Chronicle critic Melanie Haupt reviewed Asian-Pacific restaurant She’s Not Here this week, finding some winning dishes but feeling almost inexplicably disappointed. This echoes the sentiment of Austin Monthly critic Jolène M. Bouchon, who reviewed the downtown restaurant in January.
Haupt’s lunch visit had ups and downs: she loved the green curry, but not the “overly paprika’d and vinegary” macaroni salad, and praised the poke bowl. Though she enjoyed the coconut cake, she felt it didn’t deliver the promised rum flavor, and thought it was too expensive at $13.
For dinner, Haupt thoroughly enjoyed the tofu satay (“fragranced with ginger and bearing a subtle char”) and the maki balboa: a sushi roll with a nod to bagels and schmear. Her table’s favorite dish was the “rich and delicious” crab butter roll, though she also liked the seafood tom yum, despite the small portion size:
If I’d been eating this on my own, I’d have been very grumpy indeed with the size of the portion: about four to five shrimp, some shredded fish, and a half-dozen mushrooms. Not because it was skimpy (it was), but because the broth was such a flavorful, kicky combo of acid and spice that I never wanted to stop eating it.
For cocktails, Haupt preferred the “bright and pert” summer sangria to the gin-based Wildflower, which was too coconut-heavy.
Though Haupt praised the food, “friendly” service, and aesthetic (though not the prices), she overall thought something was missing from her restaurant experiences.