I’m a passionate food lover who loves fine dining. There’s not much I love more than a five star meal and top-notch service. The problem is sometimes that level of quality comes with a bit of pretentiousness and snobbery. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I feel grandiose and high falutin’. Every now and then I like white-gloved service and the crumbs scraped from my table. I enjoy listening as the sommelier explains that the nose of the wine I’ve selected screams black currants, opening up to a taste of grilled cherries and has the nice earthy tones of melted licorice. I may give a side eye but I still enjoy the description. But seriously, while it can be fun to get into being bad and boujee , that’s not the experience I’m looking to have 90% of the time I choose to eat at a restaurant.
I’m all about the food and none of the ‘tude. Fortunately for me Austin being the laid back city that it is , I’ve been able to have that experience pretty often. For me ambience and vibe, both of the staff and of the other people dining play a role in whether or not I choose to return for another dining experience. Don’t frown up at me when I ask for hot sauce on an already “heavily spiced” dish, we all have our own heat index. Don’t try to up sell my date by saying “I’m sure the lady would like______”, it’s sexist and you don’t know me like that. And please do not look appalled when I ask you to refill the bread basket, we’re not ALL carb-phobic Sharon!
Here are a few of the places where I’ve had a fancy meal sans pretentiousness.
- Uchi I never get a weird look when I just point to what I want on the menu rather than butcher the Japanese pronunciation, in fact I’ve gotten help with proper pronunciation from the wait staff. There is always a chill vibe even when you show up without reservations and have to wait an hour for a table and the food is top-notch.
- Hudson’s Hill Country – The food is delectable and the menu is creative with a focus on wild game. Chicken fried antelope or Wild Boar lollipops anyone? There is plenty to choose from for less adventurous eaters and the vibe is rustic and mellow.
- Cafe`Josie– All you can eat chef’s tasting menu. That’s all I’m sayin’. $25 for brunch and $45 for dinner allows you to experience the chefs finely curated selection of small plates. The vibe is relaxed and elegant and the service is friendly.
- Odd Duck– My personal favorite. The menu changes often, the food is always incredibly fresh and the dishes are unique. The wait staff has a great knowledge of the menu and can be trusted to make recommendations. The food always leaves my taste buds joyful and the experience is pleasant every time.