HOME > Chowhound > Austin >
Are you making a specialty food? Get great advice
TELL US

Castle Hill Cafe closing

bookgrrl72 Jun 19, 2008 06:28 PM

I've never been -- worth checking out before they shutter? I know that my therapist loves their chocolate mousse.

http://www.austin360.com/blogs/conten...

  1. m
    mwreese Jul 4, 2008 02:12 PM

    I thought this article was interesting and well written. If you read between the lines, it just affirms what others have suggested, Chef Dailey was very well liked and they never recovered from him leaving. Also, sounds like Cathe needs more storage for her mexican art collection. Too bad, I know a few people that adored Castle Hill. I wish they'd consider publishing some of their recipes.

    http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyroba...

    1. s
      SLadd Jun 29, 2008 06:11 PM

      Do the same folks also own Mirabelle's in NW Austin?

      2 Replies
      1. re: SLadd
        f
        foodiefool Jul 1, 2008 01:55 PM

        If you miss Castle Hill, you should make a trip to Mirabelle. The menu has some of the old faves from Castle Hill, plus I've always liked the ambiance better. And the wine list, for selection and price, is the best in town.

        1. re: SLadd
          a
          austinethos Jul 1, 2008 02:17 PM

          If I remember correctly, I think they were owned by the same couple, but then lost that connection after they divorced.

          Am I close to being right?

        2. t
          theabroma Jun 28, 2008 11:13 PM

          If they still have it, the duck and sausage gumbo ... a properly cooked roux: the color of Aunt Gertrude's mahogany sideboard ... none of this wimpy wheat-colored ones. It was savor, rich, spicy, and pure heaven.

          Sounds like the just got tired and bored, and it was reflected in their food.

          1 Reply
          1. re: theabroma
            d
            dconnor Jun 29, 2008 07:57 AM

            The duck and sausage gumbo is still on the menu at Mirabelle.

          2. e
            eldog Jun 28, 2008 05:01 PM

            Castle Hill has long been my favorite place to eat out in Austin. For my tastes it hit all the right notes. It is true that was never the same after Chef Dailey left, and my comments more or less reflect that time at Castle Hill. The wine list (before the longtime wine buyer also left recently) could not be beat for the money, they marked up their wines less than any restaurant I know of in town, and consistently had wines that were not available locally and damn tasty. I remember one time in particular, finding a bottle of something I had there at Central Market for MORE than I paid at Castle Hill. The meat in particular was always cooked spot on, and was of good quality. They took care of their staff; there are few places in town with less turnover.

            But for my taste they cut the corners in all the right places. It was in an old run down house, fine, why drop a ton of dough on new hardwood floors or tricked up silverware? That just gets passed on to the customer, and frankly I couldn't give a damn. Give me my perfectly cooked meat, some killer sauces, a top notch bottle of red, and a spot on creme brule and I'll eat in a shack, as long as it's sanitary. I could always count on Castle Hill to serve that up, without all the unnecessary crap, and have a good friend of mine bring the food out to boot. Great food without pretension,

            Castle Hill made from 1986 till now, few restaurants have that kind of a run, and I beg to differ with those above that claim that remodeling or parking did them in. What did them in was the food. It slipped. Maybe fancy new digs could have made up for the slippage, after all I think the Oasis is still kicking around serving swill after burning to the ground, but then if that had happened it would have been dead to me anyway, because what kept ME coming was what I stuffed down my throat. I hope it won't be a long wait for something to take it's place.

            Castle Hill
            R.I.P. 2008

            1 Reply
            1. re: eldog
              rudeboy Jun 29, 2008 03:30 AM

              You guys are right - I take back my remodeling comment. I too have many fond memories of Castle Hill.......

            2. p
              Paul Silver Jun 25, 2008 05:52 PM

              I went last Friday for lunch just to say goodbye because I courted my wife in that location when it was Treaty Oaks Cafe owned by Charles Mayes (now of Cafe Josie).

              I liked the food, the imagination and the variety of tastes on the plate. The Wine list seemed like a good value as well and I often had a Port for $4.50 with a Dessert.

              I suspect that the new incarnation will reprise many of the past popular dishes.

              1. c
                chub512 Jun 20, 2008 11:21 AM

                I think this is a sad example of a restaraunt just not keeping up with the times. I remember when I left austin fifteen years ago, Castle Hill was one of the best places in town and certainly could have been called fine dining by local standards. It was always on the list for special occasions when I could scrape up enough of my student income for something nice. Having just moved back nine months ago, I checked out Castle Hill again and have to say for the prices it didn't come close to what the curent crop of fine dining restaraunts in town are offering in terms of atmosphere, creativity and quality of food. Don't get me wrong the food was fine and of decent quality, but I would no longer call it fine dining or consider it for a special night out anymore.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chub512
                  rudeboy Jun 20, 2008 11:49 AM

                  Not to mention that they haven't remodeled in about 16 years.

                  I could have written the same post, chub.

                2. m
                  Mike B Jun 19, 2008 08:38 PM

                  I'm confused a bit by the owner's comments in that article. She complains that the inflation and costs are getting out of control, so she is renovating and changing the restaurant into a cheaper Mexican food restaurant?

                  Will the restaurant be cheaper to operate with a Mexican food menu at a lower pricepoint?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Mike B
                    s
                    sambamaster Jun 20, 2008 09:49 AM

                    the cost of gas goes down for sure...if they recycle the inside air!

                    Yes, her comments make one wonder if the reason for closing is deeper and unspoken...surely it costs more these days to create ANY cuisine. And good food is good food. Inflation is across the board, so are fuel costs. They, for at least one aspect of our modern lives, do not discriminate by ethnic origin.

                    Her reasons are as bogus as Castle Hill's food...I for one found it overrated and not worth the trip, walking or otherwise....

                    Oh, downtown condo dwellers must not like CH's style of food either!!!! Wacky.

                    1. re: Mike B
                      c
                      chascates Jun 20, 2008 12:48 PM

                      Got this from a friend of mine, an ex-waitress: " It is a surprise but since they installed a new chef a few years ago (something that is not mentioned in the article!) it hasn't been the same. I've heard from lots of my waiter friends (including a waiter that still works there) that business dropped off after that personnel change and has never returned. It does make sense, however, to add liquor to the menu since the profit margin is so good---the markup on hard liquor can float any negative costs in a restaurant. I thought that the owner's arguments concerning changing demographics was pretty weak"

                    2. ftf Jun 19, 2008 08:21 PM

                      Castle Hill does a few things very well. Entree Salads and inexpensive, but very good, wines for example. They will be missed.

                      I ate dinner there tonight and talked to the hostess about it. Some of the current dishes will remain on the menu, including a couple of the salads.

                      1. n
                        nypb Jun 19, 2008 07:04 PM

                        Because I was just thinking, we could really use another interior Mexican restaurant! Oh well, I hope the new place will be good.

                        I would like to go once more before they close Castle Hill but why bother?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: nypb
                          tim irvine Jun 19, 2008 07:22 PM

                          It is nice, but so are lots of places. Everytime I thought of going I winced over the parking hassles. For some interior Mexican dishes I like Las Palomas.

                        Show Hidden Posts