Sunday, April 17, 2011

Jeffrey's - Austin, TX

My Lovely Wife Mrs. Gordo is headed out of town tomorrow, so we decided to take the opportunity to get a really nice dinner at a really good price by taking advantage of Jeffrey's "reverse" happy hour on Saturday night.  From 9-11pm on Saturdays (and 5-7pm on all other days), the bar menu at Jeffrey's is half price, and you can sample some of their fantastic food for relatively cheap.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Jeffrey's, it is one of the nicest restaurants in Austin, and is the quintessential high-end neighborhood restaurant.  Literally, it's next door to houses.  The atmosphere is very, very nice, and homey.  When you walk in the door, you feel like you're in a house, with the main room containing the bar having carpeted floors and a classy, but completely unpretentious, feel to it.

The bar is nice sized, with probably around ten stools, and is a good place to belly up and visit with your date, your spouse, the bartenders and the other patrons.  As for the bartenders, they really know their stuff, both on wine and on spirits.

I was already a bit out of place with my flip flops (though I did at least wear pants and a nice shirt), so I opted not to embarrass MLWMG any further by taking pictures.  But, I certainly wanted to show you all the great food we got, so I took a shot at drawing it on the computer, and think I really nailed it.

We decided just to split a few things from the bar menu, which had some really great options on it ranging from a cheese plate, to squid, to quail to their burger, all of which sounded innovative and fantastic.

We started with an appetizer of Burrata with Crostini, which is the famous very soft, almost runny, Italian cheese.  As creamy as it gets.  They put this on a bed of crushed and roasted beets, which were actually quite tasty and almost tasted a bit like red cabbage while retaining the signature earthiness of the beets.  On top of this was mint and watercress, drizzled with a light sherry vinegar, which added needed acidity to the mellow flavors of the overall dish.  The crostini were served fresh from the oven, and all in all, the dish was a great way to start the meal, and despite it's lightness, went very well with the northern Rhone wine we were having.
The burger, which I have been wanting to have for quite a while, was every bit as good as I thought it might be, and then some.  On a normal night, this is a $20 burger that is served with their pommes frites (french fries, freedom fries, whatever, they were Wendy's-sized, very tasty and served with a malt vinegar aioli and a spicy curry ketchup), but on this night it was just $10.  It is not a gutbuster by any means, and is an incredibly flavorful house ground mixture of dry-aged beef and lamb, served on house-made brioche with red romaine lettuce, and grilled Maui onions.  You have the option of adding cheddar cheese, bacon and foie gras to it, which we took them up on, save for the foie gras.  The burger was incredibly flavorful, and I highly recommend getting the bacon on it, which adds a very likable smokiness to the richness of the meat.  The burger was juicy, the bun was soft, and the flavors worked together unbelivably.  This is one of the best gourmet burgers I've had, and is a must at Jeffrey's happy hour.
It's also served with a homemade coarse grain mustard, which was fantastic, but I didn't think the burger needed it, so I just ate the mustard by itself.  

We had the sommelier recommend a red to us that would go with the burger, and he brought us a bottle of a Crozes-Hermitage, which was dry, earthy, and hit the spot.  As for the wines, they have a nice range, both by the bottle and the glass, and I was happy to see that had we opted for a glass of wine, we could have chosen a couple with a price tag under that of our meal.  There is just something fundamentally wrong with the other way.


Atmosphere:  upscale restaurant, great bar, homey feel, dressy

Food:  upscale American

Dog Friendly:  no

When to Go:  happy hour, dinner

Crowd:  sophisticos, older, regulars, neighbors

What to Order for the First Timer:  happy hour burger with cheddar and bacon

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