Austin Monthly’s Darcie Duttweiler checked out Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches for a busy weekend lunch. A fan of kolaches, she found pairing them with beer to be an excellent combination.
Duttweiler was “deeply impressed” by the lightness of chef Jasmine Jones’s creations, favoring three flavors: brisket, pickle, and Swiss cheese; the housemade veggie sausage and Gouda; and the fig with sweet cream and crumble topping. She was also impressed with the 400 available types of beer.
In terms of atmosphere, Duttweiler felt at home:
The space is decked out with stained concrete floors, luxurious leather seating, and plenty of patio space, making it feel like a hip, comfortable coffee shop to hang out in all day. Only the type of brew this shop specializes in is of the hops and grain variety.
Emily Beyda of the Chronicle stopped by sister restaurants Saigon Cafe and Seafood Shack in Hudson Bend to mostly positive results. The restaurants, owned by Vietnamese immigrants Sean and An Le, share a kitchen, staff, and odd crab drawings in their deserted strip mall home.
Beyda first tried Saigon Cafe, which opened in 2015 with recipes An Le inherited from her mother, to mixed results. After starting with disappointing egg rolls and banh xoi that she likened to “a savory grownup Rice Krispies Treat,” she was floored by her entree:
[T]ry the banh hoi, a Saigonese street food classic that can be hard to find stateside. It consists of charcoal-grilled pork — cooked 'til the fat pops — served with a haystack of fresh herbs, napped in a spongy little woven blanket of rice noodles to keep everything tidy.
Beyda also tried the pho, with a “gamey, fat-rich broth, heavy with mouth-numbing star anise & white pepper,” but found the meatballs “flavorless.”
Dinner at Seafood Shack turned out to be “nothing short of spectacular.” Beyda enjoyed “tender, lime-sharpened” shrimp ceviche and an extravagant combo boil. Here, she found:
The meat was sweet and tender, the shells cooked into spongy submission from being boiled in beer and whatever mysterious seasoning blend they use (a smoky mix with a close allegiance to the pho).