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Places that are Popular to Hate

I got a gift cert to Magnolia Cafe....went this morning. This place, along with Kerbey Lane, doesn't get a lot of love on this board.

However, for a real good price, I got:

Steamed broccoli with a queso for my daughter ($2)
Bowl of roasted red pepper corn chowder soup ($3.75)
Economical breakfast - two sunny up eggs, black beans, 1/2 grapefruit ($4.75)
Side of bacon ($1.75)
Flamingo Sandwich ($?)
Paper and crayons for my child
Great service

Anyhow, it brings to mind the question - what do you like about places that (on this board) that are popular to hate? Like if there's more than six patrons, they've sold out.

Suggestions:

Kerbey Lane
Katz's
Magnolia
Hut's (I don't like the burgers either, but I like the catfish and onion rings)
Chuy's
Salt Lick
Polvo's
Others?

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  1. I've always loved Hut's. Mostly because I was taught that it was a Texas institution as a child visiting from Baton Rouge before we moved here. Gotta love a greasy burger with cream of mushroom soup and tons of cheddar cheese. I spent hours checking out the football posters and memorabilia. There is something to be said for tradition and Hut's is a big one in my family. The onion rings are the ultimate greasy indlugence.

    1. Polvo's has some krunk fajitas for a great price. I'm a big fan of the pastor fajitas and their black salsa is delicious. Only hating on Polvo's I can understand is the lack of parking and the high hipster traffic.

      10 Replies
      1. re: uarent

        I really like Polvo's, but wish it hadn't become popular with all the transplants. Back when Spanish was only spoken, the food seemed to be more loviningly prepared. It's still a favorite for fajitas (guajillo for me) and the enchiladas de la casa are always nice on spring mornings.

        1. re: uarent

          black salsa? do tell.

          i like a few dishes at povo's (the fish a la plancha and the chile relleno w/ the crack-like creamy pecan sauce).
          however, i rarely go because:
          1. it's down south, and i am in NW austin
          2. parking suuuuuuuuuucks
          3. the wait for a table is always interminable
          4. i hate hipsters

          1. re: dinaofdoom

            Funny, I've never had to wait. Always seems I just beat the crowd. Agreed, I live in NW Austin too. 4-yup.

            1. re: amysuehere

              clearly, i need to make sure our times coincide so i don't have to wait!
              i usually go on the weekends (but now very rarely) so that is probably a big part of it.

              also, for those of you who are driving back home to places like NW austin?
              do not order a pitcher of margaritas for two, because you think it will be more economical.
              they will knock you on your ass and then you will need to eat lots and lots and lots of food in order to feel like you can drive all the way back home.

              /psa

          2. re: uarent

            There is this fallacy. Termed "The Fallacy of the Small Sample Size", it is the plague to Chowhounders everwhere. Heck, most the places I think are amazing I have only eaten at between one and ten times.

            Polvo's is not a victim of this fallacy. I have been eating there for a while, and for a couple years lived just a few blocks away. Because I had a couple nice work lunches and date dinners there, it was an esteemed joint. I made it my go-to place, and was baffled by the beatings I received. Why is this place just so bad at brunch? Why did they accidentally add $20 to my tab? Wtf with the abysmal service? Stale chips? Cold fish? What in Thor's name is happening?

            I'm grateful. Fortune forced me to explore East. When I lived near South 1st, I plied Polvo's first as my primary choice. Good gringo queso with a compuesto-bomb of diced side goodies and a few good trips had convinced me that this place was not just hip. Rather it was the real deal, the sought-after and crucial Tex-Mexican meal. This was the panacea! Perhaps people ponder precipitously: Polvo's? From experiences numbering in the dozens ('though sub-hundred), let me tell you: "I am dissappoint." (sp)

            Bad service, erratic billing, mediocre mains, this place remains the only Tex-Mexiplace (while hipsters are chilling) cranking out Tex-Mex for $40 per head average with drinks included that isn't a chain. I can replicate this feat at Chuy's, Trudy's, and Curra's. (Actually, I think all Curra's outlets have died other than South Austin -- can someone confirm?)

            It isn't that Polvo's sucks. So "Hate" as the thread title suggests is unjustified. And the fajitas at Polvo's are often pretty tasty. And I do owe them a debt for forcing me, after numerous crappy-but-expensive-experiences, into exploring the South Austin milieu, and driving me further East, South, and East. Oh, and South.

            It instead is that Polvo's is overrated. You, the nameless, faceless defender of Polvo's, must understand: this place is only mediocre. Many, many folks in white belts and/or rumpled concert t's will attest to Polvo's dominance as their preferred place for Tex-Mex. Again I say thee "Whatevs!" -- while not terrible, Polvo's is not even as good as Curra's, and isn't fit to carry the luggage of El Meson.

            (And sitting outside being attacked by wasps during the summer doesn't help either, while having nothing to do with the food.)

            1. re: tom in austin

              Not sure if I am the "nameless, faceless defender" that you are talking about, but in a town that has surprisingly few suitable Tex-Mex places for its size and location, Polvo's has rarely disappointed. Never been to El Meson, but I've hit up many Mexican food places in this town, from Bejucos to Trudys near 183, and I've got to say that if Polvo's is the median than my sample must be way off.

              1. re: uarent

                Wasn't directed to any 'hound. For example: You're uarent, and thusly not nameless.

                If you're in the nabe, try El Meson for a late weekday breakfast or an early weekday lunch.

              2. re: tom in austin

                Hmm...sample size. Of course, for my own subjective opinion, a sample size of 1 is statistically significant :)

                And that opinion is this: I loathe Polvo's. Unfortunately I have been there more than once as it's a kind of go-to celebration place. The service is wretched, the food mediocre, and frankly the place is just dirty. And not in a hole in the wall, part of the charm Texas Chili Parlor way.

                1. re: NWLarry

                  Part of the reason I roll my eyes when my husband suggests Polvo's is because every time we go there, the staff is sitting around in the booths, eating breakfast, reading the paper, gossiping. Meanwhile, we need coffee refills, the check, and other basics of service. It's infuriating.

                  1. re: bookgrrl72

                    My turn to pile on. This is the only place i've ever been to, excepting a tourist trap on Bourbon Street, that adds gratuity for parties of 4 or more.

            2. County Line seems to get no love on CH, but I like it.....

                1. re: SlickTheCat

                  Torchy's barbacoa taco topped with the diablo habanero orange cream condiment they make is very difficult to beat as barbacoa goes. And I believe those are homemade corn tortillas.

                  1. re: slowcoooked

                    I enjoy both places, they are simply places that many of the chowhounds on this board love to hate.

                    1. re: slowcoooked

                      I was waiting for my taco at the Spicewood location and saw the tortilla truck roll up. Wish I could remember the name, but I hadn't totally been awake yet.

                      1. re: amysuehere

                        I've seen the tortilla truck too. El Milagro. Which is pretty good as far as a commercial tortilleria goes.

                        1. re: exlnghrn

                          That's it! It was an El Milagro. Thanks for the jog, exlnghrn.

                          1. re: exlnghrn

                            We had some chips & queso with our tacos this weekend, and I mentioned that their chips reminded me of El Milagro's. On the strength of this detection, I will now bill myself far and wide as a tortilla chip savant.

                    2. I like Kerbey Lane as long as I order from the main menu and never ask for anything from the seasonal list. At the 183 location, I've found the service to be fast and attentive, and my food always arrives to me hot. I'm pretty fond of the gingerbread pancakes and the migas with queso.

                      Re: the seasonal list, I've found the cooks are really great at making the items on the menu that are requested a zillion times a week. However, if you deviate from the menu by picking something that's "of the month" or "of the season", they have a meltdown of epic proportions. I've ordered from it a few times and the result has never ever been good.