Unsung,hidden,off the beaten path in and around Austin.....
What are your favorite places that are deserted at peak dining times?I'll get the ball rolling. I can't fathom why Oaxacan Tamaleo is not on a two hour wait during evening service.The food is superb,the chef is 10 feet away[open kitchen]and you can't beat the atmosphere....well,in a Chowhound sense anyway....the restaurant is inside a ramshackle quick mart[La Chica Tienda]on Anderson Lane.Your thoughts please.....
For the past few years I've dined at Al Johns on East Oltorf.Gino,the guy who opened it up in the 70's sold it a few years back to a very nice Asian couple.Their pizza by the slice is 2 bucks tax included.It is wonderfully cheesy with a thin,crisp crust and good,sparing use of sauce.The Al John[their signature sub]is a big Ham and Salami sandwich on a housemade hoagie style roll.It is my favorite sub in Austin.They are never busy.
I've had a couple of great meals at Andiamo off of Burnett and 183 (near Rutland), and despite their preference for reservations, have never had a hard time getting a table.
They make an excellent fennel salad with goat cheese that is stand-out, and I had a scrumptious veal dish with porcini mushrooms. I've heard rumors about people having problems with the staff, but I've only had very pleasant experiences.
Now this is my kind of topic!
scrumptiouschef, I'm not sure if you just want "hidden gems" or "hidden gems that are uncrowded during dinner hours." I'll just name a few places that pleasantly surprised me with great food.
1) Tejano-style Tex-Mex trailers, lunch counters, and taquerías
Taquería Piedras Negras No.2—trailer at the corner of East Cesar Chavez and Pleasant Valley
Seis Mesas—a tiny restaurant on Springdale
Abarrotes Mexicanos—the store with a lunch counter and delicious home-style Tejano cooking.
La Monita—your stop on East 7th for real barbacoa de cabeza
These are all no-frills options with either communal tables or take-away service only. I don't want to rehash my old posts. More on these places can be found here:
2) Sit-down restaurant serving great Tex-Mex carnes asadas
Habeñero Mexican Cafe—God, is their grilled lengua good!
There are more details about it in this post:
3) Food Sold by a Private Individual
There's a guy selling pollos asados out of his yard on Montopolis, on the southeast side. If you see the sign, stop. They were very, very good when I’ve tried them.
Southwest Market on Hunter Road in San Marcos—Who knew there was good 'cue just off I-35?
This was recently discussed in this link:
That's all I can think of for now, though I'm always getting new ideas from chowhounds like you—and even just from driving around.
Sam's BBQ had amazingly good brisket when we took out over Labor Day weekend. Nothing fancy, but not too trimmed so it had crunchy crust and a moist, succulent interior. Ribs weren't done yet so couldn't try those, but the chicken was smoky. Very informal, almost all take-out. My brother liked our holiday afternoon take-out better than when he followed by taking some colleagues for a midweek lunch.