Matthew Odam reviews longtime Austin restaurant Cafe Josie, which has recently changed hands. New owners Brandon Fuller and Cody Taylor have earned a rave from the critic. On the food: "Fuller's appreciation for seasonal flavors shined with glistening balsamic-glazed goat ribs ($26), an unctuous layer of fat between the crackling skin and meat on a plate with mashed butternut squash, compressed green apple and brown butter. The pumpkin soup special ($8) at one dinner was the best bowl of soup I've had this winter, toasted pepitas and scallions scattering crunch in a velvety soup sweetened with roasted orange juice and honey, with just a hint of heat from cayenne pepper. It's the kind of dish you want to order again as you write about it." Odam rates the revamped Josie a 8.5 out of 10 and says it's amongst his top 25 restaurants in Austin.
Melanie Haupt reviews Royers Pie Haven, the Austin outpost of beloved Round Top institution Royers Round Top Cafe. The critic finds the pies divine, though there are some missteps in their less-traditional offerings. On the glorious pie: "Traditional sweet flavors like strawberry rhubarb and buttermilk shine, but the junkberry and sweet & salty chocolate elevate the whole operation. The former is a mishmash of apples, peaches, and four kinds of berries topped with a "crust" of caramelized sour cream – it's rich and devastatingly addictive. Meanwhile, the sweet & salty pie is exactly as advertised: a fudgy custard belted with caramel and salt, and sweet enough to stop your heart. Lunch options include margherita-chicken pizza and chicken pot pies ($5/slice), which rival their sweet counterparts in deliciousness (if not their nutritive value)." Haupt notes that the small space doesn't invite lingering, but it's definitely worth the trip.
Mick Vann visits Bee Cave's Schmidt Family Barbecue, where he finds some top-notch smokey meats. On the barbecue: "The key word for the meats at Schmidt Family is moist, followed by the word tender. Expect no glazes, just smoke and spice. Since they cook a little hotter and faster than the typical CenTex barbecue joint (sort of a cross between traditional slow-and-low smoking and smoke-grilling), you get a little less smoke taste, while it accentuates the beef and pork flavors that can get smothered by the clouds of oak. But the bark gets nice and caramelized and the smokiness is definitely part of the taste profile." Vann notes the sides are "lackluster," but, clearly, the point is not the sides.
· Cafe Josie's New Owners Bring New Flavors [Statesman]
· A Slice of Heaven [Chronicle]
· The Tradition Continues with Schmidt Family Barbecue [Chronicle]