Hubbers and I keeping with our objective to try someplace new at least once a month, hit Lambert's this weekend while it was raining. Started off right by getting a space directly in front (parking could easily be a pain there).
Space is very "new Austin" and is a gutted warehouse with very minimalist décor, very long and slender with a long row of very closely placed parallel tables along one wall (wouldn’t want to sit there). Again, lucked out and got the last booth.
“Upscale BBQ” showed in the draft beer selection and hubbers and I both ordered Chimay ($6 pint). While we waited a bread plate was served with rather bland little corn muffins, some okay wheat bread and some better than average white bread, all thick sliced and homemade.
Hubbers ordered the Maple/Coriander Ribs with collard greens and potato salad while I ordered the Chopped Beef (asked them to sub the hoagie roll for the Texas toast, which didn’t happen but was probably a good thing cuz I didn’t end up needing the bread anyway) with mac & cheese. Both ran about $8.
Firstly, the mac & cheese was da bomb! Both of us agreed we’d be back for it if nothing else. It’s how I remember Luby’s being when I was a kid but it obviously wasn’t (does that make sense). It was served al dente with lots and lots of cheesy goodness, heaps of flavor and a crusty crunchy cheesy shell…yum.
Hubbers collards were chock-full of pork fat (which rules by the way) and while the ribs were fall-apart moist and seasoned well, I wasn’t keen on the coriander overpowering the flavor of the ribs. Potato salad was pretty standard, white version with scallions and skin-on potatoes.
My chopped beef was better than most, being more cubed than chopped and had a flavorful, slightly spicy sauce (not the sweet sauce served in bottles on the table – speaking of which the homemade mustard on the tables is quite yummy on the bread). It did, however have more than a few bites of solid fat, which isn’t appealing to me.
Service was very friendly without being intrusive and prompt with what looked to be a pool system of everyone helping everyone.
Two more comments about this place; first, they had sal picon on the menu and I’ve never seen that served anywhere but El Paso so I must go back and see if it’s authentic. Second, the peach cobbler served to the table across from us looked absolutely AMAZING. No, really. This thing received “oohh’s and ahh’s” as it passed through the restaurant.
So, all in all it was a pleasant meal that, while more expensive than most bbq joints, was worth the money and worth another trip back.
Chimay in a pint glass or a smaller Chimay-branded goblet or tulip glass? Chimay at $6 pint is a steal, only about 10% above retail. The goblets are quite a bit smaller than a pint though.
Oh, which Chimay was it? White (Cinq Cens), probably? No one seems to offer Blue (Grande Reserve) on tap.
I notice that they take reservations. Interesting, is it "that nice" of a place, or are they just assuming it will be that busy? Glad to see that their choice of team service is working, it often doesn't in Austin. Too many students, too many slackers, not sure why. :-) I heard from someone that their deviled eggs were quite tasty, if I get the holiday jones I might have to stop by the bar for a few.
I wouldn't say they are "that nice" but at the same time they are nicer than any other Austin BBQ place you have been to. I went on a Friday night (Jan 12th) and waited about 30 minutes for a table for two (was able to sit at their awesome bar and have an appetizer while we waited). I would recommend reservations to avoid waiting but by no means are they required.
"Upscale BBQ" - a result of cityfolk wants. Lambert's architecture is a copy of a chain of upscale BBQ places in Cali, Ari, and NM.
To ahaley: When we went there at about 9:30 pm on a Friday (during the cold spell).. they were surprised we didn't have a reservation.. but not rude about it. There was a 20 minute wait. Staff was excellent all around.. they came and got us from the upstairs area when our table was ready.
And to Kent Wang.. yes it's Chimay white in the standard Chimay tulip glass.
I didn't think the corn muffins were bland though.
Try the Root Vegetables and the Cauliflower Gratin. Creamy mashed potatoes were ok.
I went to Lambert's for my birthday last week, and I was more than impressed(then again, i guess i'm 'city folk' -- the idea of fancy barbecue in a beautiful setting excites me). I thought the fried shrimp appetizer was excellent; i had a salad that was memorable, a rare thing since salads usually don't stay in my head long after the meal -- i think it was called candy cane beet salad; and the cajeta dessert (i forget what it was called exactly but it's the last dessert on the menu) is well worth ordering, even if you're full. the only thing i didn't love was the meat; friends and i shared the prime rib, and it was pretty fatty; I probably should have gone with the waitress' recommendation on the more pricey piece of meat. I thought the service was excellent; the waitress had that actress-y but not obnoxious manner about her, there when we wanted her to be, totally excited about the food, not at all austin slackerish.