Here's where Austin restaurant critics as well as Rob Balon ate this week:
STATESMAN — Matthew Odam asks, "Where does Trace fit into Austin's restaurant scene?" His answer: in a number of niches, for tourists, locals and gourmands alike. Though the decor is "a bit showy and extravagant" in a gaudy West Austin way, Odam finds chef Ben Hightower's Louisiana-influenced menu to be soulful and homey. The W Hotel restaurant rates a 7.5 from Odam, who cautions Austinites not to sneer at its sleekness.
AUSTIN CHRONICLE — Down south at China Dynasty on West Slaughter Lane, the Austin Chronicle's Mick Vann can't say enough about the place, including how he totally knows absolutely everyone who works there and what they and their extended family have been doing for the last thirty or so years. His verdict: "Nothing fancy; just great, dependable Chinese food."
KVUE — Hey, foodies! Rob Balon visits little downtown Mom 'n Pop Mexican joint Cantina Laredo, which operates just over "100 company owned restaurants and 25 franchise restaurants in 18 states and Canada." Balon notes that all the entrees are "thoughtfully prepared," but he especially likes the "chippy ranchero sauce" and the carnitas, with "killer flavors."