing the menu, and so are only available by pointing it out on the wall. Most of their meat still has the bones, so its not for everyone as it can be hard to eat small pieces of chicken with bones still in. I hear rumours they are adding Bahn Mi - well, more than rumors, as the counter lady told me this weekend, they will introduce the sandwich with a buy 2, get 1 free special. I like this place for a quick, cheap lunch, but still prefer the non-Chinese menu at Wok-N-Roll on Burnet (#1 on my quick, cheap list).
As for 1st Chinese, try the marinated chicken. It's a funky yellow color, but the taste is wonderful.
re: Alan Sudo
A lot of people are down on Wok and Roll, but the guy made me an awesome spicy shrimp and chinese broccoli dish....I just made it up and asked for it. It was take out, so I called him after eating and told him that it was awesome. I always order the duck flat rice noodle soup, extra duck, and drink an entire bottle of red wine with it in from of the TV. The shrimp was for the Mrs.
The chinese fish sausage fried rice is really good, too.
I think that the whole restaurant used to be better years ago, then it got really bad, but lately, it has gotten better.
I haven’t tried the Chinese Fish Sausage Fried Rice, but will make a point of it. I too love the duck soup, but my favorite dish is the steamed chicken. A simple plate of white rice topped with chicken pieces steamed on the bone so that they are moist and tender. It would be fairly bland if it was not for the piles of grated fresh ginger sauce topping that. Pour the accompanying sweet soy sauce over the whole mess and you have one those dishes that I actually wake up at night craving. They also serve a combination dish of half steamed chicken and half another meat – it’s either the duck or the roast pork.
I find that I often prefer places that “a lot of people are down on”. I don't make any attempt to be a contrarian, but I seem to gravitate to places that many don't like, and to not enjoy the hot spots. For example, I could live without the whole “El” chain (Chile, Chilito, Gringo) as I find their food too bland and their service too uncomfortable. 99% of the people on this board probably have smoke shooting out their ears just from reading that statement. When I go for tacos, I would rather walk 3 blocks farther east on Manor to the taco window next to the laundry mat than to stop at El Chilito. It’s just personal preference, but always something to keep in mind when reading any of my reviews and comments.