HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >

Austin Grill? Newly Opened in C'Ville

s
sweetclover Jun 18, 2008 09:24 AM

Anyone have a comment about Austin Grill? All I know is they're TexMex and a local chain restaurant. They've recently opened in Centreville in the location where Catbo used to be.

I disliked Catbo immensely .. but like TexMex ... I'm willing to give Austin Grill a try, but hate the thought of wasting good money on a bad meal.

Any input is welcome.

TIA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. m
    MarcDC RE: sweetclover Jun 18, 2008 09:43 AM

    it's below average and not worth going to. the best tex mex i've found has been in the DC/MD area. Uncle Julios (Rio Grande) and Cactus Cantina are the best imo.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MarcDC
      t
      Transplanted Texan RE: MarcDC Jul 6, 2008 09:08 PM

      Agree with you, MarcDC, In this area the closest thing to reasonably okay Tex Mex is indeed Rio Grande and Cactus Cantina. There's another recent thread on Austin Grill here somewhere that sweetclover may want to find. The Bethesda AG used to be really good, years ago. The new Rockville AG has really good service but I'm not so thrilled with the food.

      1. re: Transplanted Texan
        m
        MarcDC RE: Transplanted Texan Jul 22, 2008 02:45 PM

        Yea... I wish we had good Tex-Mex here. I'm jealous of my younger brother that goes to college in Dallas, TX. haha

    2. monavano RE: sweetclover Jun 18, 2008 10:49 AM

      My sense is that you wont find too many kind words from DC?VA CH'ers about Austin Grill. BUT>>>>>> make up your own mind. It's not expensive, so you won't be too hurt if you hated it.
      Try it for brunch, which I happen to think is a good deal at AG, and a nice way to see if you like the feel and quality there.

      1. e
        Ericandblueboy RE: sweetclover Jun 18, 2008 11:34 AM

        It's American version of Tex-Mex (use higher quality ingredients) as opposed to Mexican version of Tex-Mex (think combination platters made with ground beef). I haven't been to one recently but when I lived in G'town, I use to go to the Wisconsin branch every once in awhile. I think it's worth going to at least one time if you're in the neighborhood to see if you like it. As for Centreville Mexican, I go to Taqueria Michoacan at 7422 Old Centreville Road, Manassas, VA.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ericandblueboy
          s
          sweetclover RE: Ericandblueboy Jun 26, 2008 09:21 PM

          Thanks for the suggestion ... When I'm in Manassas on Saturday, I'll check it out.

        2. g
          gregb RE: sweetclover Jun 19, 2008 05:27 AM

          I have been to the AG in Baltimore and was pleasantly surprised at the meal we got. As previously mentioned, it is cheap so you're not taking a huge risk there... and the food was actually pretty good. It is what it is, so don't expect any authentic Mexican cuisine but for Americanized Tex-Mex, I have certainly had worse.

          1. Meg RE: sweetclover Jun 19, 2008 07:32 AM

            I think Austin Grill is a terrific change up from Rio Grande and other local Mex places. I'm excited to have one in Centerville. It may not be authentic Austin tex-mex but the few times I've been I've always really enjoyed it.

            1. e
              ellie_chic RE: sweetclover Jun 19, 2008 08:36 AM

              austin grill is pretty good - ive been to the one in baltimore - my coworkers love it! i definitely would say its excellent in comparison to catbo in centreville, that place wasn't the best - rio grande/uncle julios are definitely the still my fave.

              1. a
                antepiedmont RE: sweetclover Jun 19, 2008 08:19 PM

                I was there for lunch a couple of days ago. I have not been to an AG in years but they seem to have gone downhill bad. I used to like them as a sort of good-as-it-gets for family-friendly Tex Mex. II haven't been in a few years though -- I guess I didn't like them well enough to go very often! Anyway lunch was lame. None of the dishes are really anywhere near authentic Tex Mex (I lived in Dallas for a long time). I won't bother with details, it just pretty much sucked.

                4 Replies
                1. re: antepiedmont
                  k
                  kelarry RE: antepiedmont Jun 19, 2008 10:22 PM

                  I love it for lunch in Baltimore! It's pretty decent Tex-Mex- beating out the other options in the city (IMO).

                  1. re: kelarry
                    m
                    MarcDC RE: kelarry Jun 20, 2008 11:56 AM

                    Nacho Mamas is much better

                    1. re: MarcDC
                      k
                      kelarry RE: MarcDC Jun 20, 2008 09:54 PM

                      Nacho Mamma's presentation is sloppy, & service is slow. The food always tastes a day old & reheated in my opinion. The salsa at Austin Grill is so fresh & they change it every month. That's enough to win me over already!

                  2. re: antepiedmont
                    s
                    smariana RE: antepiedmont Aug 19, 2008 11:40 AM

                    Downhill is an understatement! We used to eat at the one in Old Town, but the vibe has seemed to change over the last few years. Used to be our home away from home. i dunno if it's the new corpoaration or what but the staff isn't as friendly or funky as they were. Was in for lunch for the first time in a year at Bethesda and the staff was all dressed in the same crappy corporate shirts with ho-hum looks on their faces and the food was so-so for the prices. I don't think we'll be back. What happened????

                  3. JonParker RE: sweetclover Jun 20, 2008 03:55 AM

                    I don't know how much difference there is between locations but the one in Silver Spring was atrocious.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: JonParker
                      c
                      cocoagirl RE: JonParker Jun 27, 2008 05:12 AM

                      Silver Spring the worst, Bethesda not so bad.

                      1. re: cocoagirl
                        HSBSteveM RE: cocoagirl Jul 14, 2008 11:46 AM

                        I have a new worst AG - Springfield, VA! I say that with deep regret, as I was once a loyal fan. This one went downhill very fast over the past 6 months. It's a disgrace, especially the cleanliness factor.

                    2. m
                      MDoodle RE: sweetclover Jun 29, 2008 06:15 PM

                      The one in Old Town is terrible and I find everything they have to be overpriced. Chips and salsa left so much to be desired, and it was pretty much downhill from there. To be quite honest, I'd rather eat at a Chevy's any day over Austin Grill.

                      1. s
                        sweetclover RE: sweetclover Jul 6, 2008 12:54 PM

                        I finally made it for lunch last Saturday. All I have to say is "Bleck."

                        1. Aphioni RE: sweetclover Jul 6, 2008 03:54 PM

                          i had lunch there a few weeks and it was pretty good- the veggie quesadilla was yummy and the sevice was excellent. we went the following week for a work happy hour and i can honestly say i would never order a slider again from there- ugh.

                          alto plaza is right up the street and while slightly over priced- superior cuisine. check IT out for fine dining in c-ville. Red Rock Canyon is pretty good for casual c-ville dining!

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: Aphioni
                            s
                            sweetclover RE: Aphioni Jul 10, 2008 09:34 PM

                            Interesting about Alto Plaza ... a good friend who has eaten there on a few occasions has had nothing good to say about the whole package of this place .. food ambiance pricing, etc. Thanks for the heads up .. I MAY try it for Brunch on the weekend.

                            1. re: sweetclover
                              Aphioni RE: sweetclover Jul 14, 2008 06:02 AM

                              i'd love to hear your opinon of it- I and the party of 11 I was with were ALL very pleased with everything from the serivce to the meal- flavor and presentation!

                              1. re: sweetclover
                                Manassas64 RE: sweetclover Aug 20, 2008 08:41 AM

                                re Alto Plaza - my understanding is that it's casual downstairs and fine dining upstairs.

                                I went to Red Rock when it first opened and wasn't impressed at all. I thought it was overpriced and will stick with Sweetwater Tavern instead. I saw that the Tex-Mex place changed names again, I wasn't impressed with the first or second version, so I will skip the third version.

                                I will add my vote for Cactus Cantina as well. Great food.

                                1. re: Manassas64
                                  Manassas64 RE: Manassas64 Oct 12, 2008 04:56 PM

                                  I took a Meetup group to Alto Plaza for brunch today. To say that the place was dead at noon is an understatement. I was the first person to get there. The brunch/lunch is on the second floor.

                                  The brunch meno has a lot of choices (you can see the brunch menu online). I had a belgian waffle. Others had Mexican entrees and cheese omlettes and everyone enjoyed their meal. They all looked fantastic. My waffle was $6.50, which I thought wasn't bad.

                                  Desserts were awesome. I had espresso creme brule which was so nice. That was $6.50 as well but it was large, definitely enough for 2-3 pp.

                                  The lunch menu (which may also be the dinner menu on weekends) was very expensive. Entrees were $19 and up.

                                  They told us the third floor was closed for 10 weeks as they were getting a new chef and making renovations, but we could go upstairs and look around. It wasn't under construction or anything, so I am guessing it's more of a decoration/kitchen renovation than a total blowout. The place is brand new.

                                  On the third floor there is a nice bar and piano area and tables. You can also sit outside on every level, although I can't say that sitting on the corner of 28 & 29 has any romantic value or ambiance.

                                  More people started coming later, around 1-2 pm, so we weren't the only party there when we left.

                                  But, the food was good and I would go back for lunch or brunch again.

                                  1. re: Dylan Tana
                                    b
                                    Brenda O RE: Dylan Tana Nov 25, 2008 05:16 AM

                                    I can second this opinion. We were very happy to have an outpost of AG open in Centreville during the summer, but were more than disappointed in the food. We tried it again at the end of November and met the new manager, food was significantly better. Hubby had the fajitas, I had a grilled chicken salad, both were much improved over previous visits.

                                    1. re: Brenda O
                                      Meg RE: Brenda O Dec 28, 2008 08:37 AM

                                      Based on the recent "improved" reviews, we stopped at the Austin Grill in Centerville yesterday for lunch. Whomever took over this local chain should have changed its name in the process. Neither the menu nor the quality of food in any way resembles the Austin Grill of 5+ years ago. Nothing special or memorable about this food at all. My steak tacos were tepid (the left over one tasted better at home today after being microwaved), the only flavor I could taste from the meat marinade was salt, and the small beef bites were chewy. In general the rice and tacos were extremely garlicky, which I'm not accustomed to in mexican food. My husband's chicken salad was about as plebean as they come. The highlight was the grilled/dry rubbed chicken wings. Meaty and fresh. But overall, nothing resembled the Austin Grill I used to know and love, except for the sign outside.

                                      1. re: Meg
                                        e
                                        eam531 RE: Meg Dec 29, 2008 08:34 AM

                                        The downhill slide of the AG is truly sad. My husband and I started going to the one in Old Town in 1990. We used to live in Austin in the mid-80s and the AG really was like the TexMex joints we frequented there. We loved it and were regulars and the waitstaff was wonderful. Now ... blech. Haven't been to the Old Town location in years but have been to the Penn Quarter location and the Silver Spring location.

                                        Hard to believe now that Ann Cashion was a chef at AG back in the day. The food used to be really really good--I especially remember an excellent chile verde soup and a nopales salad, both of which were taken off the menu years ago.

                                        Needless to say, we won't be going back there any more.

                                        1. re: Meg
                                          chowser RE: Meg Dec 31, 2008 11:35 AM

                                          Austin Grill was bought out awhile ago by a corporate chain. It has gone downhill from when I first visited years ago (probably 5+ years as you said). It's too bad. I'd choose Chevy's over it at this point. I felt like I broke my tooth on the tortilla chips.

                                2. re: Aphioni
                                  discojing RE: Aphioni Dec 31, 2008 10:06 AM

                                  what.... Alto Plaza got ZERO stars when it was reviewed in the WP

                                3. discojing RE: sweetclover Dec 31, 2008 10:07 AM

                                  I loved Catbo (amazing food for super cheap!) and Austin Grill is atrocious -- I ate there RIGHT when it opened and it was a complete waste of money.

                                  Show Hidden Posts