At the Chronicle, critic Melanie Haupt generally enjoyed the Southern food and eclectic decor at Colleen’s Kitchen. Haupt calls the Mueller restaurant “cheery and airy,” though she notes she has a high tolerance for dining among the babies and dogs that are ubiquitous at Mueller.
Dinner started with bacon-wrapped dates (“an umami-caramel marriage made in heaven”), “elevated” pimento cheese, fried chicken, and green tomato sliders on a “buttery” biscuit. She was also a fan of the cocktails, particularly the house punch with apricot and lemon. However, while entrees were enjoyable and generous, Haupt found the starchy sides fell flat: grits were “bland,” mashed potatoes were “meh,” and mac and cheese “appeared to be just buttery noodles topped with seasoned bread crumbs.”
On a return visit, Haupt sampled catfish bites (“tender chunks of expertly seasoned fish”) and avocado shrimp toast (though she noted, “[f]or $13, I want at least half an avocado to show up on the plate.”). Haupt was particularly taken with her salad:
[...] the orange-roasted beet salad with grilled chicken was quite possibly the best salad I’ve had in Austin; your mileage may vary on this point depending on how you feel about beets, because this salad is about 70% plump, delectable, orange-glazed beets. I would eat that salad any day.
Statesman food critic Matthew Odam posted his picks for each of the vendors at downtown food hall Fareground. A fan of the “bright” Michael Hsu-designed space, Odam claims to have tried about 95% of the 70 menu items at Fareground to come up with a list of the ten best (which is mostly in agreement with Austin Monthly’s list, published last week).
He seemed particularly taken with Henbit (the stall from the Emmer & Rye team), with three dishes on the list:
- Squash and avocado salad (“Arugula and mint do that fresh point-counterpoint thing, with pumpkin seeds and burnt pecan dressing layering crunch and smoky notes across the dish.”)
- Crispy short rib (“the chefs punctuate a bowl of crispy (but not dried out) confit short rib with pickled chilies”)
- Breakfast burrito (“It’s the best breakfast burrito I’ve ever eaten.”)
From the others, he enjoyed Contigo’s cheeseburger and rotisserie chicken paired with the sweet potato salad and greens; the wild boar offerings from Dai Due Taqueria, the creamy-crunchy-sweet textures and flavor of Antonelli’s casatica and pear toast, Easy Tiger’s salami sandwich, and Ni-Kome’s miso ramen with “springy noodles.”
On the blogs: A Taste of Koko made the bold declaration that Italian restaurant Il Brutto is her new favorite restaurant in Austin, thanks in part to an anchovy pizza. ATX Eats and Treats stopped by Geraldine’s for an intimate dinner, and loved the braised beef egg roll with pickled vegetables.