Last week, Odam traveled to Lockhart to see if the barbecue capital of Texas is still all that, and his final answer is: no. It might’ve been nostalgia, and it might’ve been the high quality of Austin’s barbecue scene, but something changed. Odam compared each barbecue joint’s brisket. Of the four places, Kreuz Market’s brisket was the best:
The rippled fatty cut at Kreuz (the lean was actually shoulder clod) seemed to get the majority of its moisture from the pooled grease, but the beef held decent smoke penetration and a thick and ruddy if ragged crust along with a faint smoke ring.
Otherwise, Odam encountered subpar brisket. Black’s Barbecue’s “had an off-putting chemical aftertaste” and “rubbery dark bark;” Smitty’s Market’s one was “dry” with a “lacquered finish;” Chisholm Trail BBQ’s thin brisket had “fossilized waves of unrendered fat,” exuding “beefy essence.”
This week, Odam visited Govalle restaurant the Brewer’s Table, the ambitious restaurant and brewery, and came away overly impressed. He called the restaurant and brewery, which opened in April, “a logical extension of our evolution,” where every intention and thought towards the marriage of beer and food is visible, from the foeders to the hanging dried fish and herbs.
The ambition stretches into the food, where, though, it seemed like chef Zach Hunter’s zeal got ahead of himself sometimes. Odam wasn’t impressed with the showmanship of searing the cabbage roll at the table. Then there was the chicken paprikash:
[T]he dry and astringent dish bordered on inedible, and its parsley-tinted lardo seemed more like a trick that honored the kitchen instead of the guest
Odam would rather point readers towards the the crispy rabbit carnitas with pig’s blood mole. He also pointed to the lunchtime-only burger as one of the best in the city:
[F]unky, gooey and umami-packed thanks to dry-aging, raclette, and mushroom ketchup
Service was top-notch, where informative servers explained every way that beer components appear in the food and vice versa. And while the restaurant focuses on higher-end food, Odam appreciated how Brewer’s aims to be a neighborhood-type of place, with an expansion patio meant for lingering.
Chronicle’s Emily Beyda explored the Salvadoran array at food truck SalvaTex and found the pupusas of her childhood in Los Angeles. She went to town on all the pupusas from the Chestnut food truck, where friendly service and sometimes erratic hours.
Beyda experimented a pupusa made with with loroco (an edible flower) and cheese, which she said had a “singular taste, to be sure, but not an unpleasant one.” The others were more typical, like the jalapeno/cheese/bean, which was:
[A]lmost like a classic melty Tex-Mex bean and cheese burrito in pupusa form, all runny and juicy and savory rich with lard, the pickled jalapeños providing a welcome snap of vinegar heat
That, along with oversized aguas frescas, tamales, and Salvadoran enchiladas, make SalvaTex all worth trying.
Austin Monthly’s Darcie Duttweiler visited Chinese barbecue restaurant Lotus + Cleaver, and welcomed the change of pace from the usual Rock Rose restaurants. The Caton roast duck, which is available without any advance notice unlike other restaurants, is the winning dish:
This one is crispy and juicy all at the same time and is accompanied by steamed mantou buns, cucumber, Asian pear, and a Hoisin-like sauce, all of which combine to create the perfect sandwich
- Up in Smoke: Legendary Lockhart Barbecue Is Overrated [Statesman]
- Beer and Food Come Together in Unexpected Ways at the Brewer’s Table [Statesman]
- All Coverage of Brewer’s Table [EATX]
- Restaurant Review: Lotus + Cleaver [Austin Monthly]
- All Coverage of Lotus + Cleaver [EATX]
- Food Trailer on Airport Nails Salvadoran Tex-Mex [Chronicle]