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Wu Chow's Dim Sum Wins Odam Over, Hits & Misses at Emmer & Rye for Austin Monthly

The Chronicle heads to Westlake for inconsistent Italian fare

Wu Chow
Wu Chow
Robert Lerma/EATX

The Statesman’s Matthew Odam visits Wu Chow and finds a mixed bag within the sleek, modernist space. For him, dim sum — particularly that soup dumpling — is the crown jewel at the upscale downtown Chinese restaurant. Where dinner was uneven in quality and service, the Sunday dim sum and weekday lunch services endeared Wu Chow to this critic.

More than anything, a fun lunch that included fluffy fried rice with pork and shrimp ($14) and a bowl of tender meatballs swimming in a restorative broth with bok choy ($12) proved what a welcome change of pace a firing-on-all-cylinders Wu Chow can be for our often safe and uninspired downtown dining scene.

Writing for the Chronicle, blogger Melody Fury dines at Visconti Ristorante in the Hotel Granduca and finds the experience unsettling. Everything is hunky dory with the starter course, but "the inconsistencies began to surface" when the antipasti came around.

The polpo (grilled octopus, $16) was tender and nicely charred, livened by diced celery and a tangy Meyer lemon vinaigrette. While the mini melon-balled potatoes were creamy and fitting, the micro-cilantro felt overpowering and out of place. [...] Saffron and a tickling heat accented the zuppa di pesce's ($16) seafood broth beautifully, but the yellowtail tuna was tragically overcooked.

Fury found the pasta inconsistent and the capesante one-note, but loved the veal chop.

Austin Monthly’s Jolene Bouchon isn’t quite as enamored with Emmer & Rye as her food-critic peers, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t like it. While she declares the polenta "phenomenal" and the watercress and kale salad "deeply satisfying," a few entrees like the lamb carnitas and smoked carrots were outstripped by their accessories (an emmer roti and an avocado sorrel mousse, respectively). Mostly, though, she wants Emmer & Rye to pick a lane when it comes to the dim sum presentation and the standard of service:

In conceit, price and certainly quality, this restaurant undoubtedly qualifies as fine dining. But the setting and service, while eminently knowledgeable, are casual. The twain are meeting far more often in Austin’s current dining scene, but it’s going to take some convincing for many patrons, who equate fine dining with the kind of lush ambiance and professional solicitousness that has the power to transport.

THE BLOGS — Dine With Shayda enjoys pastries and tea in a secret garden at Maison Cuit, A Taste of Koko was slain by the uni butter toast at Central Standard, and Fed Man Walking takes down the "Breakfast for Dinner" burger at Swift’s Attic.

Wu Chow

500 West 5th Street, , TX 78701 (512) 476-2469 Visit Website

Granduca Hotel

320 Capital Of Texas Highway, Austin, TX (512) 306-6400

Emmer & Rye

51 Rainey Street, , TX 78701 (512) 366-5530 Visit Website