Im a native Texan who has recently moved to Austin after many good years on the East Coast (Boston and Brooklyn). Though this is my first post, Ive been following the board since I decided to move here. Thanks for all your guidance in navigating Austins culinary landscape.
Wink was highly recommended here and in other places, but a friend and I just had dinner there last night and found it unimpressive. The scallop appetizer and the baby bibb salad were fine, though not spectacular. The entrées were another storythe crispy duck breast was soggy and the accompanying lentils overcooked, while the lamb was just passable. The cheese plate featured cheese that was much too cold; plus, serving two blues out of four cheeses suggests a lack of imagination. I was particularly disappointed with the flourless chocolate cake. The chocolate tasted like hot-fudge sauce instead of good dark chocolate. Overall, I found the prices high (for Austin) and the portions small, which would have been forgivable had the meal been properly cooked and/or more flavorful. Wink is friendly, inviting, and has an interesting organic menu, yet the food was ultimately not satisfying.
So, what I want to know is: Is Wink still among the best restaurants in Austin? Is it known more for the atmosphere than the food? Or has the place recently gone downhill? In the coming weeks I plan to try Vespaio, Aquarelle, Café Josie, and Jeffreys (though several posts have suggested that I may be underwhelmed at the latter). How do these restaurants compare to Wink?
Though I miss the local restaurant scene in Park Slope (especially Tempo, Al di Là, Blue Ribbon), not to mention NYC, I have had some good local chow. I liked the Bee Cave Bistro (the quiche and soup combo); the Eastside Café (the fish special and that tasty cherry cobbler); the Broken Spoke (CFS); Shady Grove (the chocolate icebox pie); Cipollina (the gorgonzola-bacon pizza hit the spot, though theres something off with their crust). Ive also had really mediocre or downright bad meals at Suzis China Grill (including their eggplant dish); Green Mesquite; the Frisco Shop (burgers onlydidnt try the pie); Huts Hamburgers; and Hyde Park Bar & Grill (not a fan of battered fries).
Any feedback you could give me would be greatly appreciated.