Here's where Austin food critics and bloggers ate this week:
AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN — Downtown's Russian House has a "slight kitsch factor" and "authentic and personally curated vibe," with a menu of "rich food," writes Matthew Odam. Maybe too rich, too heavy: he likes the Ukrainian borsch and the beef stroganoff, but the bread is "problematic," and "dessert will seem more a challenge than a reward." His verdict: a 6.5 out of 10.
AUSTIN CHRONICLE — Gourdough's Public House is the boozy brick-and-mortar from the folks behind the Gourdough's donut truck, and Melanie Haupt is impressed-ish with the "above-average bar food." The flavors on the Count Gourdough Christo were "out of balance," and the Dirty Plucker was "overly greasy," but she loved the Country Clucker, topped with fried chicken and country corn. Dessert really had all the action: Haupt and her crew "simply could not get enough" of the Salty Balls, "doughnut holes swimming in salted butter caramel sauce."
FED MAN WALKING — Mike "Fed Man Walking" Sutter's on a barbecue kick, visiting the new Blue Ox BBQ truck at the Buzz Mill on East Riverside, and also appraising the work of pitmaster John Lewis at La Barbecue, the truck formerly known as JMueller BBQ. At Blue Ox, the pork ribs are "dry and rangy" and the sausage a "tough, dry interloper" but the pork tenderloin is "smoky and tender" and the maple, bacon and onion sauce a pleasant surprise. At La Barbecue, Sutter finds a "tender and robust" brisket and "dramatic improvement" over past visits, with greatly improved sausage and pork spare ribs and a pulled pork that's "as good as pulled pork gets."
TACO JOURNALISM — Tacos for "los hipsters" at Cenote get 3.25 stars: "I tell ya, this little cafe knows their huevos!" The salsa is "sweet, citrus-ee and spicy." Unfortunately, the service leaves something to be desired: "The staff isn't rude but they slowly jab at you for asking for extra little things. It just doesn't sit well with me."
· Russian House Delivers A Culinary And Cultural Trip Abroad [Austin360]
· Review: Gourdough's Public House [AustinChronicle]
· Review: Blue Ox BBQ [Fed Man Walking]
· Review: La Barbecue [Fed Man Walking]
· Coffee Shop Tacos: El Cenote [Taco Journalism]
Russian House. [Photo: Spencer Selvidge/EATX]