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Everybody loves ________, but me

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I saw this on the Dallas board and was facsinated. I'll get you started with 2 places sure to engender discussion.

Everybody loves Hut's and Matt's El Rancho but me. Mediocre burgers and terrible Tex-Mex. And no, the drinks are neither good enough nor cheap enough to save MER.

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  1. tomo dachi sushi
    any place at the domain

    1. Rudy's BBQ and country store on 183

      2 Replies
      1. re: ericthered

        All Rudy's or just the one on 183?

        1. re: Pmd669

          I've only eaten at the one on 183. So maybe the one in Round Rock is better. I hesitate because I do not want to be dissappointed...again.

      2. Maudie's

        3 Replies
        1. re: amykragan

          Second that.

          1. re: amykragan

            I like Maudies. I'm not ashamed to say. It is what it is. Tex-Mex. I t doesn't pretend to be anything else. Good margaritas, good enchiladas.

            1. re: TroyTempest

              Good soup!

          2. Bacon, the place is just not good. I had the chicken and waffles and the chicken tasted bland with a hint of fish. And I had to saw through the waffles since they had full strips of bacon in them.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chuckster71

              I was a tentative fan early on, but they are slipping badly. About two months ago was my final visit. Expecting to see them on a RIP thread in the not too distant future.

            2. Fonda San Miguel....

              1 Reply
              1. re: pinotho

                Definitely

              2. Chez Zee

                3 Replies
                1. re: rudeboy

                  Second Chez Zee.

                  I've never been treated more rudely at a restaurant than the brunch person taking reservation orders. (black hair, light eyes)

                  Twice I had to go into the kitchen to find syrup for french toast or pancakes. Then, I stopped going.

                  1. re: sweet100s

                    I stopped going to chez zee when i saw some of their cakes were well past their prime and I didn't think they were icing them with blue cheese. Never been back.

                  2. re: rudeboy

                    Yup. Haven't had anything there that's made me want to go back. Yet another in the land of the bland.

                  3. I like Matt's El Rancho. Classic Tex Mex.

                    1. Torchy's! Feh!

                      21 Replies
                      1. re: addlepated

                        yes, agreed!

                        1. re: addlepated

                          i knew torchy's was going to make this list and honestly i don't get it. It's one of those places that hounds seem to love to hate on. For bkfst tacos and the others for that matter i think they are great. I have gone to food trailers all over town that are highly touted and don't find most of them any better.
                          I think i'm going to start a thread:
                          Places that hounds love to hate on but i like.
                          Torchy's would be on the list. So would Salt Lick. Granted it isn't in the rarified company of the top tier of BBQ places, but it is hardly terrible as i've seen it called on these boards.

                          1. re: TroyTempest

                            Torchy's sucks b/c it seems like half of their sauces (salsas?0 are ranch-based glop. The tortillas are blatantly terrible. The mr Pink taco was good enough, but otherwise, really don't look for chicken tenders, fried avocado pieces, or sausage links on my tacos. If I want a good bfast taco, there are tons of other better places. Mi Ranchito...Arandina's...etc. It's just so mediocre.
                            I do like Salt Lick.

                            1. re: NirvRush

                              I agree with you on the ranch dressing, but the other half of their salsas are good. The tortillas aren't homemade, but other than that neither are 90% of those in town.
                              I also think they are over priced, bit i respect that they are trying to do something a little different than the mainstream. Hell, i like fried avocado, sausage, and brisket. Granted their brisket isn't J. Mueller's.
                              Overpriced? Probably. Overrated? Maybe. Suck? Not to me.

                              1. re: NirvRush

                                Well said. I am actually a fan of Taco Shack just down the road (speaking of the Spicewood locations for both here.) Taco Shack is not exactly gourmet either- but I think they "get" the concept of basic better than Torchy's, and execute better as a result.

                                1. re: elpaninaro

                                  I actually like Torchy's, but I've gotta say that it's sorta become its own weird entity. It's definitely not authentic nor tex mex... it's just... Torchy's.

                                  My one main beef with the place that kinda drives me nuts... when I first started going there like 5+ years ago, the tacos were significantly smaller (but still plenty to eat). At some point they started getting more Texas-sized and are a total bitch to eat now. I can't even order corn tortillas anymore, because they disintegrate in like 30 seconds from all the stuff jammed inside.

                                  1. re: popvulture

                                    Yes, Torchy's does so many things wrong or half-assed but still manages to pull it off. When they try to be authentic they're blah, like their breakfast tacos, but their are times when only a fried chicken and queso taco will do.

                                    1. re: popvulture

                                      That's the perfect description of it. It's what I say about Chuy's too. It's not authentic, it's not tex-mex, it's just Chuy's.

                                      I used to absolutely hate Torchy's, but then I found the baja shrimp taco, and now I'm in love. Albeit only with that taco. Everything else I've tried outside of that and the queso has been terrible.

                                    2. re: elpaninaro

                                      I used to really like Taco Shack, but the salsa is pretty mediocre. And only one salsa. My go to breakfast taco is bacon, egg and potato and i like it when it is all cooked together. Mi Victoria on Burnet does this real well. At the Shack they obviously spoon the eggs, potato and a slice of bacon. All kind of separate.

                                      1. re: TroyTempest

                                        I don't eat salsa, so I have not had this issue- but I have heard it from others.

                                        Taco Shack works for me so well because I like bacon, potato and cheese tacos- with a good sharp cheddar and the bacon very well done. So their specific ingredients work well for what I am after.

                                        Agree with you on cooking it all together- that makes a huge difference in my book when there are eggs involved.

                                      2. re: elpaninaro

                                        Just had breakfast tacos from the Taco Shack on Guadalupe & 29th this morning. I had fond memories of eating there when I was a student. I should have treasured my memories and gotten breakfast at Taco Cabana. Or heck, Whataburger. At least Whataburger toasts up the tortillas a little. Everything from Taco Shack was limp.

                                    3. re: TroyTempest

                                      I agree with you. The only thing that I have tried that really turns me on is the Brushfire but I swear it is the best taco I have ever had anywhere! It is just absolutely addicting. I usually also get a milder one to help put out the fire though.

                                      1. re: TroyTempest

                                        I love Salt Lick, so there. ;) And I dig on their sweet sauce, too!

                                        1. re: TroyTempest

                                          Sounds fun - better hurry and start that thread before I do!

                                          1. re: rudeboy

                                            You can start it if you like. It's ok by me.

                                          2. re: TroyTempest

                                            I prefer Taco Deli to Torchy's - in a landslide.

                                            1. re: Pmd669

                                              Are they the ones that put mashed potatoes on their potato and egg tacos?

                                              1. re: addlepated

                                                yes.

                                                1. re: dinaofdoom

                                                  Tacodeli is awesome! I just avoid the mashed potatoes. Actually I don't really think of it for a bfast destination. But the mole is great. Love the fish tacos. Delicious spinach salad.

                                                  1. re: NirvRush

                                                    Man I LOVE their potatoes... they're weird for tacos, yes, but daaaaaamn good. Bean, papas & cheese taco with Doña sauce on it? Yes, please.

                                                    1. re: popvulture

                                                      i would eat almost anything with doña sauce on it.

                                        2. Does everybody mean hounds or just people in the city? Because, MER and Hut's are routinely panned on this board. As are other popular spots, such as Guero's, Threadgill's and Chuy's. Im fact as far as Hounds are concerned all those that i have mentioned get more bad than good ratings on the Austin board.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: TroyTempest

                                            I took it to mean "everybody" in the city.

                                            1. re: rudeboy

                                              I was thinking everybody, but whatever.

                                          2. Curra's. I have lots of friends who love it, but I'd always, always rather go to Polvos. The food I've had at Curra's has always been mediocre at best, and the only thing I'd really bother recommending at all is the avocado margarita.

                                            Also TOTALLY agree about Maudie's. Not a fan at all.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: popvulture

                                              Haha and I'll also add that I like MER. I've gotten a lot of s**t for it, but I don't care.

                                            2. La Condesa for Sunday brunch. I finally made it over there last weekend- and to be fair to them, I came in fresh off a very long swim workout and so was in a heightened mood of needing to eat a lot of good food very quickly.

                                              The brunch menu was ridiculously short and overly complicated in terms of the offerings. Too many elements, and an attempt to sound sophisticated but it would only make sense to someone who knew nothing and wanted eagerly to seem like they "got it".

                                              I asked if I could do a custom order- from the lunch menu which has more simple fare, and I had picked a couple of dishes using the same basic slow cooked meats on the brunch menu (ie already done and ready for brunch).

                                              The waiter gave a very flat "no". So I ordered nothing. And at that point- in the eyes of the waiter I was a nobody. Not even water refills from that point.

                                              My friend did order, and as I anticipated given the read of the menu and the fact the place was half empty, what arrived looked like a train wreck of many elements assembled with no sensical intent other than to try and appear pretty (which the dish did not- a "brownie" of quinoa with undercooked poached eggs and a very unattractive heavy sauce with greens on the side.)

                                              To top it all off, my friend's coffee order- placed and reminded to the waiter 3 times- finally came at the end of the meal, and from someone else who we asked in desperation.

                                              Such a bad experience, I have no intentions of giving them another chance. And that is rare for me- more than once I have given second chances based on this board's recommendations and was glad I did.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: elpaninaro

                                                That's a situation warranting my Mom's famous "2 cent tip." To insure proper service the next time. I will say, though, the one time I went there (night), I got wonderful, professional service. Brunch can be a weird thing......

                                                1. re: rudeboy

                                                  The whole situation was strange- which is one reason it really stuck in my mind. As I sat there not eating, I had lots of time to observe, and what I saw was a bad case of "I am just here doing my job" on all fronts. There was no shortage of staff in the restaurant- and they were spending their time chatting at the coffee machine in the corner. This is why I suspect the place is on the verge of closing. A shame.

                                                  1. re: elpaninaro

                                                    I don't think they are going to close any time soon. They've even turned into a chain of sorts with a location in St Helena, CA and soon in Los Angeles. Plus, they are spinning out a thai food (?) restaurant soon in Austin.

                                                2. re: elpaninaro

                                                  I've found La Condesa likes to strictly enforce their kitchen rules no matter how silly.

                                                  For instance, they used to have 'fancy' nachos available on their dinner menu, but now they are only available on the bar menu. I went one time for an early dinner and the dining room was empty except for one other couple. Even so, they steadfastly refused to serve the nachos in their dining room as an appetizer even though we were ordering a complete meal.

                                                  1. re: elpaninaro

                                                    I'm convinced brunch is just a bad meal to judge a place by. Iron Cactus has a good menu but the brunch sucks. I was told Jack Allen's is very good but the brunch was lousy. For me Max's Wine Dive is the only brunch place that delivers but they didn't, until recently, have a brunch buffet.

                                                  2. By the way, several years ago, my husband and I went to Matt's to see what all the hype was about. We were seated promptly. And then ignored for half an hour. And by ignored, I mean that the waiters were openly ducking us and avoiding eye contact as we tried to signal someone to even bring us a glass of water. We walked out of there so pissed off. We mentioned something to the host as we left, and we have never been back, nor do we plan to. How we were treated was verging on hostile. No idea what we did to warrant it, but I have no intention of darkening their doorstep with my money again.

                                                    1. Top Notch. And Clay Pit.

                                                      I agree with Torchy's, Maudie's, and Chez Zee being highly overrated as well.

                                                      1. Ell Pollo Rico chicken. I find the chicken itself is just.... chicken. Often dry and not very flavorful. The rub is just run of the mill stuff, IMO. The green sauce of course, rocks, but don't know why people rave about the chicken.

                                                        1. Looking through the posts, I see everyone has somewhat differing opinions on the Tex-Mex places in town. (For instance, I love Curra's.) So in the non Tex-Mex category for Dishonorable Mention, I give you Hyde Park Bar & Grill. Please, take it. It seems like defenders are always jumping through some hoops to defend it ("did you try the boring salad no one can screw up? it's great at Hyde Park!"). Let's face it, their only redeeming quality is being close to Dolce Vita.

                                                          My own personal Tex-Mex hell in town is Polvo's. If Polvo's locked their doors tomorrow I would be so happy. A dump with wretched service and at best inconsistent food.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: NWLarry

                                                            I'll second you on HPB&G. The place looked dirty and the food was meh.

                                                            1. re: NWLarry

                                                              I'm with you on Hyde Park... I just don't get it... and I hate their fries... there, I said it...
                                                              I suppose if I'm pulling up the grumpy wagon... I also dislike Austin Java... 90% of the time I get food there, there is something wrong with it... I gave up after I was served a muffin that looked like someone had eaten or picked all the edges off of it.

                                                              I'm also not a fan of Magnolia. I want to like them... I periodically go back to try to think of a way to like them, but every time I get served the wrong food (and I order off the menu, no substitutions). The last time I was there, I was served a sauce without cheese in it where the waiter literally sniffed it, returned it to me, and said it must just be a mild cheese.
                                                              Cippolina is another place others love and I just can't. I really like their sandwiches at lunch, but every time I get something off the dinner menu, it is just a hot(or cold) mess.

                                                              Mothers is another place I also don't understand the love. I find most of their items to just be meh... which makes me sad because I'd love to go to a good veggie place.

                                                              Okay, grumpy rant off now.

                                                              1. re: shan

                                                                Does anyone on this board love places like Mother's, Magnolia, Austin Java, etc? They're not really places you go for the food. I'm not sure why they're popular - I guess they somehow became part of the Austin experience or the kind of places you end up at when plans fall through or no one can decide on where they want to go....

                                                                This thread reminds me of the Woody Allen joke: "the food here is terrible!" "And such small portions."

                                                                1. re: ghastlyfop

                                                                  I thought about naming Mother's, but to me, they aren't really trying to be all things to everyone.

                                                            2. I'm going to be the heretic (waiting to be tarred feathered, and burned at the stake...) and say Uchiko. Sorry folks, this didn't live up to its continually very, very high praises. The food was just very good, not fantastic--interesting flavor combinations but I just don't care for it.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: ubermoos

                                                                You should lock your doors tonight, for sure. Remember the reaction that chowdahead from Seattle got for this review of Uchi:

                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602787

                                                                brattpowered said it best "talking bad of Uchi is apparently tantamount to urinating on Stevie Ray Vaughan's grave."

                                                              2. Two more from me: Asti and Fabi + Rosi. Granted, I've only been to each once, but did not think that they deserved the hype.

                                                                1. Franklin's. It's decent bbq but nothing worth standing in crazy lines to get. Not even close.

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Rptrane

                                                                    Yeah... I tried Franklin's, and I tried J Mueller's, and I know where I'm going back.

                                                                    1. re: addlepated

                                                                      It's silly to suggest that people wait in line at Franklin in order to be seen waiting in line. Silly and embarrassing. I don't have 2 hours to wait in line for food anywhere and understand completely why people would not choose to do that. But people do wait because it's excellent BBQ.

                                                                      1. re: heyzeus212

                                                                        Well said.

                                                                    2. re: Rptrane

                                                                      I have to agree. I think before too long the hype will wear thin. Right now I see it as another "Hey did you see me in line at Franklin's?

                                                                      1. re: Rptrane

                                                                        Brisket is excellent, but sauces are awful. Everything else is pretty damn good, but not sure if it justifies the wait/experience.

                                                                        1. re: Rptrane

                                                                          People in Austin love to wait in line for food. See Hopdoddys.

                                                                          1. re: Mike B

                                                                            Also see Gypsy Trailer Food Festival

                                                                        2. While there hasn't been much praise for these to places lately, for pizza I nominate Home Slice and Mangia. Even Zagat gave Home Slice 26 out of 30 <boggle>.

                                                                          -sw

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: sqwertz

                                                                            Zagat gave it 26 out of 30 because it is good. I have never had a bad slice at HomeSlice. Now most of the time i go to the homeslice 2 or whatever it is called and walk up and order. I'm not a NYer, but i have had pizza in NY, and i think it compares pretty favorably. Supposedly John's on Bleecker arguably is one of the best in NY. I have had it and while it was great, i think homeslice compares favorably with it.
                                                                            I'd take Home Slice over Saccones, Reales. Tony C's may be better, but not by much.
                                                                            Now Mangia has never done it for me.

                                                                            1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                              Well, this is the theme of the thread. It is good in your opinion.

                                                                              The pizzas I have had there, 3 of them on 2 different occasions, have downright sucked (in MY opinion). Dry and tasteless, and the crust heavy. I have never ordered a single slice there.

                                                                              -sw

                                                                              1. re: sqwertz

                                                                                I like Home Slice... I turned my nose up at it after moving here from NY, but I think they've developed into a pretty well-oiled machine. I always get skeptical when anyone outside of NY offers "NY style pizza," but honestly, HS is the only place that's ever gotten close to the real thing, in my opinion.

                                                                                It's better by the slice there... they usually heat it up in the ovens (just like in NY) before you get it (unless you happen to show up when one's just popped out), so it's nice and crispy on the bottom, but still with a little flop. Hoboken also makes pretty decent NY style pizza, I think, but not as good as HS.

                                                                                It's not my favorite pizza in town (that'd probably go to House or East Side Pies for me), but I think it's definitely worth another shot if you've had a bad experience.

                                                                                1. re: sqwertz

                                                                                  True, it is the the theme. forgot.
                                                                                  When it first opened i went to the big restaurant, but it is so much quicker, cheaper and easier to just go to the other one and get a slice or 2. Of course, when ordering by the slice, you only have the choices of the day, like 4 or so.

                                                                            2. Going to go with Hopdoddy. Decent burger, but what's up with the crazy lines at all hours?

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Mike B

                                                                                I'll third that. Actually, I think Cover 3 has an excellent burger for the same price range and their fries are fantastic...and no wait.

                                                                              2. Maudie's
                                                                                Kerbey ln
                                                                                Cover 3
                                                                                Chez Zee
                                                                                Torchy's
                                                                                Tacodeli
                                                                                Top Notch
                                                                                Enchiladas y Mas
                                                                                Casino el Camino

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: TheBadWolf

                                                                                  I'd say that Maudie's, Kerby Lane, Chez Zee, and Enchilada y Mas are more often found on the "Places Hounds Love to Hate" than this board. And within the last couple of years I'd add Casino El Camino, too.

                                                                                2. I think it's called Star Seeds, right off the 35. I remember it while I was at grad. school at UT. I never liked it, even though my friends always insisted on going there.