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Is The Goodnight 'Absurdly Magnificent' Or 'A Mess'?

This week, both the Austin American-Statesman's food critic Matthew Odam and CultureMap Austin freelancer Shelley Seale visit The Goodnight, north-central Austin's bowling alley-slash-cocktail lounge-slash-restaurant that opened in October.

The results? Wildly different. Odam rates the Goodnight an embarrassing five out of ten, calling the spot "a mess," while Seale, who attended the general manager's "fabulous" New Year's Eve party, deems it "absurdly magnificent."

The food:

· Odam found too much truffle oil in the "soupy baked mac and cheese side dish," wrote that the tuna tartare was comprised of "strange cubes of tuna that had an unnatural ruby glow and polished texture," ate wood-fired chicken that was "overcooked" and called the beef tenderloin "mealy" and along the lines of "standard banquet fare." He had an "unsettling" and "almost inedible" fried avocado. Still, all wasn't lost: the pulled pork sandwich and problematic but decent pizzas were passable.

· Seale "started with a fabulous dinner on par with some of Austin's top restaurants," which she characterized as "an above-the-bar dining experience," with "swoon-worthy dishes."

The space:

· Odam had a hard time finding room for his party of five, "because most of the tables appear bolted to the ground, so parties larger than four are hard to accommodate." The dining area has "bare" and "drab gray walls," while too many stools leave "little space to maneuver before or after ordering" at the bar.

· Seale loved the "groovy bar and even more groovy lounge" and called the old-school games "part of the charm."

The atmosphere:

· Odam describes the Goodnight as being "like a Disneyland where your patience level often has to be 'this tall' to ride the rides," where "there is no comfortable space to hang out while you wait for a table," including a game area "full of loitering people with uncomfortable body language." Brunch brought a "disconcerting feeling" that they'd "snuck in to eat before the place was supposed to be open."

· Seale, on the other hand, is like Goldilocks flipping out over Baby Bear's awesome stuff: the Goodnight was "full but not too crowded; the vibe was fun but not out of control and the music was cranking but you could still hold a conversation." It was "the perfect party."

The take-away:

· Odam: "If The Goodnight doesn't take inventory and figure out the answers in relatively short order, it's going to be 'good night, and good luck.'"

· Seale: "The Goodnight is the magnificent aftermath of a few too many happy hour cocktails and a spirited conversation about a love for fine foods and fine fun. And we're mighty glad about that."

· The Goodnight brings bowling, revelry and top-notch food to north central Austin [CultureMap Austin]
· The Goodnight has a lot — perhaps too much — going on [Austin360]

[Photo: The Goodnight/Facebook]

The Goodnight

2700 West Anderson Lane Austin, Texas 78757