It's Not Their Specialty but.....
The recent discussion of Backstage Steakhouse made me think of this topic.Backstage is a steakhouse,says so in the title but....the real deal there is the seafood.The daily special is usually seafood based and is invariably better than any of the steak offerings.What are some other places with a similar bend?Maybe a Mexican restaurant that trots out a Fried Catfish platter on Fridays...a Thai restaurant that makes a mean Frito pie....
I had a friend tha used to swear Enchiladas y Mas had the best hamburger in Austin. That was years ago when it was over there on I 35 and Dean Keaton. Never tried it though.
...on that note, having grown up here, I always had fond memories of the enchilada plate at Dart Bowl's "cafe." Don't know if they're still good, but I can almost still taste the sauce, and crappy yellow cheese plus the bacon in those refrieds. It was good, dirty food.
hubby and i used to love the burgers at Trudy's we could not STAND the tex-mex food, but those burgers. good bun, came with this great chipotle mayo, big ole steak fries. but then the last time we went (few years ago), the patty was this grey, school-cafeteria type burger. haven't gone back since. too many other places in austin with "the best burger".
Interesting question. Burger Tex on Guadalupe is better at their Korean BBQ than any Texas style burger. I'd go to Artz Rib House for a burger before ribs. Tamale House doesn't sell tamales, but I love their tacos. 34th St Cafe's (which I think of as as ladies who lunch salad place) best item is a verde enchilada. RO Outpost is a bbq place with a very nice CFS. There's got to be some better examples, but that's all I can come up with. Of course there's also Chuy's and El Arroyo who do better t-shirts and signs respectively.
La Regio Montana makes a very good burger, though it's not their specialty, either. Abarrotes Mexicanos makes great fried fish (especially on Fridays during Lent). The frutería Fruta La Feliz makes a nice version of vegetables en escabeche, in addition to aguas frescas and fruit cups. Olmecas Mexican Restaurant on East Oltorf produces an enjoyable chocolate layer cake, while Austin’s Barbecue on Burleson Road makes pretty good pancakes. Fonda San Miguel makes delicious cookies. I agree wholeheartedly with scrumptiouschef about the Backstage Steakhouse.
Even overpriced duds like Austin Land & Cattle and III Forks make pretty good “steakhouse appetizers” (fried mushrooms at AL&C; shrimp cocktail and crab cakes at III Forks), though that’s of small comfort when their steaks are so underwhelming.
I agree that the chicken-fried steak is a much better choice than barbecue at RO’s Outpost (for god’s sake, don’t order the brisket, though the smoked turkey is okay). To me, however, their CFS is not delicious, just pretty good—in a different way. It's softer, more tender, but not necessarily more flavorful than other local versions that I like. I don’t mean to suggest that it’s disgusting, but I also don’t think it’s “the best,” despite what a certain local “critics’ poll” has been regularly claiming since 2002. I do like their pies, though the crust is made with Crisco and the fruit fillings come from a can. (The "great sides" that the "critics" recommend come straight from a can, too.) If I’m passing through Spicewood anyway, RO’s would be at best my fourth choice, after the Backstage Steakhouse, Poodie’s, and Opie’s Barbecue. In my opinion, their CFS alone doesn't merit a special 90-minute round-trip drive from central Austin. This is offered as one more perspective on their chow.