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Texas Monthly Critic Mostly Adores the Moles of Downtown Austin Mexican Restaurant Comedor

Texas Monthly barbecue editor was impressed by the sides at new barbecue spot Interstellar BBQ

The Spanish octopus with black garlic mole at Comedor
The Spanish octopus with black garlic mole at Comedor
Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

Texas Monthly critic Pat Sharpe reviewed downtown Austin Mexican restaurant Comedor this week, and found many things to like. She called the restaurant, which opened a little over a month ago by chefs Philip Speer, Gabe Erales, and Alan Delgado, “visionary.” She opined that “the ideas at play here are as cutting-edge as any that you’ll find at Mexico City’s Pujol or Quintonil,” two notable high-end restaurants in the capital city.

Sharpe liked the raw seafood starters, like an aguachile with a “fun crunch” of popped wheat berries and “silken wafers” of diver scallops with the pineapple broth tepache. She also praised the quesadilla with “earthy-sweet” huitlacoche (corn fungus), though she thought the smoked Fresno chile salsa was too acidic for the dish.

Also enjoyable was the bean dish (“a cross between a stew and a hearty porridge”) but Sharpe saved her true evaluation of the restaurant for its array of moles, which spanned from love to dislike:

My favorite was a light, sweet, chile-based mole served with chunky butternut squash topped with sweet-potato crisps. And I was not un-fond of the classic mole rojo on the fried quail milanesa, a base of chile ancho softened by allspice and oregano. But the one I had the highest hopes for turned out to be the iffiest — a green pumpkin-seed mole overwhelmed by kale, epazote, cilantro, and hoja santa. It was a dish that only a health freak could love.

Sharpe highly recommended desserts, like a chamomile mousse (saying it tasted exactly like a cup of tea) and the “audacity” of black-cocoa chocolate tamal.

Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn wrote up Interstellar BBQ, and found sides as luscious as the brisket. The barbecue offshoot of Noble Sandwich Co. opened earlier this year in far northwest Austin.

Vaughn said that Interstellar’s scalloped potatoes were “the best vegetarian barbecue item [he has] enjoyed in recent memory” adding that it “eats like brisket bark.”

From the meats, Vaughn said the lean brisket “passed the test,” the pork ribs were “a favorite at the table,” and the sausage “ranks among Austin’s best,” writing:

The jalapeño popper sausage is fortified with ground bacon and big chunks of gooey cheddar. The brisket banger — with garlic, black pepper, and paprika — has a fine grind and plenty of juice.

Vaughn finished with the rice pudding, which he called “a nice change of pace” from traditional barbecue desserts. He closed by praising co-owners and co-chefs John Bates and Brandon Martinez’s creativity.

Comedor

501 Colorado Street, , TX 78701 (512) 499-0977 Visit Website

Interstellar BBQ

12233 Ranch Road 620 North, , TX 78750 (512) 382-6248 Visit Website

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