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Everybody loves ________, but me

Pmd669 Aug 16, 2012 10:39 PM

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.

  1. dinaofdoom Aug 16, 2012 10:51 PM

    tomo dachi sushi
    any place at the domain

    1. ericthered Aug 17, 2012 07:19 AM

      Rudy's BBQ and country store on 183

      2 Replies
      1. re: ericthered
        Pmd669 Aug 17, 2012 08:55 AM

        All Rudy's or just the one on 183?

        1. re: Pmd669
          ericthered Aug 17, 2012 12:31 PM

          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. amykragan Aug 17, 2012 08:45 AM


        3 Replies
        1. re: amykragan
          Pmd669 Aug 17, 2012 08:55 AM

          Second that.

          1. re: amykragan
            TroyTempest Aug 17, 2012 10:37 AM

            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
              Rene Aug 17, 2012 03:45 PM

              Good soup!

          2. c
            Chuckster71 Aug 17, 2012 09:33 AM

            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
              elpaninaro Aug 19, 2012 01:34 AM

              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. p
              pinotho Aug 17, 2012 12:26 PM

              Fonda San Miguel....

              1 Reply
              1. re: pinotho
                amykragan Aug 17, 2012 12:29 PM


              2. rudeboy Aug 17, 2012 01:44 PM

                Chez Zee

                3 Replies
                1. re: rudeboy
                  sweet100s Aug 17, 2012 03:19 PM

                  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
                    shan Aug 17, 2012 08:13 PM

                    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
                    amysuehere Aug 19, 2012 07:54 AM

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

                  3. f
                    forestd Aug 17, 2012 02:46 PM

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

                    1. a
                      addlepated Aug 17, 2012 05:48 PM

                      Torchy's! Feh!

                      21 Replies
                      1. re: addlepated
                        NirvRush Aug 17, 2012 06:20 PM

                        yes, agreed!

                        1. re: addlepated
                          TroyTempest Aug 17, 2012 07:34 PM

                          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
                            NirvRush Aug 18, 2012 05:46 AM

                            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
                              TroyTempest Aug 18, 2012 09:49 AM

                              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
                                elpaninaro Aug 19, 2012 07:58 PM

                                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
                                  popvulture Aug 20, 2012 08:36 AM

                                  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
                                    ghastlyfop Aug 20, 2012 06:55 PM

                                    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
                                      foodiegal71 Aug 23, 2012 05:49 PM

                                      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
                                      TroyTempest Aug 20, 2012 08:18 PM

                                      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
                                        elpaninaro Aug 21, 2012 06:03 PM

                                        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
                                        addlepated Aug 21, 2012 07:49 PM

                                        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
                                      danny_w Aug 18, 2012 02:51 PM

                                      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
                                        addlepated Aug 18, 2012 04:48 PM

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

                                        1. re: TroyTempest
                                          rudeboy Aug 19, 2012 05:27 AM

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

                                          1. re: rudeboy
                                            TroyTempest Aug 19, 2012 06:23 AM

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

                                          2. re: TroyTempest
                                            Pmd669 Aug 19, 2012 09:46 PM

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

                                            1. re: Pmd669
                                              addlepated Aug 20, 2012 09:24 AM

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

                                              1. re: addlepated
                                                dinaofdoom Aug 20, 2012 10:26 AM


                                                1. re: dinaofdoom
                                                  NirvRush Aug 20, 2012 10:49 AM

                                                  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
                                                    popvulture Aug 20, 2012 12:37 PM

                                                    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
                                                      dinaofdoom Aug 20, 2012 07:35 PM

                                                      i would eat almost anything with doña sauce on it.

                                        2. TroyTempest Aug 18, 2012 06:02 PM

                                          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
                                            rudeboy Aug 19, 2012 05:30 AM

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

                                            1. re: rudeboy
                                              Pmd669 Aug 19, 2012 03:48 PM

                                              I was thinking everybody, but whatever.

                                          2. popvulture Aug 18, 2012 08:05 PM

                                            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
                                              popvulture Aug 18, 2012 08:07 PM

                                              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. e
                                              elpaninaro Aug 19, 2012 01:42 AM

                                              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
                                                rudeboy Aug 19, 2012 05:33 AM

                                                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
                                                  elpaninaro Aug 19, 2012 07:38 PM

                                                  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
                                                    Mike B Aug 22, 2012 08:20 PM

                                                    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
                                                  Mike B Aug 22, 2012 08:49 AM

                                                  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
                                                    Rptrane Aug 23, 2012 05:53 PM

                                                    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. a
                                                    addlepated Aug 19, 2012 12:50 PM

                                                    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. hlk Aug 20, 2012 07:35 AM

                                                      Top Notch. And Clay Pit.

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

                                                      1. s
                                                        sqwertz Aug 20, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                        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. NWLarry Aug 20, 2012 10:08 AM

                                                          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
                                                            Pmd669 Aug 20, 2012 11:44 AM

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

                                                            1. re: NWLarry
                                                              shan Aug 20, 2012 01:58 PM

                                                              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
                                                                ghastlyfop Aug 20, 2012 07:11 PM

                                                                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
                                                                  NWLarry Aug 21, 2012 08:50 AM

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

                                                            2. u
                                                              ubermoos Aug 20, 2012 10:27 AM

                                                              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
                                                                TroyTempest Aug 20, 2012 10:56 AM

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


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

                                                              2. p
                                                                Pmd669 Aug 20, 2012 02:52 PM

                                                                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. r
                                                                  Rptrane Aug 20, 2012 06:57 PM

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

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Rptrane
                                                                    addlepated Aug 20, 2012 08:15 PM

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

                                                                    1. re: addlepated
                                                                      heyzeus212 Aug 22, 2012 11:20 AM

                                                                      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
                                                                        Rene Aug 22, 2012 11:38 AM

                                                                        Well said.

                                                                    2. re: Rptrane
                                                                      ericthered Aug 21, 2012 10:19 AM

                                                                      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
                                                                        Pmd669 Aug 22, 2012 08:07 AM

                                                                        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
                                                                          Mike B Aug 22, 2012 08:51 AM

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

                                                                          1. re: Mike B
                                                                            jwynne2000 Aug 23, 2012 07:27 PM

                                                                            Also see Gypsy Trailer Food Festival

                                                                        2. s
                                                                          sqwertz Aug 20, 2012 07:34 PM

                                                                          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>.


                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: sqwertz
                                                                            TroyTempest Aug 20, 2012 08:14 PM

                                                                            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
                                                                              sqwertz Aug 20, 2012 08:35 PM

                                                                              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.


                                                                              1. re: sqwertz
                                                                                popvulture Aug 20, 2012 09:15 PM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  TroyTempest Aug 21, 2012 07:14 AM

                                                                                  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. m
                                                                              Mike B Aug 22, 2012 08:52 AM

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

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Mike B
                                                                                amysuehere Aug 22, 2012 09:43 AM

                                                                                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. TheBadWolf Aug 22, 2012 09:58 AM

                                                                                Kerbey ln
                                                                                Cover 3
                                                                                Chez Zee
                                                                                Top Notch
                                                                                Enchiladas y Mas
                                                                                Casino el Camino

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: TheBadWolf
                                                                                  TroyTempest Aug 22, 2012 05:28 PM

                                                                                  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. c
                                                                                  chicagothr Aug 24, 2012 03:27 PM

                                                                                  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.

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