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Best Thing YOU Ever Ate, Austin

Every city has their not to be missed, mind blasting dishes. Coming to Austin and would love to know your favorites and where to get them !

No holds barred...

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  1. All 13 dishes we had at Uchiko. Especially the Jar-jar Duck!

    1. I think I must be the only person in the world who doesn't like the Jar Jar Duck! Well... I didn't dislike it, just wasn't my fave; I found the smokiness a little too intense and almost bitter.

      BUT... most of my favorite dishes in town would probably come from Uchi or Uchiko. At the latter recently, i had an absolutely amazing dish that the waiter described as "basically just a big pile of uni," so you can't go too wrong with that, haha...

      At Uchi, some of the specials have been my favorite dishes in town (sashimi diver scallops, various foie gras specials), but some of the good ol' standbys are the Uchiviche and the Machi Cure. Several servings of both of those might just serve as a death row meal for me. The subtlety of tastes and the level of thought and craft in those dishes is some of the best I've ever experienced.

      Also, the Higado de Res (beef liver) at El Borrego de Oro is one of my favorite things in town. What else... Bun Bo Hue or No.1 Pho at Tan My, Five Spice Chicken at Sunflower, Duck/Pork combo at Din Ho. I could go on for a while, probably :)

      5 Replies
      1. re: popvulture

        Thanks popvulture, please do go on...

        Any good "one hit wonders" out there ? Maybe a street food vendor or truck that is not to be missed ?

        1. re: PoppiYYZ

          Thankfully, I think we're blessed with a lot of places with more than one hit wonders. Someone mentioned East Side King below... I'd definitely check that out while you're here. Each one has a slightly different menu though, but they're all very close together. You could do a little crawl.

          As far as the trailer scene goes, I'd say beet fries and curry buns at ESK Liberty Bar, pork belly at ESK Grackle. Pretty much everything I've had at all of the ESK trailers has been delicious, and I know that they just changed the menu at Shangri La. Other notables I've had lately have been Takoyaki at Love Balls (awful name, good food), and Neapolitan pizza at the trailer right across from it (I forget the name). Finally, the Goan fish dish at G'Raj Mahal is fantastic- order it spicy if you can take it.

        2. re: popvulture

          Popvulture, I didn't like the Jar Jar Duck that much, either. Definitely agreed that it's not Uchiko's best dish. Super cool presentation, though.

          1. re: popvulture

            I thought I was the only one! I am just not too big on smokiness. Also I am all in it for the seafood/fish and duck just wasn't what I was in the mood for. I second the machi cure and ad the hotate as being up there.

            1. re: chauvina

              I think it might just be a comparative thing for me... the Jar Jar Duck definitely has a cool presentation, and the flavor's good, but I just prefer the fish offerings at Uchi/Uchiko probably 95% of the time. The JJD had a really hefty, overpowering flavor, which makes sense seeing that many people describe Uchiko as being the masculine to Uchi's feminine.

              I have, of course, had plenty of non-seafood items at both places that were awesome. The foie options are usually great, and I had a great rabbit dish at Uchi one time as well, just to name a couple. At the end of the day though, I mainly go for their amazing seafood witchcraft.

          2. I declare the beef rib that I had (part of) for lunch today at Stiles Switch one of the best things I've eaten in awhile. I split one with my husband a few weeks back and it was so good, I couldn't get it off my mind so we went back today for another. This one was just as memorably delicious as the last.

            I should add that I haven't been to JMueller's for their beef rib, but the one at Stiles Switch is so good, I see no need to cross the river to get to it.

            5 Replies
            1. re: agoodbite

              Haha this is silly, but I have to ask- do they serve single ribs? I just imagine the Chris Rock scene from "I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka" and giggle.

              1. re: popvulture

                Fortunately, they do sell them by the each. H and I got a link, a 1/2 lb. brisket and one beef rib. Together we couldn't finish all of the rib or the brisket. IIRC, that one rib cost $12 so come hungry!

                1. re: agoodbite

                  Really? Jesus... somebody was saying something similar about J.Mueller the other day, that three short ribs cost like 30+ bucks. Can somebody explain the logic behind this? Must be some damn fine ribs.

                  1. re: popvulture

                    Well, they're gigantic. They go for $6.50 per half pound so 1 one rib is a lot of food. See attached picture.

                    1. re: popvulture

                      They are whole short ribs. Short ribs are 75-80% meat, ~20-25% bone. Each ribs weighs about a pound.

                      This the ARE cut into sections, so each one weight about 1/3rd pound.

                      As you can see, they are not the racks of soup bones you normally see in the grocery stores. Most people would probably be just as happy with the boneless brisket at BBQ joints for the same price (not paying for bone



              2. The salt and pepper shrimp at T&S seafood. White pizza at Home Slice. Green mole at brunch at Fonda San Miguel. Oxtail mac & cheese (I'm sure it had a better name than that), at Foreign and Domestic, but it's not on the current menu. Marrow bones at Parkside.

                1 Reply
                1. re: gilintx

                  I heartily second the salt and pepper shrimp at T&S! They are addicting...

                2. Brussels sprouts at East Side Kings. And Brussels sprouts at Second.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: NirvRush

                    Believe it or not, but I LOVE Brussels Sprouts. Even make a Momofuku inspired dish with Brussels Sprouts and homemade Kimchi that is out of this world ! How does East Side Kings and Second prepare them ?

                    1. re: PoppiYYZ

                      East Side Kings: Fried Brussels sprouts, sweet & spicy sauce, fresh shredded cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion, and jalapeño
                      Second: brussels sprouts · smoked bacon · mint · feta

                      i too love Brussels sprouts

                  2. Hama Chili at Uchiko. Fried Avocado taco at Torchy's. Hoover's chicken fried chicken with gravy and their jalapeno creamed spinach. The green beans at Asia Cafe. The roast pork hot pot at First Chinese BBQ.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: verily

                      They put crack in those green beans. They are crazy good!

                      1. re: Homero

                        OMG those are so good I could eat piles of them!!

                        1. re: shalom9

                          Found a few pictures and blog reviews of the Asia Cafe beans. They look great ! Looks like they are oil fried with onions and garlic, but what are the black bits ? Browned onion bits, mushrooms, maybe seaweed ?

                          1. re: PoppiYYZ

                            That is the one ingredient I have never been able to figure out, but I believe it is key. I think it is some type of mushroom or preserved vegetable. It doesn't taste pickled in the vinegar sense, but maybe there was some lactic fermentation going on. Either way, that is the secret of those green beans, and I must find out what it is.

                            1. re: Homero

                              Ahhh, an ingredient secret shrouded in a mystery. Reconstituted mushroom perhaps ?

                              Sounds like a noble quest for gourmet sleuth ! Good luck and please let us know.

                    2. If you are at Wink and there is a dessert with lemon curd -- go for it!

                      1. Tipsy Texan sandwich from franklin's!

                        runner up goes to jar jar duck and Im sure a few random things from barley swine!

                        1. Nice everybody, very nice. My stomach is already growling ! Please keep 'em comin'...

                          1. I concur with most of the aforementioned bites, but must add the carnitas tacos and goat barbacoa tacos (barbacoa de chivo) on house made corn tortillas at La Fruta Feliz. On par with the best bites of anything in town. Do add the avocado jalapeno sauce. I also really love the carne guisada at Mi Madres. I'm usually bored by that dish, but theirs with cheddar is outstanding.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: slowcoooked

                              Ahhhh never heard of this place. I'm up in that area a lot because a couple of good buds of mine live off of Manor. Will most DEFINITELY check out goat barbacoa!

                              1. re: popvulture

                                Crap, I meant the pastor and goat tacos. The carnitas are good but not crispy edged like a lot of places. More of the soft fatty and slimey variety. The pastor and goat though will slay you. Check out the big wall menu of smoothies, one of which is called "diabetes", hilarious !!!!

                              2. re: slowcoooked

                                Yeah, Fruta Feliz is serving up some seriously good mexican food. Their salsas are great and even simple breakfast tacos like nopalitos con huevos and papas con huevos are raising the bar. Those fresh, handmade corn tortillas are killer.

                              3. Foie Gras Nigiri at Uchi. Sweet and salty at the same time with a little bit of crunch from crispy quinoa. One of the best things I've ever put in my mouth. Get it as a dessert!

                                2 Replies
                                1. Al Pastor at the El Meson on Burleson, Yum green been and fried tofu with coconut cream, toasted coconut and peanuts at Madam Mams. Foie nigiri at Uchi. Nantucket scallops with sherbet at Uchiko, fried eggplant pizza from Home Slice...I could go on....Just had to edit that I didn't see the above posters response prior to posting about the foie nigiri-it really is that good!!!

                                  1. Ever?

                                    Redfish with Tomatillo sauce at Alana's on Sixth Street circa 1982, followed by a kiwi and banana tart.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Mike C. Miller

                                      Wow ! That obviously was one memorable meal. I take it Alana's is gone (nothing on Google or ChefDB), but do you know who the chef was (Alana ?) and is she/he still practicing ?

                                      1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                        Wish I did. It was THE hot dining spot in town in the early 1980's. Very good, except for a limited wine list. The had great tarts. You just don't see those much any more. Too labor intensive, I guess.

                                    2. Crispy fried pork chop from Din Ho is definitely on my list. Super crispy, amazingly moist, salty and spicy. Squirt a little of their hot chili oil on top and you have a little slice of heaven.

                                      1. I can't stop thinking of the perfectly seared scallops atop parsnip puree I had a month ago at Fabi and Rosi. Nestled in between the scallops were bacon-wrapped dates. The whole thing was just Mwah! and I said out loud at the time, "This may be the best thing I've eaten in Austin." It's still on the menu (online, anyway).

                                        I loved the pupusas, better than El Zunzal, at the Salvadoran place where Your Mom's Burgers now is. (R.I.P.) And any taco from Candy's trailer that used to be on E. 7th near Shady. Where, oh where, has she gone? Anyone know?

                                        1. Oh, and the raw fluke with almonds, lemon, & chives at Parkside! To me, it's a perfect dish.

                                          1. 2 or 3 years ago at The Carillon, I ordered the 6 course tasting menu. Within this dinner one dish in particular stood out among the kitchen's flawlessly orchestrated performance. It was miso marinated mero, with a carrot-ginger reduction. I was already a big fan of sea bass, but paired with the delicious sauce (I am a big fan of ginger) and the beautiful plating it remains in my mind as the best dish I have eaten. I'm glad they serve bread there because it would have been a shame to not leave the bowl squeaky clean (dish is still on the entree menu there).

                                            1. Another....Ever?
                                              1985, baby coho salmon grilled over mesquite at the original Capital Grill on 6th St. near the old Gellman building, both long gone. This was not the Capital Grill chain, which did not exist then. It had a genuine mesquite fueled grill. I was of course hoping for a good meal, but that I remember it 27 years later as the best whole fish I ever ate, speaks for itself.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                Just loved the Capital Grill. What a loss. They had a wonderful duck and andouille gumbo that you couldn't beat with a stick.

                                              2. I would have to say the sushi sampler appetizer at Finn and Porter a couple years ago during their restaurant week was the most amazing thing I've had. Watermelon roll? Radish roll? They were weird but so good.

                                                1. Sea Dragon Crawfish sauteed with with black peppercorn. Ethereal....

                                                  #76 here http://seadragontx.com/index.php?page...

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: rudeboy

                                                    Went and got some on your recommendation Rudeboy. It is pretty awesome. Same dish as salt and pepper shrimp say at t and s eh? Ooh they do froglegs I'm so there. Thanks!

                                                    1. re: BTAustin

                                                      Allright! I love when I recommend something and someone actually liked it.........I think I remember the T&S S&P shrimp with the shells on. I think they also offer it with the shells off. Asia Cafe also has good S&P froglegs, but I guess I didn't see that on Sea Dragon's menu.

                                                      Huge disappointment - I was invited to a Vietnamese wedding and reception Saturday night at Sea Dragon. I got sick yesterday and couldn't go, but the rest of my family went and told me how awesome it was. The whole restaurant was closed to the public and they served a special traditional menu. ARRGGHH!

                                                  2. Back in January at Uchiko, my husband and I did the Omakase for the first time. There was a cauliflower dish on there that I am still thinking about today. Hands down the best thing I've ever eaten in our fair city, or anywhere for that matter. And I'm not even remotely a vegetarian, but holy moly, this dish. I wish I could remember all of the details of the dish, but all I can remember is the overall taste...salty, unctuous, crunchy, a little sweet, and a lot of OMG.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: foodiegal71

                                                      Wow - if you figure it out, let me know. I love cauliflower. Sounds like some sort of take on Polonaise?