Sunday, February 3, 2013

Red's Porch - Austin, TX

Not sure why, but every time I drive by Red's Porch, my first thought is a vision in my head of Sam Elliott calmly stating, "I'm Red, and this here is my porch", while welcoming guests with a sweep of the arm and a crooked smile.

My second thought is always, "damnit all does that place ever look like a Citibank".

Well, to those who know, Red's is actually BEHIND the bank.  Probably not hard to figure out, but just thought I'd clarify.

As far as atmosphere goes, this place is tops.  A two story, indoor-outdoor structure with a fantastic second level bar and porch with an even better view of the canyon-like Greenbelt with a distant view of the hills of Westlake.  Put simply, this is a small slice of vacation lake life without the lake.  It beats a drive out to Lake Travis when you're just looking for that feeling, some food, and some drinks on a nice day, and want to avoid the crowds and the scantily-but-should-be-clad boaters stopping in for some more beer at Hula Hut or Abel's on the Lake (both great spots though in their own right).  

My good friend Spike and I stopped in for a quick burger and beer yesterday after a muni round on a beautiful February day.  High hopes for the atmosphere, and tempered hopes of a great burger, we were both pleasantly surprised by all, and had a great time.

I opted for the Manimal, upgraded for grass-fed, natural beef, topped with grilled onions, cheddar, swiss and homemade Thousand Island, and Spike opted for the Smokey Goat burger, topped with "deep" smoked bacon, fried onions, and goat cheese.  And then we did what two dudes normally don't do in a public setting, we cut those suckers in half and traded so we could try each of them.  In the name of reviewing.  Glad we did.

Both very good.  The grass-fed natty patty on the Manimal had a rich, moist, and beefy flavor, complemented nicely by sweet, carmelized onions.  I'd have liked some more tang from the Thousand Island to balance the onions, as it erred toward the sweet side, though was well prepared and very good.

(picture a half pound burger on a sourdough bun with grilled onion, cheddar, swiss, and 1000 island here)

The Smokey Goat was excellent.  Bacon was as advertised and cooked perfectly.  Not crumbly and not chewy.  Thin sliced and fried onions provided a crunch and sweetness, which balanced perfectly with the soft, tangy goat cheese.  Smokey, sweet, salty, tangy, beefy.  A great combination of flavor.

Fries came with both, and while not mind blowing, were pretty good.  A bit on the cool side, and clearly just fried once, they came well seasoned with flaky kosher salt.  Dipped in a self-made-at-the-table hot sauce laced ketchup, or the side of cilantro mayo that I ordered, they rounded out the meal, as did my Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap Pils, which was just one of a large list of local, domestic and import brews available for the taking.

This is a laid back, very Austin, perfect atmosphere, where you can spend countless hours on a nice afternoon drinking beer, a decent glass of wine, or a cocktail, keeping any worries the past week may have brought, or the current week may bring, far, far away.

Sometimes you eat the bar, and...well...sometimes the bar eats you.  I'm good with either.  And this is the right bar.


Atmosphere:  relaxing lakeside bar just without the lake but fantastic views, laid back, outdoor seating, sit outside

Food:  burgers, sandwiches, home-cooking and Tex-Mex. you feel like it, you got it.

Crowd:  goooooood looooookin', young, old, beachy, swimsuits, tank tops, bare feet, canine, large groups, small groups, hotchicks, hipsters, and starving artists

When to Go:  any afternoon when the weather is nice, brunch on the weekends

What to Order:  whatever you feel like, you're there for the the atmosphere, the company, and the beer

Dog Friendly:  absolutely, they'll have lots of friends

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