Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Austin >
Jun 11, 2014 05:48 PM

Is Qui better than ESK?

Hi everyone- Hate to introduce myself with a negative post, I'm really not a hater- but here's my time-sensative question. I'm in town for only a short while more and have a rez at Qui for my last night. Thought I'd go out with a bang.

However, I was pretty disappointed by East Side Kings (Lamar location. I had pork buns, octopus taco, Brussels sprout salad, and beet home fries). Nothing was "bad" but nothing was as tasty, satisfying, complex, or interesting as I was expecting. I went in a Top Chef fan, high hopes, etc.

My question is - is Qui a lot better? Or if I didn't like the flavors of ESK, do you think Qui is of much better caliber and I should still give it a chance? It was my understanding it enjoyed the best marks in Austin with Chows, is there another place I should focus my last night attention? I'm good on BBQ and Tex Mex, and not looking for Italian/Mediterranean flavors as I have abundance of those back home.

I've been to Uchiko and Uchi (loved) and I'm definitely going back to Uchiko one more timeā€¦.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Just go to Polvos and have the fish a la plancha.

    1. ESK is a food truck meant for late nights. It's good food but not trying to be anything special other than some novel dishes. I've been to Qui, went for GF's birthday, and she loved it. We've been to all his local places and it's a real special occasion type place. Excellent adventurous food. Really strong execution. That place is trying to wow you.

      So in answer to your question, yes. Qu is better.

      1. Honestly, I was not wowed by qui at all the one time I went. I have not been back. And I am a HUGE Paul Qui fan...he made one of my all-time favorite meals when he was at Uchiko. I just thought his restaurant still needed a little work. People I trust have had excellent experiences there, though, so perhaps it's a consistency issue.

        That said, it is completely different than ESK. ESK is meant to be street food. qui is fine dining.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Optimista

          Thanks! To all replies. I think I'll give it a chance :) I'm very curious.

        2. haven't been to ESK but I wasn't a fan of qui. I'd go to barley swine, lenoir, or carillon instead

          2 Replies
            1. re: Rptrane

              I think we've had this conversation before :)

              I also enjoyed some of the rabbit preparations (3 out of 7), the cheddar ice cream was good. the squid ink pasta was way too salty. its been a while since I've been and it looks like the menu has changed a bit.

              not horrible at all, but not what I hoped for at that price point. there are just better options in town

          1. Hey all- Thanks for the feedback. Thought I'd follow up with a report-

            I wasn't terribly impressed. But sadly, I got stuck eating lunch at work late that day and I wasn't that hungry when I arrived at Qui. I had the Ode To Michel B Ras
            selection of vegetables from austin farmers vegetable plate (lovely), the Amberjack Philipino Ceviche (tasty but way too salty) and then because the girl next to me seemed wildy crazy about it, the short rib wrapped in banana leaf. Strangely, she had a ton of cool vegetables served with hers, mine came only with cabbage. It was a huge amount of fatty meat for someone without a big appetiite, I should have stuck to my first inclination to get the Kare Kare peanut curry.

            Nothing was bad, but I just felt meh about it all. It wasn't exciting or worth the price, and the best thing was definitely the pretty veggie plate. The cocktail "Austin" something, their version of the mojito, was tasty but a lot sweeter than I was expecting after the waiter specifically said it wasn't very sweet. I needed something less sugary to stir up my appetite. Then I asked for a wine glass recommendation and was pointed to a chilled red that was just...weird. Disappointing, but I was glad I made it back to Uchiko for a second time before leaving Austin. Next time I'm in town I'll try some of the suggestion instead-ofs from this thread. Thanks for the tips!

            2 Replies
            1. re: sarahbeths

              Honestly it sounds like all you wanted was a salad. Maybe you should have just gotten the salad.

              1. re: Rptrane

                Oh, that would be very hard for me! I guess it seems unfair to judge when I wasn't hungry, but for the right food I seem to get hungry if that makes sense.