Hudson's On The Bend Update PLEASE
We are invited to a celebratory dinner at Hudson's On The Bend. This is a place my spouse has avoided for several years based on, in his opinion,"high wine prices and mediocre food" but I have never been there. I have read all the posts but do not have a good feel for what to expect in terms of pricing, okay, expensive is what I have read, but that is a relative term and I have not been able to locate a menu on-line, or any idea what the stand-outs on the menu are these days. I'd love to attend, celebrate and prove his opinion outdateded...We enjoy good wines at reasonable prices, dine regularly at Mirabelle, Eastside Cafe, etc. and are open to any menu items (although we live in the country and usually enjoy our own venison and bison prepared at home). Thanks for your advice!
re: River Rat
Thanks, River Rat.
I had searched their web site before posting my query. On following your advice I found the menu and wine list. This was certainly not intuitive though, as the pots and pans labels only appear if you scroll over them. I very much appreciate your quick response!
IMO Hudson's has become a high end, very high end novelty restuarant in the same vein as the old Magic Time Machine but using food instead of novelty decor and waitstaff. We used to eat there about twice a year and did so for a bunch of years. The menu prices rival NYC, the food portions are huge. The last and the last, time we ate there my wife and d in law got the prime rib. It was a monstrous piece of meat, so large that the waitstaff laughed and commented on its size. This is a waste and increases the prices somewhat. We have quite going there. Rather take the money and go to Aquarelle or Uchi.
Hi Saige - don't know if you've already gone, but my wife and I ate there with another couple last night to celebrate my wife's birthday, so thought I'd provide some first hand recommendations. I found it to be a very good restaurant - although I'm not sure I agree with the Statesman's #1 ranking.
First of all - yes, the place is expensive. Very expensive. Does the food measure up? For the most part, I would say yes.
We first received a complimentary amuse bouche (surprise), an apple & goat cheese tart with a chipotle cream sauce. Personally, I wasn't "wow'ed" by it, but everyone else liked it quite a bit, so I'll put it down as a winner. Couldn't fault the execution, though, it was flaky, creamy and perfectly made.
For the salads, both couples split the heirloom tomato salad. This is a dish that relies heavily on the availability of quality tomatoes, and given that it is January, maybe that wasn't the best choice. Regardless, it was very good, the goat cheese, bacon and greens were all very tasty. I think if I ordered this in May it would have been outstanding.
On the the entrees. My wife ordered the Herb Horseradish Halibut at the recommendation of the waiter. It was easily one of the best fish dishes I've ever had in Austin - very well prepared, flavorful, not dry, and the accompanying sides were excellent - my wife especially liked the dill gnocchi. My wife is a small 5'1" and never finishes a meal. This time, she was wishing there was more. So were the rest of us (we always try each other's food).
The other dishes ordered were the Crunchy Ruby Trout, Grilled King Salmon and Elk Back Strap. The trout was another clear winner, breaded and pan-fried so it was crispy, again was cooked perfectly - not dried out in the least, very flavorful, and the aioli was fantastic. This was a large dish, it had two sizable pieces of fish. I really liked my elk back strap, but I would only order it if you are a fan a game dishes or simply want to try something completely un-ordinary. The flavor is very different and distinct. It wasn't a hit with my dining companions, however it came with Shiner Bock mashed potatoes that so good I had to fend off the others (especially my wife) who kept trying to get more
The only dish that was disappointing was the salmon. It was a little too charred on the outside, and while not bad, overall the flavor didn't measure up to the others.
For dessert, the four of us split the creme brulee trio (vanilla, chocolate & blood orange), again at the recommendation of the waiter and again absolutely excellent. We ended up taking bites of the orange and chocolate brulees together for a luscious chocolate-orange dessert.
I found their wine list to be about the same as most other nice restaurants in town. There were plenty of choices that aren't "stupid-expensive".
So, hopefully that helps. Yeah, it's expensive, and yeah, after this and Trulucks last weekend it's PB&J for the rest of January. But, was it good, even great? Absolutely.
I agree with the opinion that it is very expensive but I LOVE the food. The hot & crunchy ruby trout is wonderful. I would definitely recommend it. The salad with crusted goat cheese is also very good as a starter.
I like Hudson's, too, but I don't love all their food. Many items are appealing merely because of the novelty factor (rattlesnake cakes), as singlemalt pointed out above. On my next visit, I plan to stick to dishes that rely on quality ingredients—like the seared fois gras, maybe the smoked prime ribeye—and avoid the more ambitious offerings.
I should mention that I tried the "hot and crunchy" ruby trout on the recommendation of a co-worker and didn't like it at all. To see my full review, check out this recent thread: