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Austin

La Michoacana Meat Market
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

3

La Michoacana Meat Market

5706 Manor Rd. Suite B
Austin, TX 78723
512-674-0446

Head Public Restaurant Critic

1/13/2008

Satisfactory

Cheap tacos at a Mexican meat market, what more can you ask for?

The taco fillings are pre-cooked and you just go up to the counter and choose what you want. Since the meat is pre-cooked, some times it is dried out. Also, you have to pay for your tacos at a register before you can go up to the counter and give them your order -- since this is a meat market/grocery store, sometimes the lines are long and you have to wait awhile just to get a couple of tacos.

But seriously, the tacos are good, especially for the price.

As a side note, this meat market is part of a larger chain of stores throughout the nation. They normally cater to the Mexican/Hispanic market, which is obvious as their menu has misspelled 'beans' as 'beens' and 'sauce' as 'sause', as pointed out on the pic below (click on the pic for a bigger image).

Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

3-a

La Michoacada Meat Market

5706 Manor Rd. Suite B
Austin, Texas 78723
(512) 674-0446

Head Public Restaurant Critic

4/24/2008

Satisfactory

Another trip to La Michoacada Meat Market. This place is pretty good for cheap tacos. When you order your tacos, you have a choice among various fillings, but it's hard to tell what is what, so you end up ordering stuff by how it looks and by how you think it'll taste. This visit I got three tacos, one barbacoa, the other lengua (tongue) in some sort of spicy green sauce, and the other taco I don't know what was in it, but it looked tasty (I think it was pork, but I'm not exactly sure).

The only bad thing about this trip was that two different people were asking me and my buddy for money. I felt sorry for them, but I could have done without the harassment.


Little Caesar's
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

33

Little Caesar's

1030 Norwood Park Blvd Suite 414
Austin, TX 78753

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/1/2008

Satisfactory

I saw a billboard advertising Little Caesar's $5 'hot-and-ready' pizza and had to get one. Presumably, Little Caesar's has fresh pizzas around the clock (or store hours) already cooked and ready to be bought. So I got one of these pizzas, a medium pepperoni pizza (a medium cheese pizza is the only other option under this deal) and it was alright. It wasn't the best pizza, if only because Little Caesar's is mass producing these pizzas so they just try and pop them out as quick as possible and attention is lost to little details like making sure the cheese is evenly distributed and not clumped up in certain parts of the pizza and lacking in others. But, the pizza lasted me all day, and all for $5, so it's far from a bad deal.

These pizzas are so popular that people are willing to park in fire zones for the chance to pick them up. No kidding. As I was exiting the store (I wanted to write 'restaurant' instead of 'store', but Little Caesar's isn't really a restaurant, but it feels wrong to call it a store, so oh well...) a lady decided to park in a fire lane to get down real quick and presumably pick up some pizzas. I wanted to tell her that she couldn't do that, parking in a fire lane, but she knew exactly what she was doing and I didn't feel like getting into a public argument with someone who thinks she's above the law. Oh well, I should've gotten her license plate number and posted it on here, but I just wanted to get home and eat my pizza, I was hungry.


Little City
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

86

Little City

916 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 476-CITY

Head Public Restaurant Critic

1/9/2009

Satisfactory

So Little City is a coffee shop in downtown Austin that also serves sandwiches, bagels, and other general things that most coffee shops sell, including beer. I went here for lunch in my continuing exploration of food options in the downtown area and decided to get a smoked salmon sandwich that included cucumber slices, pesto cream cheese, and greens on ciabatta bread for around $7 dollars before tax. It was a little bit pricier than I would have liked, but if you're eating at a downtown eatery, one won't find anything comparable for much less.

I'm kind of wishy-washy about ordering sandwiches from restaurants because I always feel that I'm over paying since I could conceivably make the same sandwich at home for much less, which is true if we're talking appropriate economy of scale, but normally when I decide to have sandwiches at home I buy all of this sandwich stuff that would cost less per sandwich if I were making like ten sandwiches, but normally I just make three or four sandwiches and then get tired of them, so overall I'm learning that in paying for sandwiches at restaurants I'm not really just throwing my money away.

Also, I didn't really feel like I was wasting money because all of Little City's sandwiches are priced the same, so since smoked salmon normally costs more, I felt, in regards to the other sandwiches, that I was getting more bang for my buck by going for the salmon, which was delicious.

Overall, this smoked salmon was delicious (as smoked salmon naturally is) and the sandwich it was part of was good as well. It also came with chips and salsa. However, I did feel like I should be getting more for my $7 than a sandwich, chips, and salsa, but I really don't know what I was expecting in the first place. Overall, not a bad place for the area.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

86-a

Little City

916 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 476-CITY

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/22/2009

Satisfactory

Another salmon sandwich, which was pretty damn good. Oh, and Little City's online menu prices do not accurately reflect the prices IRL, but they got my money anyway.


Logan's Roadhouse
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

39

Logan's Roadhouse

701 E. Stassney Bldg. C
Austin, Texas 78745
(512) 912-8702

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/16/2008

Sucks

I started this website because I had a horrible experience at a Logan's Roadhouse, and in my #0 ( *Ground Zero*) review, I wrote such things as "Overall, I will never eat at a Logan's Roadhouse ever again." and "Shitty service and shitty food equals a bad review. No more Logan's for me, ever." Well, apparently, I lied as I just ate at a Logan's Roadhouse again, but it wasn't my choice as I was dragged there, kicking and screaming, for a graduation party.

This visit wasn't nearly as bad as my previous visit, but I can still say without a doubt that I will never choose to visit a Logan's Roadhouse again of my own volition.

First, Logan's Roadhouse has complimentary peanuts, still in their shell, which you unshell, eat, and then throw the shells on the ground. I like free peanuts, but it's like Logan's Roadhouse wants to be known as that place where you can throw your peanut shells on the ground. It wouldn't be that hard to have trash cans strategically placed or bowls on the tables to throw your shells into.

Second, I can't stand places where the entire wait staff makes a big ruckus and sings "Happy Birthday" or some analogous song to their guests -- that's just plain annoying.

Third, they forgot my side order of macaroni and cheese. I had to remind them that I had ordered it, and I hate reminding people of stuff I ordered.

Fourth, a girl in our party found a hair in her mashed potatoes. The waitress took the plate back and returned with a hair free plate, but my table-mates and I were left wondering what exactly did they do to the plate. Did they just remove the hair? Did they replace the mashed potatoes? Did they not replace the mashed potatoes thinking we would assume that they would replace the mashed potatoes?

Fifth, they frakking charged me an extra 99 cents to have my baked potato "loaded", which is just corporate 'nickel-&-diming'. Seriously, who orders just a plain baked potato? If more than 25% of customers just ordered a plain baked potato, I'd be really really surprised. Seriously, just include the cost of a loaded baked potato in the menu price.

Sixth, actually my food was pretty good, but it's kind of hard to mess up salmon.

Finally, don't eat at Logan's Roadhouse, ever.


Long John Silver's
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

41

Long John Silver's

5600 Cameron Rd.
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 419-9030

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/30/2008

Satisfactory

This Long John Silver's shares the same building with an A & W Restaurant which I had already reviewed, and it was in writing that review that I came across the problem of what to call the restaurant -- do I call it just 'A & W Restaurant', or 'A & W Restaurant / Long John Silver's'? I decided to just call it 'A & W Restaurant' since you can find it via the A & W Restaurant website. But this created an anomaly of two restaurants in one building -- how could I review the one and not the other? I rarely eat at Long John Silver's and can probably count all of the times I've ever been there in my lifetime on one hand. This visit, I got a combo platter with two pieces of fried fish, two hushpuppies, fries, a drink, with an additional 3 shrimp. It was alright, nothing groundbreaking. The extra 3 shrimp, at $1.19, wasn't really worth it, but the hushpuppies were good. They had some other menu items which peaked my interest but couldn't order because then I would have been ordering too much, items such as the lobster bites and crab cakes, but I don't know if I'll ever go back to try them out.

Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

41-a

Long John Silver's

5600 Cameron Rd.
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 419-9030

Head Public Restaurant Critic

7/4/2009

Satisfactory

I visited Long John Silver's for their dollar fish tacos, but ended up getting seduced by their considerably more expensive "Lobster Bites". The dollar fish tacos aren't that good, bordering on disgusting, and the "Lobster Bites" (claiming to contain real lobster) weren't nearly as good as my imagination led me to believe. I'm now of the opinion that lobster should never, EVER, be fried.

Overall, I paid for food that I thought I wanted but which wasn't as good as I had expected. I lost. FML.



Luby's
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

88

Luby's

1410 East Anderson Lane
Austin, TX 78752
(512) 835-9454

Head Public Restaurant Critic

1/18/2009
1/21/2009
1/24/2009
1/29/2009

Satisfactory

So I thought I had stumbled upon a great gift for my parents -- a $100 giftcard to Luby's. This was a great idea because: 1.) my parents like Luby's, and 2.) for every $25 in giftcards bought, Luby's gives you a $5 coupon (which I would keep). This was a win-win idea, awesome.

With the $100 giftcard purchased, I had four $5 coupons, $20 total, which would be good for two meals I figured. On my first visit I got one of their "LuAnn" platters, with baked fish, macaroni and cheese, and a baked potato, and a drink. It was good, especially the mac and cheese, which Luby's has always done well.

What sucked was when I went up to the cashier's station to pay and was told that I couldn't use my coupons all at once. WTF!?! Actually, this probably makes good business sense and if I were a Luby's stockholder I'd be down with this idea. But I'm not a Luby's stockholder so I thought this sucked. But oh well, that just necessitated three more trips to Luby's to redeem all of my coupons.

On my second trip I got fried liver and onions, fried okra, and more macaroni and cheese. I know a lot of people don't like liver, but I like it, although I've only ever had it at Luby's, so maybe there's bad liver out there that I'm just oblivious to.

On my third trip I got roast beef, new potatoes, and even more macaroni and cheese.

On my fourth and final trip I unknowing got exactly what I got on my first trip, baked fish, a baked potato, and yes, macaroni and cheese. The macaroni and cheese at Luby's is really good, yet they're inconsistent in that sometimes they put the macaroni in its own separate dish, and other times they just slop it down on the plate where it gets all over the other food. I got the exact same plate on the first and fourth visits -- on the first visit they put the mac and cheese in a dish, on the fourth they didn't. WTF?

I could complain that I had to make four trips to Luby's to redeem all of my coupons, but the food was good so I don't mind, and I still think I got my money's worth, which is the most important part. The only thing that really sucked about these visits was that the cokes were $2.19, which I thought was a bit excessive and outrageous, or maybe they price them high so that people will elect to get water instead and be healthier, in which event, kudos to Luby's for trying to set health standards. Still sucks for us coke drinkers though.


First Visit

Second Visit

Third Visit

Fourth Visit


Magnolia Cafe
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

43

Magnolia Cafe

1920 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 445-0000

Head Public Restaurant Critic

6/11/2008

Good

Magnolia cafe is a little 24 hour cafe with pretty damn good food. The previous time I was here, prior to this most recent visit, I got the wasabi salmon. I figured "I like salmon, and I like wasabi," and I thought it would be a good combination -- it wasn't; it sucked. That was a few months ago, enough for the bitter taste to have dissipated from both my mouth and my opinion of the restaurant.

On this most recent of visits I tried their cornmeal dusted tilapia, with scalloped potatoes and veggies on the side. The tilapia was alright, if a bit bland. The vegetables were vegetables. But the scalloped potatoes were frakking amazing! The only scalloped potatoes I have ever had have been the variety that come out of a box, and I've always liked them, but man, having fresh home made scalloped potatoes of the quality Magnolia produced is just so much better -- they are so much better than the box kind that there really is no comparison between the two. The potatoes were thinly sliced and layered between layers of cheese, then topped off with more cheese -- I want to go back and just have a plate of them.

(p.s. Magnolia's sign reads "Sorry, we're open" which I just think is stupid. Of course Magnolia is open 24 hours, which means they're open all of the time, and "Sorry, we're open" is a play on the "Sorry, we're closed" phrase, but why would they be sorry that they're open? It's just stupid.)


Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

43-a

Magnolia Cafe

1920 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 445-0000

Head Public Restaurant Critic

11/26/2008

Satisfactory

I ended up eating dinner at Magnolia Cafe on Thanksgiving eve because I had some family come into town and one of them had seen the restaurant featured on television and wanted to check it out. I don't dislike Magnolia Cafe, but I don't see what's so great about it, besides the fact that they try a little hard to have that 'Keep Austin Weird' vibe.

I ended up ordering some sort of Gorgonzola (cheese) pasta, which must be a seasonal dish as they don't have it listed on their online menu, and it was alright. It had shrimp, chunks of red bell pepper, and some sort of greens in it (spinach or collard if my memory recalls) and came with garlic bread, but I got bored of it quickly because it was just a costly bowl of pasta that didn't come with any side items -- there was really nothing to supplement it. Once again, I wasn't really that impressed with Magnolia.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

43-b

Magnolia Cafe

1920 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 445-0000

Head Public Restaurant Critic

1/1/2009

Satisfactory (barely)

So, the day after a rambunctious New Year's Eve, some friends and I decided to eat at Magnolia Cafe for our first meal of the new year. Generally, Magnolia is pretty good and well regarded in the Austin community, but this visit kind of sucked, not so much because of the food, but mainly for the way we were seated.

First of all, the food was alright. I had their #2 house special omelet (consisting of steamed mushroom, red onion, green bell pepper, ham and cheddar and jack cheese… oh, and egg too) with 'home fries' and an English muffin. I choose those sides because I didn't want toast (because it's boring when compared to an English muffin) or Spanish rice or fruit (because I'm pretty sure the fruit would have contained cantaloupe which for the life of me I can't force myself to like no matter how hard I try). Once upon a time I used to like home fries when I didn't have them all of the time, but now it seems like I'm eating them everywhere because more and more restaurants are serving them in their dishes because they are cheap and easy to make -- personally, I would have preferred the option to have hash browns. Overall, the food was good and plentiful... except that it became inedible after a few minutes because we were seated at the worst possible table at Magnolia on that particular day. Personally, I can't eat eggs once they cool down, something about the combination of the cold temperature and texture of the eggs just grosses me out, and half my meal became inedible because my omelet got cold.

This visit to Magnolia sucked because of where we were seated. Magnolia is pretty popular, but it's a small restaurant -- add to the fact that we went on a holiday, New Year's Day, and one can imagine how busy and packed the restaurant must have been. I was in a party of five, one of whom put his name down with the hostess for a table; they asked whether we wanted indoor or outdoor seating or if either one was fine (meaning which ever one was available first we would get) -- we didn't care where we sat (or so we thought), so we said either one would be fine. Boy, were we wrong.

When they called our name, we went up to the hostess's stand where they directed us through the inside of the restaurant, took us outside, through the outside dining area, and then took us outside the dining area to an outer outside area with some picnic tables, where they sat us at the table furthest from the restaurant. I'm not going to mince words -- this table sucked.

First of all, when they asked us if we cared where we wanted to be seated, we didn't care, inside or outside, it didn't matter. Inside is great because it's temp-controlled and outside is good because it’s a patio area with plastic sheeting acting as wind blockers with strategically placed heat lamps keeping the area warm -- well, we were seated outside of this area with no plastic wind blockers and no heaters on New Year's Day, and even though we are in temperate Texas, it was still pretty fucking chilly with the wind chill only making things worse.

The only reasons to sit outside were because we thought we would be on the patio with wind blockers and heated lamps, neither of which we were afforded at our table outside of the patio area. When we asked for a heat lamp, we were told that it would be a fire hazard because the lamps were tall and we were under a tent-like thing, which only served to cover the top of the table, not the sides. When we asked if we could switch tables (because our table really sucked), the magnolia staff told us that we had opted to sit inside or outside, whichever was first available, when we had given them our name and for them to reseat us now meant we would have had to wait all over again -- newsflash: we initially opted to sit inside or outside, not outside the protected and heated outside patio area.

Overall, the food was alright, but the seating very much sucked. Now that I'm thinking and writing about the experience, I think the worst part of it was that the workers we were complaining to knew we were right, but were just saying "you all elected to sit outside so there's nothing we can do" as a lame defense, and to reiterate my point, yes, we elected to sit outside, but we did not elect to sit outside the outside.

To add insult to injury, the waitress added her gratuity to our bill when we were just a party of five (I thought restaurants normally didn't add gratuity unless you had six or more people in the party at the least) -- I'm thinking she did this because she could tell from our complaining and discomfort that we weren't really in the tipping mood. To add more insult, the gratuity was 17%, where at most places its 15%.

In sum, I generally like Magnolia's (which is why this review is getting a satisfactory rating instead of a sucks rating), and I know I'll probably be back in the future, but I'm definitely specifying where I will not sit the next time I put my name on the waiting list.

P.S. There's a store next door that you can browse or buy from when waiting for your table (they have a p.a. system from Magnolia’s in the shop so that you can hear when your name is called). The shop is for tourists and filled with crap that no self-respecting person would fork over money for unless they're bored as hell waiting for their name to be called over at Magnolia.

P.S.S. Horrible, horrible seating.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

43-c

Magnolia Cafe

1920 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 445-0000

Head Public Restaurant Critic

1/17/2009

Satisfactory

I keep on writing about my indifference towards Magnolia -- I don't really care for the restaurant much nor do I truly hate it, yet I keep coming back to it mainly because other people I know do like it, which resulted in this visit, which occurred after 2 am on a Saturday morning after a drunken bout on Sixth Street (the bar district in Austin).

Normally, I don't like to eat late at night or after I've been drinking because I just fall asleep shortly afterwards and buying/eating food during that time would just be a waste of resources, but my friends wanted to go to Magnolia and they were driving, so I went to Magnolia. To limit my cost I ordered a breakfast taco, their Big Breakfast Taco to be exact, which contains egg, avocado, bacon, and cheese in a flour tortilla. The taco was alright, but it was a pain to eat because it kept falling apart. Instead of packing the taco, the restaurant just placed the filling on half the tortilla and flipped over the other half. As I was eating the taco, the filling kept falling out and the flour tortilla kept tearing from the wetness of the egg and other fillings. Normally, tacos are meant to be a quick and efficient transportation method to get something into your mouth when done properly, which this wasn't.

Once again, Magnolia was a bit of a disappointment, but I must be the only one to feel that way since the place was still packed from the late night crowd when we left at just after 3 am.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

43-d

Magnolia Cafe

1920 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 445-0000

Head Public Restaurant Critic

2/1/2009

Satisfactory

Once again I've found myself at Magnolia Cafe and once again I've had a lackluster experience. This time I ordered their #8 omelette, 'The Magnolia', which consists of avocado, tomato, black olives, cheddar and jack cheese, and lemon sour cream sauce, accompanied by home fries and an English muffin. For the most part the omelette was good, except for the fact that the ingredients were often clumped together and not spread out, so that as I progressed through the omelette I would hit a pocket of tomato, then a pocket of olives, and then a pocket of cheese, and so on -- I totally forgot the omelette came with avocado until I was midway through it and came across a pocket of avocado. I really wished the ingredients would have been more uniformly spread throughout the omlette, rather than just clumped together in different areas.

The omlette was passable, but the wait to get a table sucked. I was part of a party of five, and when we arrived at the restaurant there wasn't a long wait, but we ended up waiting a long time anyway as the restaurant could not get (or could not try to get) a table of five right away, so my party and I ended up waiting a long time as smaller parties that arrived after us continually passed us on by in the wait list.

The wait was so long we contemplated buying some of the girl scout cookies that were being sold outside, but we resisted this temptation, at least until we had finished our meal.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

43-e

Magnolia Cafe

1920 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 445-0000

Head Public Restaurant Critic

9/20/2009

Good

So I returned to Magnolia Cafe on this Sunday with some guests from out of town. They were treating me out to lunch, which, this being a Sunday and all (meaning I was lucky to get out of bed by 10:30 am), meant breakfast to me, and I was craving their Alaskan Benedict. This would be my second time eating their Alaskan Benedict, as my first time was a couple of weeks ago and it made quite an impression (which unfortunately I did not review because my camera phone was full of pictures that I hadn't transferred to my comp and which I could not yet delete).

Coming to Magnolia on a Sunday is always a laborious chore as it's so crowded and the restaurant has a long wait time. Luckily, those waiting for a table can visit a gift shop a building over where they have a PA system connected to the restaurant calling names for those lucky diners lucky to get a table. Unluckily, the gift shop sucks and just has a bunch of useless crap that no one in their right mind would waste money on (unless, presumably, you're a stupid out-of-towner wanting to get something to commemorate your visit to "weird" Austin with).

Anyway, the wait time was half an hour, which I spent looking at useless crap, and then we were seated outside where my party and I were promptly forgotten about. We waited a few minutes for a waiter to notice us, which never happened, so we had to flag someone down to request menus. Then, we were given the menus, but weren't given the brunch menus (which they only have during certain hours during the weekend and holidays), so I had to request those as well (as the Alaskan Benedict is only on the brunch menu and not on the regular menu). Finally, after another long period of waiting, a waitress finally came by and took our order. I ordered the Alaskan Benedict and my two brunch mates ordered cheeseburgers each, as well as queso and chips for the table.

Overall, my food was awesome. I love the Alaskan Benedict. From what my brunch mates told me, the cheeseburgers are apparently also good. The only real bad thing about this visit was the long waits both before and after being seated, but the waitress comped our chips and queso, so I guess all that waiting was not purely in vain, but still, waiting sucks.



Maki
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

83

Maki

10515 N. Mopac Expy, Suite A165
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 243-8298

Head Public Restaurant Critic

12/20/2008

Satifactory

So Maki is a new restaurant/fast food joint that opened up in the North Austin area that makes customized sushi rolls right in front of you, which I guess would be its main appeal. I heard about it on a forum and decided to check it out. As I entered the restaurant, which is in a strip mall, there is a backboard advertising their special rolls of the week or some-such which I wasn't really interested in so I just walked past it not remembering what the specials were (although I do remember the specials having a number of ingredients which I thought might be potential overkill). As you head towards the line they have poster-like things on the wall telling you how to order, which goes something like: pick your wrap (seaweed or soy), choose your meat (at various prices), and up to three other items (like veggies or cream cheese and I think they even had strawberry and mango as options). So, following their instructions, as I went up to the counter, I got seaweed for the wrap, salmon for my meat, and cucumber, avocado, and cream cheese for the other fillers. I watched as the lady helping me made my roll and after she cut it up into ten pieces, I had it topped off with sesame seeds (I believe they were toasted) -- I also had the option to have it topped with masago, but at an extra cost. Then, my sushi-roll-wrapper-lady asked if I wanted my roll topped with any of number of their sauces, and I was like, "no", because, at this early stage of my sushi eating life, I don't like any sauces on my sushi because I feel it interferes with the soy sauce (what I traditionally dip my sushi pieces in before they enter my mouth) that I love so much. The weird thing was that the lady was totally insistent that I try one of their sauces, which I didn't want to do -- the lady said that she could put some sauces on the side, which I didn't want; the lady said that she could put some sauces in a little container, which I still refused; then, when I sat down to eat my sushi, some other lady (or it might have been my sushi-roll-maker-lady, I really don't remember) comes up to me while I'm eating and asks if I wanted to try any of their sauces, which I had to nod 'no' to because my mouth was full.

Overall, the sushi there is decent (although I didn't care for their miso soup). I've been to Maki twice, and each time I ordered the same type of roll: seaweed wrap with salmon, cucumber, avocado, and cream cheese. The service was decent and the workers were very attentive (I say that the service was decent, rather than saying it was good, because the workers were overly polite, constantly trying to verify that I was having a pleasant time when I just wanted to be left alone). I think the staff was being very attentive to the customer's needs because they had just opened and were hoping to attract a following. On my first visit, I was one of just a few customers, but on my second visit they were more people, so I guess they're doing something right. The only thing that bothered me was the fact they were very adamant about me trying their sauces on both occasions, as if their sauces are what they want to separate them from other sushi places or something (because otherwise I don't know why they would be so insistent about their sauces).

The funny thing is that I was prepared to hate Maki because my initial impression of it before I visited was that it was more of a fast food restaurant than the real, legitimate sushi places I am accustomed to frequenting. My initial impression of Maki still stands, but now I have a new perspective through which to view that impression (if that makes sense). As I was eating at Maki I realized that this is what sushi really is, fast food, and which is how it originally originated in Japan (or someplace, I think, maybe...). Then somehow, when sushi came to America, it became all expensive. So, growing up in America, I was instilled with the worldview (or America-view, I guess) that sushi restaurants were supposed to be high-class places, which is true from the American perspective, but wrong from the perspective of how sushi came to be, which was as fast food for the lower classes. So sushi is originally for the poor, but in America its for the not-poor, so my hateful pre-impression of Maki is true to my American upbringing, but false in the tradition of how sushi came to be, so if I look at Maki as being truthful to the sushi tradition (sushi as cheap fast food), then I should like Maki, which I do. Follow?

Anyway, one of the cool things about Maki is that they have frequent customer cards which entitles someone to their 10th roll at Maki for free if they remember to get their card punched for nine previous rolls. The frequent customer card is a nice incentive to return, and given that they have rotating specials (or so I'm inclined to believe), I think I might turn into a regular customer to try all of their specials and learn what I've been missing in the world of sushi, as opposed to sticking only to my salmon and Philly rolls.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

83-a

Maki

10515 N. Mopac Expy, Suite A165
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 243-8298

Head Public Restaurant Critic

2/7/2009

Good

Back at Maki. This is my second review for this place, but I've been here more than that. Normally I've just stuck to ordering the same roll, salmon with cucumber, avocado, and cream cheese. This time I decided to mix it up and get one of their rolls that they have on special.

Stuck between a choice of either Lauren's combo, or Crystal's combo, I decided to go with the former, which has yellowtail, cucumber, carrots, avocado, sesame seeds, and spicy mayo (with miso soup and fountain drink thrown in); the latter hand salmon, asparagus, cucumber, cream cheese, and spicy mayo (also with soup and drink).

Overall, the roll was good, but not really memorable. Better luck next time I guess.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

83-b

Maki

10515 N. Mopac Expy, Suite A165
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 243-8298

Head Public Restaurant Critic

3/1/2009

Satisfactory

Another day, another Maki visit, another salmon/cream cheese/cucumber roll. I'm trying to expand my culinary/sushi horizons by sampling the special rolls Maki offers each week, but this week's two "featured rolls" failed to entice me in any which way, so I just went with my default/safe roll, mentioned above.

For the record, the "featured rolls" for the week were the "Strawberry Fields" roll (modern soy wrap/grilled beef/mixed greens/strawberries/sprouts/tempura crunch/sweet chili sauce) and the "Mandarin Chicken" roll (modern soy wrap/grilled chicken/mandarin oranges/cucumbers/green onions/masago/creamy miso). Yeah, even as I'm typing this these rolls still do not seem appetizing. Maybe I'm a traditionalist, but any protein other than fish in a sushi roll really doesn't do it for me.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

83-c

Maki

10515 N. Mopac Expy, Suite A165
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 243-8298

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/23/2009

Satisfactory

I've been hearing really good things about this new burger joint, Mighty Fine Burgers, so much so that I decided to check it out. Unfortunately, this place is so popular that it was packed when I made my visit, and I didn't feel like waiting in line or trying/fighting to find a table. Sooo..., I had to lower my standards for this afternoon and go somewhere else to eat, which happened to be Maki, only because it was in the same strip mall area.

I've been trying to try new sushi rolls as an alternative to ordering the same thing I always order (salmon roll with cucumber, avocado, and cream cheese), and luckily Maki has weekly featured rolls. One of these featured rolls, the "Red Devil Roll" (shrimp tempura with a traditional wrap, avocado, tomago, tofu skin, crab mix topping, chili oil, chili powder, and sweet chili) didn't sound so bad, so that's what I got, except I told my sushi-maker/artist/non-master to go easy on the chili stuff.

The roll was good, especially with the crab mix topping, and I'm glad that I went easy on the chili stuff, because that stuff goes a longggggggg way. The only problem was that I kept dreaming of the Mighty Fine meal I didn't have, especially since everybody seemed to be over there and I was, at one point, to only customer at Maki. So lonely...



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

83-d

Maki

10515 N. Mopac Expy, Suite A165
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 243-8298

Head Public Restaurant Critic

6/20/2009

Satisfactory

I went to Maki again (which means it must be Saturday) and ordered one of their featured rolls of the week (interesting enough, they call it the featured roll of the week, but they list two different rolls, which seems like a contradiction, like dividing by 0, but as the earth hasn't given way beneath me, I think we're okay). I ordered their 'shrimp 2 fait', of which they list the ingredients as 'traditional wrap, shrimp tempura, cucumber, mango, crab mix topping, wasabi mayo, and chili powder'. I've never eaten fruit with my sushi (besides avocado of course), and didn't really want to start, so I substituted the mango for cream cheese, which turned out awesome.

I got my roll, and this time instead of getting miso soup, I elected for the edamame, which turned out to be a wise choice as they gave me so much edammae for a buck that I wasn't even able to finish it. The roll was good. I was kind of suspicious of the wasabi mayo, as I have never had it and was afraid it would fuck up what otherwise sounded like a tasty roll, but the wasabi mayo wasn't bad -- hell, it wasn't much of anything as I didn't even really notice its presence. The crab mix topping continues to delight, and, like last time, I asked them to go easy on the chili powder, so the roll had some heat, but not enough to make me regret not omitting the chili powder entirely. Overall, it was a good roll, and the edamame, for something so cheap and effortless to make, continues to surprise me in its addictiveness (and yes, I know, I said earlier that I didn't finish it, but I got full -- its still addicting though).

(P.S.: I told the sushi-"artist" to hold the mango, because I wanted a coke with my roll and fruit doesn't go well with soda for me. In hindsight, it was probably counter to my purpose of trying something new in telling the sushi-put-together-er to hold the mango. I told myself that I would force myself to try new rolls, but then I cowered and had this novel roll amended to my perceived taste. I should have just had the roll as it was originally intended and drank water instead. My life will never be complete now.)



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

83-e

Maki

10515 N. Mopac Expy, Suite A165
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 243-8298

Head Public Restaurant Critic

7/18/2009

Satisfactory

Went to Maki again, and instead of ordering my usual salmon/cucumber/cream cheese/avocado roll, I tried one of their specials, the spicy crawfish tail roll (traditional wrap/cucumber/avocado/jalapeno/crunchy topping/chili oil & powder).

The roll was good, but also fairly dangerous. Unbeknownst to me, I have a habit of inhaling right before I take a bite of food. I now know this because right as I was about to put a roll piece in my mouth I inhaled a bunch of the "crunchy topping" which immediately went to, stuck to, and irritated the back of my throat and which put me in an uncontrollable coughing fit for a few minutes as I tried to drink coke to wash it all down while struggling not to spit all the coke out when the coughing sporadically, and frequently, returned.

After learning from this initial experience, eating the rest of the roll was a slow and controlled process.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

83-f

Maki

10515 N. Mopac Expy, Suite A165
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 243-8298

Head Public Restaurant Critic

9/26/2009

Satisfactory

There are three things that keep me coming back to Maki.

1.) Sushi. It's kind of sad that I can't go out to eat sushi at real restaurants because I don't know anybody that would want to do that, so instead I have to settle for "fast food" sushi like the kind you get at Maki (which is still real sushi, it's just real sushi at a semi-fast food joint and not real sushi at a real restaurant).

2.) Their specials, which allow me to try something new every visit, of which they did not have this visit. There were no specials on this occasion, so I basically reverted to my 'standard' 'safe' roll that I would get here before I started getting the specials: salmon, cream cheese, avocado, and cucumber (which was good, just not novel).

3.) Their frequent eater card. This is my eighth roll purchase with my card. One more card purchase and my next roll after that is free (right now I'm planning my free roll to be a soft shell crab roll, which is the most expensive on the menu, to maximize my value).

Overall, this visit was kind of sad for me. I realized that I can only eat sushi alone because I have no sushi-loving friends or acquaintances to join me (or acquaintances that I would want to join me) and there were no new specials at Maki on this visit which I always look forward to. On the plus side, I discovered that Maki has a daily happy hour (via one of their notices/promotions on their tables), but on the down side, I forgot what the happy hours were and their website doesn't really have any useful information and I'm too lazy to call them to find out the hours.

Oh well, it at least looks like Maki has two more visits from me in store. Stay tuned.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

83-g

Maki

10515 N. Mopac Expy, Suite A165
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 243-8298

Head Public Restaurant Critic

10/17/2009

Satisfactory

Went to Maki (again) during their happy hour (for the first time) and got myself a Philly roll for a relatively cheap price, I think around four or 5 dollars or so (with edamame and a drink my bill was $7.51).

Several things to note about this visit:

1.) There was a tv on showing a college football game -- either I've never noticed the tv before or it's brand new. Either way, I had a moment of uncertainty, kind of like when you see someone you know sporting a new haircut and you know there is something different about the person but it perplexes you and takes you a while to figure out that it's the haircut; that's what it was like for me at Maki, except it was a tv, not a haircut.

2.) I, as a customer, really don't care about the operations of the restaurant and feel that they shouldn't be transparent to the customer. Case in point, I was eating my Philly roll when all of a sudden a job interview between a Maki manager (presumably) and a job applicant started going on behind me, and I could hear everything they were saying which I did not want to hear because I don't give a shit, but I had to listen to this job interview taking place on the restaurant floor at the table directly behind me because a.) I was too lazy to move, and b.) they couldn't conduct the interview in a more professional setting, like, maybe, I don't know, the back office or something (or maybe one of the outside tables, it was a nice day out after all).

and finally, 3.) This was my ninth visit with my frequent eater card -- next visit: Free Roll!!! Hello Soft Shell Crab!



Matt's El Rancho
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

36

Matt's El Rancho

2613 South Lamar Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78704
(512) 462-9333

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/10/2008

Satisfactory

Matt's El Rancho is a Mex-Tex restaurant, with such menu items as 'frog legs' and 'guacamole enchiladas'. I really wanted to try the frog legs, as it's rare that I get a chance to try them, but the fear of wasting money on a plate I might not like led me to getting the 'guacamole enchiladas', which were just two enchiladas with a scoop of guacamole thrown on top, served with rice and beans. Now, I don't know if it was ignorance on my part or a lack of options on the restaurant's part, but my enchiladas came in Ranchero sauce, which is just a tomato-based almost-spaghetti-like sauce, which is okay, but not my preference, although that didn't stop me from eating my plate.

McDonald's (290)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

23

McDonald's

8500 East Highway 290
Austin, TX 78724-2415

Head Public Restaurant Critic

3/23/2008

Satisfactory

I might be a little bit biased, but I absolutely hate everything about McDonald's. Every time I eat their food I just feel so bad about my life and want to puke it back up. That said, I recently visited a McDonald's for breakfast. Normally for breakfast I just stop by a convenience store and pick up some freshly made breakfast tacos, but on this particular morning there was a weird confluence of multiple factors that led me to eating at McDonald's: 1.) the convenience store's taco stand was closed, 2.) for some strange reason I really wanted pancakes, and 3.) this McDonald's location was very conveniently located to where I was at that moment.

So I went to McDonald's, got 4 pancakes and a large orange juice, and had a decent breakfast. The orange juice tasted watered down, but the pancakes were all right (I guess it is pretty hard to f*ck up pancakes), and I still vow to never eat at a McDonald's again... until I eat there again.


McDonald's (Congress)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

102

McDonald's

3909 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 448-9485

Head Public Restaurant Critic

6/6/2009

Satisfactory

So I woke up today and for some reason I really wanted pancakes, and the easiest way to get pancakes was from McDonald's, so I decided to go to a McDonald's. On the drive to McDonald's I kept salivating about the pancakes I was going to eat and the orange juice I was going to drink, and then I reached my destination and went in and had to wait in line while still thinking all of those glorious thoughts. Then I got to place my order after waiting in line behind some douchebag who was taking forever to order because he was simultaneously on his cell phone and yelling at his mother across the restaurant to see what she wanted, but after that, finally, I got to order my pancakes and orange juice, and thankfully McDonald's filled the order pretty fast. Then I took my order to my table, drank some of the McDonald's orange juice which I had forgotten tasted like water downed Minute Maid, and then I dove into my pancakes which weren't nearly as good as I had imagined them being. This trip to McDonald's was something of a rude awakening.

(BONUS Alternate Review: Once, ONCE, in a blue moon, for no real discernable rhyme or reason, I get a HUGE craving for pancakes from McDonald's, even though I know how horrible they are and how bad I'll feel afterwards... This was a blue moon.)



McDonald's (Interregional)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

50

McDonald's

5355 N Interregional Hwy
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 452-7473?

Head Public Restaurant Critic

6/23/2008
6/24/2008
6/27/2008

Satisfactory

I really despise McDonald's. I don't know what it is that I don't like about them, but for some reason McDonald's just has a poor connotation with me and always leaves a bad taste in my mouth, except when I eat there. I guess McDonald's has just become a symbol of corporate America and the depersonalization that has become the fast food industry. Greed and productivity over health and good eating. I try not to eat at McDonald's but sometimes get suckered in by their one dollar double cheeseburger, which is, all things considered, a great value. I am kind of pissed at the cosmic karma that has, by some stroke of fate, made this McDonald's review the fifthiest Public Restaurant Critic review, which is generally considered a milestone. Oh well. Something had to be review #50, why not McDonald's?

The only reason I'm reviewing McDonald's is because they started putting coupons for free Chicken burgers and biscuits in Amazon packages, which is cool, I'm always up for some free stuff. I had two coupons for free chicken burgers and another two for free chicken biscuits, all of which were set to expire at the end of June 2008. I managed to use three of them.

The chicken burger was alright, but only because it was free. The burger was smaller than I had expected and I would have been pissed off if it had cost more than a dollar because you aren't getting much. The chicken biscuit was alright -- if I ever go to McDonald's for breakfast I could see myself getting one of these for the right price, but I don't plan on going to McDonald's anytime soon.

On both weekdays when I went to go get the chicken burgers I went during the lunch rush and the restaurant was pretty busy and the staff was pretty inefficient. On my first visit, there were three cashiers taking orders and three lines of people waiting to order. I got in one line, but I choose the wrong line because my cashier was slow. The other lines went by pretty fast and started calling people over from my line to get their order, but they were calling people that were behind me, so people that arrived after me got their order taken sooner, which kind of made me tick.

When I finally got to order, I ordered the free chicken burger along with dollar fries and a dollar drink. I ordered a small drink, but by some cosmic karma the cashier gave me a larger cup size, which was cool. I don't know if the cashier did this out of sympathy or incompetency, but I'm betting on the latter.

Overall, McDonald's is okay, but if I never have to eat there again that would be fine by me. At least they don't have tips jars.

P.S. On the bottom of my McDonald's paper bag I found instructions on the proper 'filling' or 'loading' of the bag. I didn't know that people would need instructions on how to put food in a bag (I thought common sense would've taken care of that), but I wonder what this says of corporate McDonald's view of their employees.

First Visit

Second Visit

Third Visit

McDonald's N Lamar
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

65

McDonald's

5516 N Lamar
Austin, TX 78756
no phone number found
Head Public Restaurant Critic

8/29/2008

Satisfactory

I went to a McDonald's recently, although I kind of hate McDonald's, but I had to get my vehicle's state inspection sticker and the guys at the automotive place said the wait would be 45 minutes to an hour (which actually ended up being 5 hours because the guys that work there are idiots), so I decided to walk around the area. I started getting hungry because I hadn't eaten anything at all that day, and lo and behold, there was a McDonald's right across the street (I don't know why I was surprised that there was a McDonald's right across the street since they seem to be everywhere). So I went to the McDonald's shortly before 10:30 in the morning only to find that they were still serving breakfast, so I had to wait 3 minutes for them to change the menus from breakfast to lunch to order a burger. I ordered from the value menu a double cheeseburger, small fries, and a small drink.

The food was alright, but like every other time I have eaten at a McDonald's I felt a little gross afterwards. I don't know why, but eating McDonald's always makes me feel a bit ashamed of myself afterwards, yet I keep going back because their double cheeseburgers are such a great value (in a calories per dollar perspective). The other thing I noticed about this McDonald's was that there were a lot of old people just hanging out. I guess McDonald's is the hip place to be on a Friday morning for the senior citizens.

Mekong River
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

96

Mekong River

215 E. 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 236-8878

Head Public Restaurant Critic

3/29/2009

Satisfactory

Went to Mekong River with a friend for lunch; this restaurant serves Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, which I know basically jackshit about. I threw darts at the menu and ended up choosing the "C4. Double Sensation" consisting of grilled marinated shrimp and sliced pork, because I like shrimp as well as pork.

The food was good. The plate came with "steamed rice, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, pickled carrots, and scallions", which was nice, as well as a sort of dipping or pouring sauce, which was nice as well.

My friend and I ate here on a Saturday afternoon, and, the restaurant being downtown, I'm assuming gets most of its business during the workweek lunch and dinner rushes, because it certainly wasn't getting any business on this Saturday afternoon. I think my friend and I were the only customers in the restaurant, which was kind of eerie, as well as uncomfortable because I think the waiter was staring at us the entire time, and I hate being watched.



Midori
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

63

Midori

13435 Highway 183 Ste 301
Austin, TX 78750-3258
(512) 257-1411
Head Public Restaurant Critic

8/18/2008

Good

I normally go to Shilla Restaurant for sushi because 1.) I've been there a lot and I know what I am getting, 2.) they have good lunch specials, 3.) it's close to where I live, and 4.) it's never busy so I always get a table. I've tried to seek out other sushi restaurants, but for some reason I always seem to stick to Shilla as my default sushi place, mainly because of reasons 3 and 4. Recently I was finally able to eat at Midori (I had been there before, but not for their lunch specials), and I think it might become my new default sushi place.

I've read and heard about Midori's awesome lunch specials from local newspapers and online forums, but I had never had a chance to eat there during their lunch hours, but not for lack of trying. Twice I have visited Midori during their lunch hours, 11am-2:30pm, but they were always busy and the wait was too long, especially for someone eating alone like myself. But, not one to be deterred, on my third attempt to get good sushi at cheap prices I went to Midori during the tail end of their lunch rush -- I went around 2pm and was able to get a seat at the sushi bar with no wait.

I got their 'L9. Sushi Combo B' which consists of '5 pieces of sushi, 8 pieces of tuna roll, and house special roll', in addition to miso soup and a house salad (which had some sort of citric/ginger dressing), all for $8.95. The food was pretty damn good and at a very good price. Now that I know that I can avoid the lunch rush, but still partake in the lunch specials, I think the people at Midori are going to be seeing a whole lot more of me.

Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

63-a

Midori

13435 Highway 183 Ste 301
Austin, TX 78750-3258
(512) 257-1411

Head Public Restaurant Critic

9/2/2008

Satisfactory

Man, I was so excited to go back to Midori after my last great eating experience there, but now, the next time I go there, it's going to be with a bit of hesitation and careful inspection of the menu. On this last trip, I didn't look at the menu close enough and accidentally ordered myself some sashimi.

I ordered the L13, which the menu calls "Sashimi Combo A" and describes as "6 pieces of sashimi, 8 pieces of salmon roll, and house special roll". I saw the "8 pieces of salmon roll" part, but must have glossed over the "6 pieces of sashimi" part as I meant to order something with the “raw fish over rice type of sushi”. I like sushi, but for some reason have never felt the need to try sashimi -- raw fish just by itself never appealed to me much.

So I ordered sashimi by accident but decided to go with the flow and try it out and I discovered that I did not, in fact, as per my original hypothesis, like sashimi after all. They gave me two pieces of tuna, two pieces of salmon, and two pieces of what I assume was scallop, and I did not like them -- it was just too much raw fish in my mouth for me to enjoy. The sashimi was very cold, another aspect I did not like about my sashimi experience. I ended up having to eat a piece of my salmon roll, then stuff a piece of sashimi in my mouth to have something other than just sashimi in my mouth. I sorely missed the rice ball that goes under the raw fish in what we call sushi.

I still like Midori despite my ineptitude I displayed on this visit. Overall, I don't think I'm going to be ordering any sashimi in the near future and I do believe that I'm going to be paying better attention to the menu the next time I frequent Midori.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

63-b

Midori

13435 Highway 183 Ste 301
Austin, TX 78750-3258
(512) 257-1411

Head Public Restaurant Critic

9/16/2008

Good

Phew! After my last visit (the one before this) I was a little afraid of returning to Midori -- I was afraid that I would accidentally order sashimi again. Luckily, this time I paid close attention to the menu and made definitely sure I would not have to relive my previous ordeal of having to eat raw fish just by itself with nothing else to accompany it.

This time I ordered the L12 which the menu describes as "5 pieces of sushi, 8 pieces of rainbow roll, and house special roll". It was good.

One thing that confuses me when I get one of their sushi lunch specials is that they always include 3 pieces of the 'house special roll'. I don't exactly know what the house special roll contains, but I know it is fried and served topped with a sweet/spicy orange sauce. The problem for me is that I do not want the orange sauce to contaminate my soy sauce in its own little dish, so I can't dip those special roll pieces in the soy sauce. Also, I have to make sure that if I switch from eating a special roll piece to eating a piece of sushi not covered in the orange sauce, that the chop sticks are clear of any residual orange sauce, again to not contaminate the soy sauce.

I think I may be over thinking this particular conundrum. Maybe I should not worry about the orange sauce and just let it contaminate everything – let the orange sauce get on everything. Or, I can eat the house special roll last so that I don't have to worry about contaminating the soy sauce for anything else, but I usually like to save the best sushi for last, which, for me, is not the house special roll.

In the end, I guess I can just continue to eat the house special roll first, before I eat anything else on the plate, sans soy sauce. Oh well.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

63-c

Midori

13435 Highway 183 Ste 301
Austin, TX 78750-3258
(512) 257-1411

Head Public Restaurant Critic

10/23/2008

Good

I went again to Midori and ordered the same thing I usually order, the L12, consisting of 5 pieces of sushi, a rainbow row, some pieces of a house special roll, along with salad and miso soup. It was good as usual.

What was unusual about this visit was that my lunch mate and I decided to sit at the sushi bar, right in front of the sushi makers, one of whom decided to strike us up for a conversation. We chatted, but the guy was an older oriental dude and English wasn't his first language, so the conversation was kind of stunted.

What was funny is that my lunch mate had his iPhone out checking the stock market and the sushi maker asked to see it, so my lunch mate gave it to him and the sushi maker spent a good few minutes checking it out while we were eating our sushi. The sushi guy was pretty cool, but I had never had that happen before.

Anyway, Midori was good as usual.



Niki's Pizza
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

25

Niki's Pizza

2025 Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 474-1876

Head Public Restaurant Critic

4/2/2008

Satisfactory

Niki's Pizza is located in the Dobie Mall/Apartment Building right across the street from the University of Texas at Austin. They have ready-made pizza and calzones that you buy per slice/calzone, as well as pastas and salad. The pizza is pretty good -- it's New York style.

This visit I got 2 pepperoni pizza slices and a drink for $5. When you go up to order you can see what type of pizza they have available. When I went up, they had a fresh, uncut pepperoni pizza, and they had 3 leftover slices from a previous pizza. Guess which slices of pizza I got (hint: it wasn't from the fresh, uncut pizza). But, for some reason, the guy taking my order gave me the 3 remaining slices, when I had just ordered 2, so that rocked.


Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

25-a

Niki's Pizza

2025 Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 474-1876

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/28/2010

Satisfactory

Sometimes when I'm near the University of Texas I like to walk to the Dobie Mall and get something to eat (subconsciously reliving my college days). I normally get a calzone from Niki's Pizza, but today I decided to mix it up and go to Hoa Hoa, a Chinese and Vietnamese place. I've only been to Hoa Hoa once, and although I liked it and want to go back desperately, the place is always full during the lunch hour, but this being the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, I was hoping that there wouldn't be much of a crowd. I was wrong.

So, I had to go somewhere else in the mall to eat. Although I like Niki's Pizza, I wanted to try something else, and there are at least two other ethnic places to eat at the mall. Unfortunately, one of them is right next to Niki's Pizza, so when I tried to go look at their menu, I got interrupted by the Niki's Pizza guy asking me what I wanted... and I didn't want to break his heart, so I ended getting something at Niki's Pizza -- the dude trapped me like a bug in a spider web.

I ended up getting one of their specials -- a pepperoni calzone and drink for five bucks even. The calzone was decent, but one of the things that annoys me is that the drink comes in a cup that's on the smaller side of things, and they fill it with ice and they charge half a dollar for refills, so I had to ration my intake of Pepsi (or Coke, I can't remember what they had) because I don't think they'd let me put 50 cents on my credit card for a refill.

Maybe I'll eat at Hoa Hoa next time (if I'm lucky) because, as far as I understand, they have free refills.



Nutty Brown Cafe
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

69

Nutty Brown Cafe

12225 Highway 290 West
Austin, TX 78737
(512) 301-4648

Head Public Restaurant Critic

10/11/2008

Good

So, I went to Nutty Brown Cafe on an overcast Saturday morning after attending a Pagan 'Hand-holding' ceremony -- I'm not Pagan, but some friends of mine are, so I get to experience some aspects of that culture. I would tell you about the 'hand-holding' ceremony, but I can't because I missed all 15 minutes of it because I got lost for an hour and couldn't find the remote location in south Austin in the middle of nowhere that my friends had chosen for the occasion.

Also, the plan was originally for everybody to meet up at Waterloo Ice House afterwards for breakfast/brunch/lunch, but apparently there was a big UT Longhorn game that was going to be airing at the same time, and as the Waterloo Ice House is practically a sports bar, the establishment could not guarantee sitting for a party of pagans (and me) that would most likely have no interest in college football during probably one of the most important games of the season to date, so we essentially got kicked out of the Waterloo Ice House before we even had a chance to go there.

So, since the ceremony was in the middle of nowhere, my friends found a restaurant also in the middle of nowhere that wasn't the Waterloo Ice House for us to meet at afterwards, which is how I ended up at the Nutty Brown Cafe, which was actually a pretty cool place, with a sizable stage area in the back (I assume a lot of bands play there because the walls were decorated with band posters and other promotional materials).

The food was pretty good. We were a big party, but my table as a collective entity ordered some dips for appetizers including a spinach artichoke dip along with some queso plus guacamole and pico de gallo. For my entree I had the 'cedar valley smothered chicken', which their online menu describes as "our grilled chicken breast smothered with onions, peppers, avocado, bacon and monterey jack". The chicken was good, but I was a bit disappointed to find my chicken wasn't buried in avocado as the use of the word 'smothered' had led me to believe.

As part of my entree I was eligible for two side items, from which I decided upon the fried okra (because it's not often that I eat at restaurants that actually serve fried okra) and the queso home fries (out of curiosity because I was not sure what this side item would entail -- imagine my surprise when I found that it consisted of fried potatoes in a bowl covered with liquid cheese; it was pretty awesome). The side items, like the main entree and appetizer dips beforehand, were pretty good.

I like Nutty Brown.



Oishi
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

135

Oishi

2025 Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX 78705

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/28/2010

Satisfactory

Went back to the Dobie Mall for dinner (after having had lunch there; see review 25-a) at Oishi where I got some good sushi. Whenever I rate sushi, I factor in price, and this sushi was cheaply priced (I went during their happy hour and paid $2.40 for a salmon roll and $3.50 for a "Longhorn" roll (salmon, cream cheese, and avocado in a tempura fried roll)), and, although I've had a lot better sushi elsewhere, I've hardly had it this cheaply, so, for me, it's good sushi (supermarket sushi being on the bad end of the cheap sushi spectrum, for comparison).


Olive Garden
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

87

Olive Garden

3940 S Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 440-0131

Head Public Restaurant Critic

1/25/2009

Satisfactory

Some friends and I decided to hit up an Olive Garden for lunch on a Sunday to get their all-you-can-eat soup, salad, and breadsticks. We debated if we should order entrees, because you get limitless breadsticks and salad (not sure about the soup) with a entree, which you can take home whole after filling up on the free breadsticks and salad, essentially getting two meals for one. I thought the entree option was a bit overkill, so I just went with the limitless soup, salad, and breadsticks.

The breadsticks: The breadsticks were breadsticks, not my favorite breadsticks ever, but they were decent.

The salad: Olive Garden has possibly the best salad I've ever had from a restaurant. I love their salad dressing, to the point that I used to buy bottles of it years ago. (I'm not sure if they still sell it or not).

The soup: I had two bowls of soup -- I really wanted to try all of their soups, but somehow I got prematurely stuffed. My first bowl was the 'Pasta e Fagioli' which has "white and red beans, ground beef, tomatoes and pasta in a savory broth". It was good. My second bowl was the 'Zuppa Toscana' which has "spicy sausage, russet potatoes and cavolo greens in a creamy broth": my lunch-mates really liked this soup and recommended it to me, but I wasn't that impressed with it. It wasn't creamy enough, it was too salty, and the skin of the potatoes were left on which for some reason annoyed me.

Overall, it was a good meal, but be forewarned that if you go to an Oliver Garden on a Sunday afternoon there are going to be a lot of old people rocking their wheelchairs and strollers, at least that was what it was like on this visit.



Papa John's
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

52

Papa John's

1201 Barbara Jordan Blvd. Suite #1280
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 302-9292

Head Public Restaurant Critic

6/28/2008

Good

As far as chain/franchise pizza places go, I think Papa Johns is one of the better ones. The pizzas are generally good and they give you a little thing of garlic as well as a little pepper. I decided to get a pizza because I had a coupon for a large one topping pizza for $6.99 (I got pepperoni). Cool thing about pizza is that if you don't eat it all, you can always save it for later. I think this pizza lasted me three meals.


Pei Wei
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

49

Pei Wei

1000 East 41st Suite
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 382-3860

Head Public Restaurant Critic

6/21/2008

Satisfactory

I went to Pei Wei, an Asian diner, and it was alright. A lunch mate of mine got an order of crab wontons, which are pretty good. I really didn't know what I wanted to eat, so I got their Lo Mein noodles with chicken, consisting of, according to their online menu, "rice wine garlic sauce, scallion, onion, bean sprouts, shiitake mushroom, carrot, egg noodles". According to me, I got a bowl of noodles with stuff thrown in it for $6.75. The food was good I guess, but I just didn't feel I got my money's worth.

Head Public Restaurant Critic's Arch-Nemesis trying to blow my cover (If you see him on the streets, kick him in the balls for me).

Pizza Patron
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

97

Pizza Patron

7112 Ed Bluestein Blvd, Suite #175
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 928-9700

Head Public Restaurant Critic

4/11/2009

Satisfactory

One day I came home and found one of those flyers solicitors leave hanging on your front door, and normally when I see one of these, or any type of flyer, I'm immediately reminded of the Mitch Hedberg joke about a person passing out flyers, "Here, you throw this away." Anyway, this time the flyer got my eye, and it got my eye because it was about cheap pizza. The flyer was from Pizza Patron and they were advertising a medium pizza with unlimited toppings for $6, and I was like, "I've got to try this out".

Cut to a few weeks later when I finally remembered about the deal, and in a battle in my head deciding whether to go to Taco Bell and get their dollar nachos (with guacamole included) or to try out a pizza from Pizza Patron, my desire to have leftovers available throughout the next week struck the killing blow to Taco Bell and I made a call to Pizza Patron to place my order, but not before doing my homework on the franchise's internet website.

On the Pizza Patron website anchovies are listed as an available ingredient, for a small extra charge. Now, I've never had anchovies, but I've always wanted to try them, but I've never wanted to try them on something expensive, so, since I'm ordering a cheap pizza, I decided that this was the perfect venue to pop by proverbial anchovy cherry. Metaphorically, I got all horny at the prospect of finally trying anchovies. But, you can imagine my utter disappointment when I was phoning in my order only to be told that the location I was ordering from did not have anchovies; it was metaphorically akin to having blue balls.

I ended up ordering a pizza with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, and black olives. And you know what, the pizza tasted about how I expected a six dollar pizza to taste. It wasn't the worst pizza I've ever tasted (sorry Mr. Gatti's), but it's down near the bottom. The pizza dough was wet and soggy, and the cheese was weird, like as if Pizza Patron uses real low grade cheese. But, I still ate all of that motherfucker, and the sad part is is that I'll probably go back. Six dollar unlimited topping pizzas are a double-edged sword; on the one hand, it tastes like a six dollar pizza, but, on the other hand, it costs six dollars, and I'm a cheap motherfucker.

I am a cheap motherfucker, and I've never understood the choice between carry out or delivery. For me, I always carry out, because delivery costs extra money, which I don't like spending. Now, I'm persistently cheap and broke, but I'm not the only one. As I was walking out of the Pizza Patron with my pizza in hand, a scrawny black guy came up to me and asked if I had an extra quarter for the bus; I told him "no" because I didn't, but even if I did have a quarter I still think I would have said "no" because these are tough economic times for all of us, myself included. I was also fearing that the dude was gonna ask for a slice pizza, in which case I would have lied and probably said that the pizza box I was carrying was empty. Luckily, the dude didn't ask for a slice of the shitty, but cost-effective, pizza I was carrying.



Pluckers
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

10

Pluckers

2222 Rio Grande
Austin, Texas 78705
phone: 512-469-WING

Head Public Restaurant Critic

2/14/2008

Sucks!

A friend of mine recently wanted to go out to eat at ‘Pluckers’, a place I really don’t care for, but I decided to go anyway. After the visit, I can affirm that I really really don’t care for it.

First, the ‘Pluckers’ we visited is the one next to the UT campus and, since my last visit, they have remodeled and moved locations by like 30 yards. The night we went, two guys from some radio station were broadcasting live from the restaurant…,and they were annoying. It was some UT sports radio program and they had the guys on speakers throughout the restaurant, talking about stuff I didn’t care for but was forced to listen to just because they were broadcast through the entire restaurant. Why anybody would want to broadcast a radio show from inside a restaurant or why a restaurant would want a radio show to be broadcast from their location is beyond me, but oh well, that’s strike one.

Strike two happened when we got our food. I ordered a combo of 10 wings and waffle fries and my dinner-mate ordered a chicken sandwich, but he got chicken tenders or fingers or whatever snappy name ‘Pluckers’ calls them, but either way, they weren’t what he had ordered. When we alerted our waiter to this, we got strike three.

Strike three – The waiter apologized for the mistake and gave us some queso and chips for free. But, as the waiter was taking away the chicken tenders, my dinner-mate asked him that if they were just going to throw the chicken tenders in the trash, why not just leave them for us on the table and not waste food. The waiter responded that the food was going to come out of his paycheck and that we was going to use the chicken tenders as his meal for the night (I guess they get a free or discounted meal every shift). My dinner-mate and I felt a little sorry for him that he was going to have to eat the food he erroneously served us, but there really was nothing we could do. I felt even more pity as I could see him in the back putting the chicken tenders in a to-go box for himself. It really was an awkward moment.

Overall, I kind of hate ‘Pluckers’, especially this location. The food’s unhealthy and overpriced and the entire wait staff seems like they’re high on drugs – our waiter certainly seem to be high, as he was slow, un-attentive, and just generally space-y, not to mention that he couldn’t even get our order right, and we were just a party of two.

For some reason, people seem to like ‘Pluckers’ and I don’ understand why. Every time I go there I end up feeling grossed out with myself coming out because it is so unhealthy, not to mention I also feel raped of my money because it is so over-priced.

The sad part is that I want to say that I will never eat there again, but I would be lying. Eventually, I’ll be hanging out with friends and someone will want to go eat there and I’ll be dragged along. Oh well.

The Wrong Dish

Pluckers (Research Blvd)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

78

Pluckers

9070 Research Blvd. Suite 201-C
Austin, TX 78758
512-533-WING (9464)

Head Public Restaurant Critic

11/8/2008

Satisfactory

So I keep saying that I hate Pluckers yet I keep going back (actually, this was only my second visit to Pluckers in 2008), why? Because other people like Pluckers. I had family in town and they wanted to eat somewhere where they could also watch whatever college football games were big that day (this was on a Saturday), so we ended up going to Pluckers, which is known for having big screen tv's to screen all of the sports action on any given day (including probably at the end of the world).

So we went to Pluckers, it was packed with UT fans (I being in Austin and all), and everybody seemed to be yelling and in some sort of frenzied state whenever a big play was made or something -- it got to be rather annoying after a while.

As for the food, I ended up ordering two flavors of wings, buffalo mild and lemon pepper. The buffalo wings were alright, not great or anything. The lemon pepper kind of sucked, they were all try and hard.

I also ordered some jalapeno poppers as an appetizer, but didn't eat them as an appetizer because the dipshits that work there brought them with our entrees, making it physically and temporally impossible to eat the jalapeno poppers before our main course was brought to us. I know calling the people that work at Pluckers dipshits might be a broad generalization and probably isn't in good taste, but fuck it, this was my second visit to Pluckers in '08 and I've had questionable service on both occasions. Pluckers is 0-2 with me for '08, so calling the people that work at Pluckers dipshits is not a broad generalization, but rather a valid opinion based on my own empirical observations and experience.

So what did I learn from this visit to Pluckers:

Sports fans are such religious zealots they scare me in their blind devotion to something they have no control over (i.e., yelling louder at the tv won't make your favorite team play any better).

The food at Pluckers is so overpriced I feel like I'm being raped while clogging my arteries -- it was almost like a double attempted suicide on my part, agreeing to eat there and all.

Pluckers employees are dipshits.

Oh, and about their jalapeno poppers... they were delicious. They were awesome, and they came with some sort of strawberry chutney sauce that was equally delightful.

Overall, Pluckers sucks, but their awesome jalapeno poppers saved them from getting a 'Sucks' rating this time.



Pluckers (South Lamar)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

117

Pluckers

3909 South Lamar
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 443-WING (9464)

Head Public Restaurant Critic

10/14/2009

Satisfactory

'Pluckers' is not one of my favorite places to eat at, but some of my friends wanted to go for trivia night, so whatever. I had their 10 wing plus side (waffle fries for me) combo for $9.99, which seems a bit overpriced, but whatever. I decided to splurge and pay a premium to get two wing flavors (five and five): I elected for the buffalo mild and lemon pepper flavors. I don't foresee myself ever ordering the lemon pepper again. As for the buffalo mild flavor, I'm a pussy when it comes to heat in the foods I eat: I like a bit of heat in some of my foods, but not the stupid heat that ruins a dining experience.

As for the trivia component of our night: Pluckers trivia is hard, in part because it’s so nitpicky, but I guess that is what trivia is, nitpicky. They had eight rounds with ten questions each, one topic per a round. One of the rounds was 'Shaun of the Dead' trivia which I thought I was going to kick ass at, but no, I sucked, because I couldn't remember shit like the croquet bat being Shaun's weapon of choice or Shaun leaving a candy bar in his step-father's car's glove-compartment. But oh well. My team was one spot away from placing in the top three, and I know that there were at least five teams competing, so at least we didn't come in last.

Overall, the food was meh, the trivia was meh, but Pluckers did have 34 ounce mugs of Dos Equis for five dollars before 7pm and $6.50 afterwards, that's kinda good, right? Whatever.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

117-a

Pluckers

3909 South Lamar
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 443-WING (9464)

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/12/2010
5/7/2010

Sucks!

Fuck me, I found myself at Pluckers again. I don't really like Pluckers -- in fact, I down right hate it. The food ain't that great, the service sucks, and the employees are probably the dumbest I've ever encountered. Still, despite all of that negatively, I thought to myself, "This time might be better..." SPOILER ALERT: It wasn't.

So anyway, I came to Pluckers to celebrate a friend's graduation. We met at the restaurant at seven, it was packed so we had to wait in the bar, where I drank a $5, 34 ounce mug of Bud Light as my appetizer. At a restaurant, this is actually a good deal, but goddamnit that's a lot of beer to drink before it gets warm. STRIKE ONE.

We finally get seated and we order after a bit. I just had wings this past weekend, so I'm in the mood for something different, so I get a fried chicken breast sandwich, which comes with a side, of which I choose to pay an extra half dollar to upgrade to substitute for the macaroni and cheese. The macaroni and cheese was pretty good, so I give the restaurant props for that, but... When the waitress took my order she asked whether I wanted white or wheat buns for my sandwich, and I specified white, but what do I get??? Wheat. STRIKE TWO.

Also going on at the restaurant this night was "trivia night," where people play in teams and answer trivia questions -- my table and I were one such team. The trivia game would have been better if the questions hadn't been so retarded. One of the questions was, paraphrased, "In the premiere episode of the tv show 'FlashFoward', how long did the blackout last?" My first impression was "What the fuck? Nobody watches that show, and, in fact, it just got canceled mere days ago." Seriously, from all the talk I read online, this is one shit show. And to make matters worse, my mind starts thinking of all the connections this show has. I start remembering how one of the creators of this tv show (which is based on a novel) is Brannon Fuckin' Braga. Braga started his career writing for "Star Trek: The Next Generation", where he was pretty decent (he co-wrote the last episode of the series, 'All Good Things...', and the second TNG film, "First Contact", as well as the frist TNG film, "Generations", which I'd rather forget about) but when TNG ended Braga moved over to "Star Trek: Voyager", where, thanks to a high producer turnover, he rose through the ranks to become executive producer and showrunner/head writer, where, it seems, he did his best to drive this promising show into the ground. I was a die hard Trekkie up till "Voyager", which I just couldn't watch anymore past season 4 or 5. Then, after "Voyager" ended, Braga then co-created "Enterprise", which further raped and bitch-slapped the Star Trek franchise and, for all intents and purposes, killed it until it was resurrected by J. J. Abrams in the lastest film, which was a sequel/prequel/reboot, and which was flashly and all, but with little substance, but it got people excited about "Star Trek" and all, so I guess I should be grateful or something. But I digress. Mr. Braga is someone who makes me mad and physically upset whenever I think about him, so I want to say thanks to the crew of Pluckers for having a "FlashForward" question in their trivia night. Thanks. STRIKE THREE.

So yeah, Pluckers sucks. Don't eat there.

Also, another thing that pissed me off was there was this employee, a short, skinny, blonde, white girl who was just walking back and forth in the same 5-foot stretch near the back of the restaurant. I didn't see her do anything except pace back and forth watching everybody. Maybe she was a supervisor, but to me she was damn creepy. Creepy white girls. STRIKE FOUR.




Contact: HeadPublicRestaurantCritic AT gmail DOT com