Austin Java Company
When I was visiting Austin before my move here, I ate at Austin Java quite often. I tried the crawfish quesadillas; the peanut soup; the grilled-tuna Nicoise salad; the Thai sesame-noodle salad; the crawfish-avocado salad; the house salad; the Cajun-blackened crawfish pasta; the creamy mushroom-pesto pasta; the "confetti" penne pasta; the pasta marinara; the lean [just a plain] burger; the black-and-blue burger; the turkey burger; the grilled-chicken-Caesar sandwich; the chicken-satay sandwich; the toasted sesame-chicken sandwich; the chorizo, egg, and cheese tacos; the key-lime pie; one of the cheesecakes; the lemon cookie that’s supposed to be amazing; the chocolate-chip cookies; and the oatmeal-Heath-bar cookies.
My conclusion was that some of these items were good—the burger with blue cheese; the crawfish quesadillas; some varieties of the daily mashed potatoes; the oatmeal-Heath-bar cookie—but good only compared to other “healthy,” vegetarian-friendly cafe-food. To me, nothing seemed truly delicious, and I quickly tired of the similar flavors. I haven’t wanted to go back, either. Oddly, since it's a coffee shop, AJ does quite a poor job with the coffee and tea beverages.
Austin Java has some things going for it—the vibe, the free wi-fi, a few food items—but it seems to me that there are many options in town for better quesadillas, burgers, sandwiches, breakfast tacos, salads, and certainly pastas (the ones at AJ are totally overcooked, like the spaghetti you’d get at a diner).
Which location did you frequent? We've had far better food at the Barton Springs one than the one up NW or the one on Enfield.
I thought the bun on the burger was particularly good. It's somewhat unconventional, maybe honey wheat? Reminds me of the buns at Pluckers. And the garlic mayo was a great touch.
The African peanut soup was tasty, too.
Of course, I could have just been hungry. ;)
I frequented both locations.
The honey-wheat bun is a unique touch—to an extent, since they serve something similar at Pluckers—but I thought it was too sweet. Since it always fell apart, especially with the burgers, I started substituting for it with other bread options. If it weren't for AJ's flavored mayos, their sandwich combos would lose more appeal. The beef and chicken that they use are too lean to stand on their own. As far as their soups go, none of them wowed me.
For various reasons, at the time I wasn't able to find any tips here on chowhound and often went by what was “typically” recommended as "the best" in Austin. Needless to say, I had some really bad meals as a result. In comparison, I enjoyed Austin Java for what it was. I tried it a couple of times after moving here, too. I’ve just never wanted to go back.