Austin - Comfy Upscale Graduation Restaurant
I need help choosing a restaurant to bring my family to while they're in town this weekend for my graduation. Anything Asian, sushi, or seafood is good, and a little upscale is okay since it is an occasion, but nothing too hoity-toity or stiff. Somewhere comfortable, friendly, and laidback with amazing food at any price. (My parents are, after all, footing the bill!) Anything come to mind? Thanks!
It's not Asian, but it's comfy, good, and they have a couple big rooms, and very affordable.
Moonshine is good, but I prefer their brunch.
As to Asian, how about Indian? We love taking out of towners to the Clay Pit. The flavors are outstanding and the building the restaurant is in is too cool, particularly the cellar.
Moonshine is very mediocre downtown food. "Upscale comfort food" is a crock concept. Roaring Fork is similar in concept, location and vibe but is much better food.
Clay Pit is pretty good. Similar to it in both vibe and quality is Bombay Bistro. Some say the quality is better, cheaper and better value.
For sushi, I'd recommend:
Uchi - Very expensive, crowded, contemporary, best food bar none.
Musashino - Traditional decor and cuisine, quiet but by no means "stiff".
Mikado Ryotei - Typical American sushi, good quality, contemporary decor, less crowded than Uchi. In terms of vibe, this will probably be your best bet.
I don't understand why "upscale comfort food" is a "crock concept" for Moonshine, but it's okay that the Roaring Fork is "similar in concept." Whatever you call it, this is one of the most popular categories of food in Austin. More importantly, "upscale comfort food" sounds a lot like "comfy upscale graduation restaurant," which is what the OP is looking for.
ab818, I'm not exactly sure what counts as hoity-toity or stiff in this town, where informality is the rule rather than the exception. But I'd suggest celebrating your graduation with the best possible chow!
Along those lines, I'd have to recommend against both Moonshine and the Roaring Fork. The Roaring Fork may be better than Moonshine, but that alone doesn't make their food "amazing," in my opinion (though some chowhounds would disagree). The RF does have quite the happy-hour scene for business types and well-heeled visitors, but that doesn't sound like the atmosphere you're looking for.
Have you ruled out Italian? Vespaio can be loud, but it might be a fun choice. You could ask for a table in the wine room, which is quieter.
When I’m choosing a restaurant, I find it helpful to read as many opinions as possible. Here are links to a few more threads:
Have a great meal—and congratulations!