The latest in a long line of writers to review downtown French spot Le Politique, Austin Monthly’s Jolène Bouchon agrees the restaurant has ups and downs. Though the dishes were praised, Bouchon thinks the restaurant needs “a little more time to bake.”
Bouchon appreciates the design elements of the brasserie, calling it “restrained and classic.” However, she noted something wasn’t sitting right with her:
Perhaps it’s the cavernous ceilings or the far-too-bright lights at dinner, but it seems like a fancy restaurant in a department store.
In terms of food, Bouchon highlighted the “meaty” moules frites, escargots, rillettes de canard, and gnocchi à la Parisienne (“at once light and rich”). However, she saved special praise for desserts:
[...] the one bite that truly transported me was of the prune Armagnac ice cream. Lush, earthy, and just boozy enough — I might as well have been in the 6th arrondissement [...] my dining companions and I were similarly wowed by a luscious lemon tart and the classic Paris-Brest, a wheel-shaped choux pastry halved and stuffed with praline cream and orange marmalade, and topped with chocolate sauce and a quenelle of hazelnut ice cream.
Bouchon’s biggest complaint, as others have mentioned, was the service, which was personable but slow.
Emily Beyda of the Chronicle ventured outside of Austin to conduct a review of Hit the Spot Cafe in the library of Garfield, Texas, which has been open since 2010. (Given Beyda’s recent review of Hudson Bend restaurants Seafood Shack and Saigon Cafe, this might be a new thing for the alt-weekly?)
The classic diner-feel was immediately crystallized with a sip of the coffee, which Beyda describes as “thin and brown and so hot you can feel it through the thick walls of your mug.”
Beyda’s breakfast experience involved “cheese-intensive” migas, though the dish needed a little hot sauce. For lunch, she followed the lead of the regulars and ordered a bacon cheeseburger (though her request for medium-rare was rebuffed):
It’s the kind of excessively greasy size-of-your-head red-meat extravaganza that our country is internationally famous for. It’s perfect when you’re hung over, slightly horrifying at any other time. Grease is the prevailing emotion: melted cheese grease, slightly-pink-in-the-middle meat grease, super-crispy-bacon grease, plus a healthy smear of mayonnaise melting in the heat.
However, the accompanying onion rings were “disappointingly bland.” That was not the case with the “super crispy” chicken fried steak, and carne guisada with beans that were “more pig than legume.” Overall, she calls the restaurant “the perfect place [...] for a paralyzingly potent hit of nostalgia that’ll knock you out all afternoon.”
ON THE BLOGS: ATX Eats and Treats chowed down on a massive cheeseburger from Doc B.’s Kitchen, So Much Life blog made a meal of authentic beignets at Zilker Park food truck Gambino’s Cajun Creole.
- Restaurant Review: Le Politique [Austin Monthly]
- All Coverage of Le Politique [EATX]
- Restaurant Review: Hit the Spot Cafe [Chronicle]