As is tradition since the end of 2016 is near, Eater asked a trusted group of friends, industry types, and local bloggers for their takes on the past culinary year in Austin. The annual survey spans eight questions, from dining surprises, saddest closures, to disappointing meals. All answers will be revealed as the week rolls on — cut, pasted, (mostly) unedited, and in no particular order. Readers, add your answers in the comments below. Fifth up:
What was your most disappointing meal of 2016?
Jolène M. Bouchon, critic for Austin Monthly
Wherever I received crummy service. Service is a detail that's overlooked far too often, and it absolutely makes a dining experience. It can even save a disappointing meal.
Brandon Watson, food editor of Austin Chronicle
Unfortunately, it was a dismal chicken pot pie that I cooked for my company potluck. Even my worst restaurant meal sparkled in comparison to that simultaneously dry and soggy mess. The worst restaurant meal happened recently. I'll be writing about it soon in a review.
Jane Ko, blogger at A Taste of Koko
Everything for brunch at St. Genevieve.
Anastacia Uriegas, contributor at Thrillist and Time Out Austin
Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief. Ah Sing Den.
Veronica Meewes, editor of Zagat Austin
I had a pretty disappointing experience — mediocre food and horrible service — at Foreign Correspondents in Houston, but I may just be thinking of that since I heard it just closed. In general, I think I block out my worst meals because there’s so many better ones to remember!
Melody Fury, freelance food writer, blogger at Gourmet Fury, and contributor at Eater Austin
Breakfast at the new Second Bar + Kitchen at Archer Hotel (Domain) was a disastrous experience. Everything was out of sync and underwhelming. Where do I begin? The biscuits were stale and inedible. The maple butter was rock hard and icy cold, and remained unspreadable on the waffles. Half of our table of four received our entrees ten minutes apart. The black and bleu quiche arrived cold in the middle. I watched my glass of bubbles deflate at the bar for over five minutes before I spoke up. There were other mishaps but I attempted to drown my disappointment with more booze.
Elizabeth Leader Smith, associate editor of Eater Austin
Thankfully, it was sandwich shop outside of Austin's city limits.
Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
There was a Chinese restaurant where dishes, despite being designated with two pepper warning signs, that weren’t spicy at all.
This post has been updated to reflect that Fury is talking about Second Bar + Kitchen’s breakfast, not brunch.