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Chronicle Critic Finds ‘Top Chef’s Dishes Overpriced at Arlo Grey

Statesman critic ventures out to Del Valle for Thai food worth a standing ovation

Plates of varying sizes with food, such as a whole chicken, croquettes, salads, and dip
Dishes at Arlo Grey
Arlo Grey/Facebook

In her first review since March, Chronicle critic Jessi Cape wrote about Top Chef winner Kristen Kish’s Arlo Grey at the Line Hotel, ultimately finding that the restaurant offers more style than substance. The downtown hotel restaurant, which is Kish’s first solo spot, opened in 2018.

Though Cape praised the “chic” decor (complete with personal touches from Kish), Cape found spotty service and dishes that did not live up to the higher price points.

Cape enjoyed the flavors and textures in the carrot and corn dish and the Texas tomato salad. However, she found the tuna crudo with rye noodles “shockingly bland” and the prawn agnolotti to be “a flavor combination [she] just couldn’t quite understand.”

While waiting over half an hour for food during brunch, Cape was served an “undrinkable” bloody mary, quickly replaced by a “delicious” Him and Her cocktail made with Pimm’s and strawberry lemonade. The food fared much better:

The infamously pricey burger ($18) was, I’ll admit, absolutely delicious — due largely in part to the not-so-subtle caramelized onions and incredibly velvety aligot whipped potatoes. Spring for the golden, egg-shaped hash browns if only to admire them, as well as the luxuriously decadent croissant and bread pudding with tiny bursts of pomegranate seeds and candied orange rinds.

While Cape called Arlo Grey’s culinary team “talented,” she implored that Austin visitors explore local restaurants with “more heart.”

Statesman critic Matthew Odam reviewed Little Thailand on the outskirts of Austin this week, finding warm, complex flavors in the revamped restaurant. He noted that the restaurant had improved under Kanjanut Thomas, niece of the original owners, reopening earlier this year after closing in 2014.

Odam knew he was in for a treat upon trying the body-tingling massaman curry, which held “a complexity that spoke to the freshness and craft of mortar and pestle, not the thin, hollow slap of an empty can.” He also loved the “ambrosial” green curry, “salty, smoky sweetness” of the pad see ew, as well as “dandelion-colored egg washed” pork dumplings and house-made fish cakes.

A favorite was the pork pad kra prow:

[T]here were no shortcuts with the pad kra prow, brimming with umami from maggi sauce and colored with the crisp snap of red and green peppers. That licorice flavor vibrating around the toasty chili notes was actually coming from the holy basil expertly integrated into the sauce.

With a finishing flourish of flower-shaped mango sticky rice, Odam added that he wanted to “stand up at the table and clap.” He rated the restaurant a 9.5 out of 10.

Austin Monthly’s restaurant critic Jolène Bouchon reviewed Interstellar BBQ, calling it “destination barbecue worth driving for.” The barbecue joint from Noble Sandwich Co. opened in February, taking over the casual restaurant’s second location on 620.

Though Bouchon had great things to say about all the cuts of meat, including the more creative sausages, she gave high praise to the brisket, ranking it among the best in Austin:

Fourteen hours in post oak smoke renders the fatty cuts as tender as custard; the lean well-structured and succulent. Ebony-barked and deeply smoky, its rich beefy essence is teased out with care and patience.

Bouchon also praised those scalloped potatoes that Odam also noted in his review, as well as the jalapeno slaw and a “zingy” salad of tomato, zucchini, and onion.

Little Thailand

4315 Caldwell Lane, Del Valle, TX 78617 512-551-9930 Visit Website

Interstellar BBQ

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

Arlo Grey

111 East Cesar Chavez Street, , TX 78701 (512) 478-2991 Visit Website

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