Eclectic favorites in Austin?
I am staying in Austin for tonight. I'd like to try an eclectic restaurant for dinner. I'd like something a little off the beaten path. Something not on the tourist beat. I am in NW Austin but will drive pretty much anywhere in the city for a good meal.
Upscale: Uchi on South Lamar, a couple of blocks south of Barton Springs Road on the left. Outstanding and pricey.
Cheap but Good: Sam's BBQ, 12th and Chicon for something that's hard to find and hard to beat; BBQ Mutton! (which was one of the major reasons I had to move back here from the Bay Area)
Most of the time "eclectic" and "not on the tourist beat" are mutually exclusive in Austin (I'm thinking Chuy's, Kerbey Lane, Magnolia... places with Keep Austin Weird plastered all over the place). The food at these places is mediocre.
Anyway... all labels aside, some of the best food in NW Austin, IMHO, is:
-Asia Market/Asia Cafe
-1st Chinese BBQ
I want to try Eastside Cafe next time I'm in town. That's what I was looking for.
I ended up downtown and saw another post for Parkside. Food was very good. I started with Crab Fritters. Very crunchy exterior and melt in your mouth gooeyness on the inside. The blue crab was just flavorful enough. And for my entree I had salmon on a bed of white beans and parsley puree. The salmon was perfectly cooked but a little under seasoned. The beans were actually the best part of the meal. Oh and the blanchd asparagus with parmesean cheese and lemon zest, my 2nd favorite part.
My server was very knowledgeable and attentive. She told me this was the first night of the new menu but I couldn't tell because she knew the menu.
The hostess must of been new. I got there around 5:30 and there was only one other person in the restaurant and she sat me at the next table over. Which wasn't bad until more joined up and I ended up sitting next to a large party. With one guy complaining he couldn't believe he couldn't bring in his own wine.
Overall, I think it is well run and well thought out. I would definitely come back with friends.