Drakula-Austin-Romanian - Anyone been?
- Seamus Mitwurst
A while back someone posted a request for info on Drakula. As of yet, no has responded.
Has anyone been? Some friends and I have plans to eat there next week. I'd like a little more heads-up than Austin360 has given me.
No matter, I will post what I find.
It sounds like (and I'm hopin') it is similar to Hungarian food. I'm drooling as I type.
So, anybody? Anything?
Please go and check it out and let us know.
I have contemplated driving from Houston to check it out.
Took a break from making some beer on Saturday to try out Drakula. It was quite the experience.
I had high hopes for the place to begin with since I am of Hungarian, Polish and Italian decent. But I will start from the beginning.
It's a strip mall. My first job was in a strip mall restaurant, so there is a soft spot in my heart for just this sort of place. It's not fancy. It's clean, well lit and decorated with cloth and pottery on the walls.
There are only a handful of tables which, instead of having salt and pepper shakers, has little tubs of the spices with small, cute wooden scoops used to douse your food.
I would have loved a beer or some wine to go with my meal, and perhaps they may get a license in the future, but as of now, nothing but water, tea and pepsi products. (I had the tea. It was on the edge of being stale. I began wondering if this was all a big mistake.)
The crowd was interesting. One young couple. One family with two kids and three middle-aged African-American couples.
My friend and I decided to share our orders.
I ordered the mici (pronounced "meeshee" it seems) and my friend ordered the grilled fish in stock.
You get a choice of sides with your entree; stewed dry beans, sauteed mushrooms, mashed potatoes or french fries. I got the beans, he got the mushrooms.
Mici turns out to be a hand-formed, caseless sausage with plenty of garlic. Grilled fish turns out to be fried fish...with plenty of garlic. The beans were white beans, possibly in a tomato based sauce. The mushrooms were creamy, possibly with paprika.
My grandma would have loved it. (the Hungarian one)
They brought us yellow mustard for the sausages. They didn't need it. They were well spiced and incredibly juicy. The fish was bathed in a light broth and quite tasty. I really liked the beans. I am not a lover of mushrooms, but they seemed ok to me. The porotions were adequate. I'm a big boy who'd had a few beers beforehand, and I managed to walk out sated. However, did you notice that I didn't mention ONE vegetable.
Stale tea - a definite downside. I didn't check if they had a byob policy, since I had already had a few and wasn't thinking of any more.
Food - I loved it. But some people might not have my attitudes towards the foods of middle Europe.
Prices - High. $9 for the mici, $11 for the fish. But they are a small restaurant serving a cuisine that is relatively unknown to this region. I can forgive that, for now. Maybe if it becomes popular, they will get a liquor license, a larger space, more clients and the prices will go down.
Will I return? Yes. Actually, sometime this week.
I still need to try some more dishes and test whether the tea stays stale or if that was a fluke.
Overall? I'm goin' back ain't I? A hell of a lot better than the crap-ass experience I had at the Clay Pit the next day. I think small, family owned businesses have more of an incentive to make me happy.
I definitely recommend that you try this place at least once.
re: Seamus Mitwurst
Romanian Food? Posiblly the best in the world... never know. Actuall I'm romanian. I love romanian food. I don't like mici with or witout garlic, but for those who never tasted smth like that PLEASE DO - you'll go back to have another full plate.
To be onest, I'm gonna' come there see what's all about this romanian restaurants and afterwards I'm gonna' put a REAL reply with special notice in. Hope they will put some alchool in the restaurant otherwise, u know... :))
Well, I finally made it to Drakula a few weeks back. I enjoyed it. It was something different, and I thought the food was interesting and well done, and the service was attentive without being overbearing. It's in a strip mall but then what good authentic places are not in strip malls in new American cities? Most of the little gems are in these places, if you're into the mom and pop type of place.
Before I go further into the food, there's one thing I want to say before I lose anyone's attention:
Among the reasons I will go back to Drakula - after we left the restaurant, the friend I had been dining with ended up in traffic behind the Drakula delivery van. A man we had seen working at the restaurant, probably the owner, stopped under the 183 bridge and brought out food from his van for the homeless men there!!!!!!!!
That is a huge plus for them in my book. A business with a heart. :)
Now, the food. Knowing nothing about Romanian food, I did a little research beforehand. I read that Romanian cuisine has characteristics of Russian, French and Italian cuisine. (one obvious Italian connection is that a polenta-like corn pudding is a staple).
We had some sort of appetizer sampler, which was interesting. Included were some cold cuts and meatballs, and a half bell pepper stuffed with a caviar spread, which was salty, creamy, and tasty. I'm not a big sausage or salami eater, but theirs were yummy. I can't remember what else was on the plate.
We also had a fish in broth recipe. It was quite spicy - and I mean hot spicy. It was covered in jalapenos! This prompted a discussion the next day with a friend whose family hails from the the Transylvania area. I asked him if jalapenos were authentic Romanian, and he gave me some interesting history that you can skip if you like.
It turns out he is of Hungarian descent, and that Transylvania used to be part of Hungary, and was the region that much cuisine sprang from. He was able to confirm that hot green peppers, if not jalapenos, are part of the regional cuisine. He said that at some point in the past, the Transylvanian region of then Hungary began cultivating hot red and green peppers as a cheaper alternative to peppercorns which had to be imported from india and so were extremely valuable at the time. He pointed out that even now one might find Hungarian peppers at the store. Transylvania was a crossroads between the east and west, and sort of the Louisiana of the region in terms of intermixing of cuisines.
His grandmother probably would have made the fish dish with pike, he said. Drakula makes it with the locally available catfish.
Anyway, I thought that this was all very interesting. I don't know if I'd order the fish again soon, but I can't wait to try the other items on the menu.
For dessert, we had a very nice cheese pie, which reminds me a bit of the filling of a cheese kolache - not too dense, more crumbly and light. The apple tart looked good too.
I say try Drakula, especially if you like hearty, wholesome, meat & potatoes type fare, but would like to try something different.
I had the appetizer plate and a side of mashed potatoes. My friend has the schnitzel (sp?) with mushrooms and a cabbage salad.
The meatballs and caviar spread on the appetizer plate were good. The rest of the food was alright but seemed like something you would buy packaged at a store. The olives were plain green olives stuffed with pimento, like the cheap kind you find at the store. It just wasn't very exciting.
The mashed potatoes were tasty and I liked the spices used, perhaps white pepper.
My friend said the meat on his plate was excellent. It was batter fried and looked quite good. The garlic in his mushroom sauce was bitter and overpowering unfortunately.
The waitress was attentive and friendly and the place was very clean. Even the bathrooms were clean.
I would like to go one more time before passing final judgement but I was a little disappointed. The food was not unbelievably tasty or special.