East 7th newcomer The Hightower impresses The Statesman's Matthew Odam with its commitment to bold flavors at reasonable prices. Unlike Virigina Wood at The Chronicle, Odam praises the restaurant's "aggressive lack of pretense" manifested in the stripped-down interior and paper napkins. On the restaurant's take on steak frites:
A thick cheddar cheese sauce draped the fries and sliced hunks of flank steak that sat in an avocado puree dotted by cotija cheese. . . It got me with the first bite. A modest char encompassed the lush ruby-centered steak, and the golden hand-cut potatoes kept their crunch.Odam notes that some of the dishes, and the atmosphere, can be 'overly' loud; he rates The Hightower a 7.5 out of 10.
The newest East Side King on South Lamar presents Chronicle critic Melanie Haupt the opportunity to reflect on the mini-chain's rise from a single food trailer. Haupt finds many of their classics dishes still hold up, and is hopeful for East Side King's continued expansion. On the South Lamar location's new addition, tacos:
The success of the tako (octopus) taco hinges entirely on the individual diner's taste. For some, the tentacles and easily identified suction cups might be a little too visceral. Others might love the fishy minerality of the tender, butter-poached octopus heaped on a generous portion of escabeche vegetables, loaded into a virtual barge of a fried moo shu wrap.
THE BLOGS: Foodie is the New Forty writes an ode to Tiny Pies, Forks Up digs Contigo's mellow vibe, and Slow Down and Savor visits 34th Street Cafe.
· The Hightower Makes Some Noise in East Austin with Big Flavors and Convivial Environment [Statesman]
· You've Come a Long Way, Baby [Chronicle]
· All Week in Reviews Coverage [EATX]