Mettle - Liked the decor. Memorable dishes included deconstructed beef tongue tacos and an interesting watermelon appetizer. Hope to see more from this place.
Arro - Everything was good but nothing memorable. Irked that there was a charge to bread and butter especially with mains that exceeded $30. Feels like its undecided in its identity as a true French Brasserie or a more eclectic destination restaurant.
Barlata - IMO the best Tapas I have had in Austin. Is it going to be comparable to Spain? no. But I salut its willingness to put pigs feet and squid ink and morcilla on the menu. The squid stuffed with fennel sausage in a squid ink sauce was fantastic. I hope lots of people order these more adventurous offerings so that they stay on the menu. The availability of drinking wine through porrons also really help transport one away from Austin.
The Dojo - disappointed. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried to compare it to Raku in Vegas but there needs to be a lot more work put in to the food and a few of the dishes such as the grilled eggplant dish was pretty much inedible. I did enjoy the ankimo as well as the steamed clams in Sake but the misses missed so much that it marred the overall experience.
Benji's Cantina - On the pricy side for mexican food but why should Mexican food have to be inexpensive to be good? Thought $40 for a pound of fajitas is really steep but was able to get a half pound and would have to say that it was enough meat at half a pound. It was damn good. Tender as can be and robust with flavor. Perhaps needs a slightly lighter hand with the salt. The Pork adobodos was also delicious with good texture and a deep depth of flavor. I entered the place expecting to hate it as another spot catering to well dressed cougars looking for a quart sized margarita but I went away pleasantly surprised.
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