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Oct 9, 2008 01:37 PM

Texas French Bread on 29'th and Rio Grande: a delicious dinner and serene experience

Had a delicious dinner and serene experience at the Texas French Bread on 29'th and Rio Grande.

Driving away I actually thought, OK if I were to buy a place in this neighborhood, I could just WALK to amazing dinners Thurs - Sat evenings (not to mention probably-delicious breakfasts any day of the week.)

I have been wanting to try their breakfasts, but also read in that lengthy article in the Statesman that the children of the original Texas French Bread owners had decided to start serving dinner Thursdays - Saturdays evenings 6pm onwards, with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.

A type of Caprese salad with the most flavorful tomatoes I've had this year, fresh mozarella and basil, and a seasoned garlic olive oil. Interesting plating; very unlike traditional caprese.
OH, and BIG tasty garlicy-olive-oily homemade breadcrumbs. (w/a smidge too much olive oil for my tastes, but they were still delicious)

Redfish, fresh from the gulf, a substantial fillet, sauteed to the point of doneness but still completely moist. There was a tasty sauce of some kind; good but did not interfere with my enjoying that amazing redfish fillet.

Side (alongside the redfish): Lentils. I am so glad I did NOT know Lentils were the side dish in advance because I probably would not have ordered it. I thought I did not like lentils. I *loved* those lentils. The lentil 'broth' added a depth of flavor I've never tasted before when making myself eat those things.

Every single mouthful tasted so fresh. For 2 reasons - because of supremely good ingredients, but also because (this sounds obvious but...) it tasted like EVERYTHING finished cooking the second before it landed on the table. Hard to describe... In comparison, it made everything I'd eaten in the past week taste like it had been prepared a week in advance.

They also offered a complimentary glass of wine as they do not have their liquor license yet.

This meal completely relaxed me. Interesting tunes, pleasant-enough interior, perceptive service. It was not crowded at all which concerns me because the place should be packed.

I believe their dinner menus completely change each week based on what's fresh and available.


Because I very much want this place to thrive and prosper with their dinner / breakfasts foray, I'm annoyed at the Texas French Bread website

Someone needs to drop whatever else they are doing and change it. I don't get an inkling of the amazing dinner experience they deliver from their website. If I had not glanced at the Statesman article, I would not have tripped over the restaurant from a location perspective, and I certainly would not have guessed that a place called "Texas French Bread" could create one of the best dinners I've had this year in Austin (another favorite being Restaurant Jezebel.) I wish they had their weekly dinner menus on their website.

Also, it's inaccurate. It describes being open Monday - Friday for breakfast, when they are now serving breakfast on weekends as well. Almost no other website has their correct opening hours either.(Chronicle, etc)

All in all, a delicious dinner and wonderful experience. I hope they do well.

2900 Rio Grande
Austin, TX 78705-3616

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  1. We tried the dinner at Texas French Bread last night and did not have as positive feelings as sweet100s.

    We had the pan-seared tenderloin with frites and greens and coc au vin and while both were all right enough they did not blow us away. The tenderloin tasted grass fed and no doubt was local but the greens were sauteed in garlic but just didn't have much oomph to them. The frites weren't bad though. They were thin, quarter wedge slices with a nice crisp on the outside but soft in the center. This was the better of the two entrees.

    The chicken didn't have enough taste but was pretty tender.

    We didn't do any appetizers because we were to focus on dessert, but we were tired by the end of the meal and got two mediocre cupcakes to go. Total bill was about $55

    Sweet100s is right about the atmosphere. A very nice, relaxed feel. It is BYOB--supposedly $7 corkage but they didn't charge us.

    The waiters seemed harried but it turned out someone had gotten sick and they were short staffed. They had a nice crowd.

    While I'm glad about the trend of local ingredients menus (Cipollina and Primizie have started them as well), we just weren't that exicted by Texas French Bread's.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Carter B.

      TFB has entirely dropped off the radar with me. Used to years ago I would go totheir location on S Congress ( I refuse to call it SoCo, pull out my tongue if you will ) frequently for lunch and have a great soup and sandwich deal witih a big cookie. I still wistfully think of their "5 Lilly" soup. Somehow, things changed, it seems, and things started going downhill. They seemed to lose some of their "professionalism". There was a TFB place on Burnet and Anderson and I don't even know if it is there anymore. One thing was though, they had a cool T shirt and my kids always like to wear them. Tant pis.

    2. Have eaten at TFB for dinner about 10 times since they started dinner service. Always had great food and the plus is the emphasis on local producers. Service is sometimes a little slow but if you know it ahead of time it is easy to just relax and enjoy. Ben and Murph are trying really hard to do a good job and are always nice (Ben often comes out and discusses the nights special with us, I used to be in the busines). Al in all a very nice place to eat and spend your money to keep it local.

      1. I grew up dunking Texas French Bread in my dad's soups, and going there after school for coffee. My favorite was their pimento cheese sandwich and a brownie for dessert. One of the best brownies ever.! I hope they are still doing well.
        My friend's dad is an architect and he designed the building at 29th.
        If I still lived in Austin, I would be stopping by daily to pick up a baguette.
        Cheers to TFB

        1. We tried them for dinner and had a very good meal...
          -fresh TFB bread/olive oil
          -beet/carrot/goat cheese/walnut salad - great balance of both flavor and textures.
          -fried white bean fritters w/ tomato sauce - the fritters were fried unevenly (two were overdone). The breading was crispy and had a nice herb flavor. Sauce had a nice tangy freshness to it.
          -pasta w/ broccoli, light cream sauce and some sort of tangy cheese - delicate sauce and the choice of cheese really helped the flavor
          -pasta w/ sauteed garlic, olive oil, and parmigiano - excellent basic pasta dish

          Service was attentive although if they were any busier, I can see it becoming overwhelming. They appear to function with a minimal staff.

          Not sure why they don't promote this dinner service better. Each course was thoughtfully constructed and tasted great. We noticed the pasta is even rolled out fresh when you order it.

          They print out a new menu each week, but for some reason haven't updated the large chalk board listing some older menu. Odd things like this and not changing the website, hours, etc make me wonder just how committed they are to the dinner idea. Hopefully the kitchen's obvious enthusiasm will carry over to management.