Monday, July 15, 2013

Out & About: Epicerie Cafe & Grocery

Amy usually handles the restaurant reviews but she has tasked me with our most recent experience.  I believe this is her way of saying "you need to start pulling your blogger weight darling".  Point taken.

On Saturday night, Amy and I met some friends at Epicerie Cafe & Grocery for a relatively early dinner.  I had driven by the establishment a few times in the past.  It was an old hair salon, and for those that know me you know I had to research that tidbit since well you know, I am bald and all.  It is a converted home in the Rosedale neighborhood in Austin.  Amy and I had decided to add it to our "must try" list so the timing was perfect when our friends suggested dinner last Saturday.

On an aside, we much prefer a quaint, neighborhood establishment over a chain any day.  We will go out of our way to avoid most chains, if not all chains.  Epicerie cafe & Grocery fit the bill for our quaint, local eatery.

The Holland House: Epicerie Austin

We arrived a bit early since we heard that it can get crowded and there is not a plethora of seating.  It also doubles as a grocery, more on that in a moment.  The design work was done by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture so I was anxious to see what they had done with the space.  The interior is very inviting and obviously my attention was immediately drawn to the floor.  They had refurbished the existing oak strip floors and stained them a cool, pastel gray color.  Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a picture of the floors.  Amy and I immediately fell in love with the copper pendant lights above the tables.

The Holland House: Copper Pendant Lampshades

 {Photo by Room Fu}

As I mentioned, Epicerie is also a grocery that features select fine foods, wines, beers and cheese. They had us at cheese!  We selected a bottle of Bourdeaux Blanc Jean Medeville to start. It is counter service so we proceeded to the counter to have them assist us with a cheese pairing.  With guidance, we selected two sheep cheeses from Spain as well as some blackberry jam and baguette.  Another aside, if you are looking for a great summer wine that is not too overwhelmingly fruity, I would suggest that bottle.

The Holland House: Epicerie Austin Menu

The New Orleans/French inspired menu features a variety of seasonal and farm to table options. For our entrees, I selected the shaved lamb sandwich while Amy selected the BLT and Tots.  Her sandwich featured house made, thick bacon served on top of fresh focaccia bread slathered with house made mayonnaise, and served with fresh tater tots.  My lamb was cooked to perfection and served on ciabatta bread topped with a cucumber yogurt sauce that I would drink all on its own.  I would have taken a picture but I would have had to put down the sandwich, so yeah it was good.  Everything tasted fresh and was well presented. 

Our friends ordered the Fried Oyster sandwich with bits of fried pork belly and jalapeño, and also the tri tip steak served with a side of the most amazing grilled okra.  While they keep slapping my hand away as I tried to steal their food we did not sample their dishes, I do know they must have enjoyed as much as we did as there was not a scrap of food left on their plates.  

No dinner with our friend Tony would ever be complete without a dessert of some kind.  We were all stuffed but he ordered a salted chocolate chip cookie.  Shockingly, there were mixed reviews at the table about the cookie simply because three of the four at the table prefer warm, soft cookies.  I was the oddball, go figure.  It was loaded with chocolate chips and was not very "cakey" like the others prefer. 

So if you are in the Rosedale 'hood or just looking for a new, local establishment to try, we would suggest you give this gem a try.  just don't tell too many people about it so we can still get a table. 

Cheers till next time!

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