Statesman critic Matthew Odam visited Asian smokehouse Loro, and emphasized that it is not simply a combination of Franklin Barbecue and Uchi. Calling the restaurant, which opened in April, a “thoughtful Asian sports bar” (though noting that the television screens were hardly in use), Odam framed the restaurant as one that emphasizes operational efficiency over customer experience.
The restaurant’s aesthetic felt like a “rustically elegant Austin 2.0 dancehall,” which is a good thing, but he had mixed feelings about the dishes. As others did, he particularly liked the smoked prime bavette:
The medallions of voluptuous French skirt steak, vaporous with post oak smoke, are cut by the lash of pickled onions and the grassy sting of shishito salsa verde, though I prefer the citrus and herbaceousness and tang of the Thai green dipping sauce that accompanies a snack of fried wonton chips.
Odam also enjoyed the Malaysian chicken bo ssam (“the most tender chicken breast you’ve ever eaten”). He was less impressed by the “squishy” happy hour burger, smoked salmon in a “cloying” broth, and, surprisingly, the brisket. Of the latter, he seemed slightly irked at the lack of choice between lean and fatty, and underwhelmed by the “tame” gastrique. He also noted at least one of the desserts is outsourced from the Steeping Room rather than made in-house.
Odam expressed the most displeasure with Loro’s ordering system, including the restaurant requiring a card swipe for each drink order and spotty service. However, he concluded the restaurant is practical rather than inspirational.
Megan Kimble at Austin Monthly stopped by casual all-day spot Better Half. Calling it “the kind of restaurant Austin needs more of,” she embraced the restaurant with “comfortable” food and free parking.
Kimble ordered two items she frequently makes at home — a salad and a grain bowl — but found Better Half’s versions to be elevated. She does recommend one addition:
Get it with pulled fried chicken on the side, a perfect jumble of crunchy crust and salty, tender meat that complements the fresh sweetness of the greens.
ON THE BLOGS: Austin Texas Food went to The Brewer’s Table and loved the tiny ice cream cone, calling it a “creamy hop bomb.” Big Bite Out was left stuffed after June’s All Day brunch and described the sourdough pancakes as tangy “in all the right ways.”
- Asian Smokehouse Loro Isn’t a Mash-Up of Uchi and Franklin Barbecue. But What Is It? [Statesman]
- All Coverage of Loro [EATX]
- Restaurant Review: Better Half [Austin Monthly]
- All Coverage of Better Half [EATX]