|Austin has so many dining options that it can often be overwhelming. How many times do you sit in your car or at your house and say "Where do you wanna eat?" If you are like us, you probably have the standard go to spots, that you end up at more often than not out of HABIT. That is all well and good if you are in the mood for something specific and all in the mood for the same thing! We have our favorite burger places, our favorite Italian place, our favorite Downtown places, etc but recently we have found a place that is an all encompassing spot great for couple or groups of friends!|
While doing research for our capitol metro rail blog, we stumbled on Moonshine Grill. Aside from being in a fantastic location on Red River and just blocks from the rail line, the food is really good! The restaurant is set in a beautiful, historic building, and it is an incredibly inviting setting. The patio was enclosed and warmed by a fire when we went for our dinner review last Saturday night, but it is also an airy and bright location perfect for brunch or cocktails at happy hour! Speaking for happy, let us getting on to what we tried!
Our waiter, Kyle, showed us to a cozy table in the busy restaurant. On each table is a quaint little bucket filled with popcorn, Donnie is immediately happy when there is food to eat on the table while he waits on the appetizer, so far so good! We ordered Homemade potato chips to start which arrived promptly, served with warm sour cream dip. The chips were not greasy, they were light, crunchy, and perfectly salted. I normally do not like anything with sour cream, but to my surprise this was a tart dip that I really enjoyed. What I enjoyed even more, was my Cucumber Cosmo Maritini that arrived at the same time. This is a very CRISP drink with Orange and Cranberry juices, and cucumber lime vodka. It was strong, but really tasty. I can imagine this drink being liquid perfection on a hot Summer day in Texas and I fully intend to go back and try it under those circumstances!
I ordered the Half Smoked Chicken with homemade, spicy Dr Pepper Barbecue sauce. It arrived with fresh squash, zucchini, carrots. Ordering smoked chicken is always a risk, since it is often too dry. This chicken was definitely not dry! It was beautifully prepared and presented. The basket of jalapeno cornbread mini muffins complimented it well. They were very light, fluffy, and tasty. What stood out to me about this dinner, though, was the side dish! You know how it is, "choose two sides" I rarely ever give it much thought, since side dishes rarely stand out, in fact they often seem to be an after thought that do more to take up space on the plate than anything else. My red beans and rice selection, served with jalapeno sausage, was FAR from an afterthought. In fact, it was the stand out item of the evening. I also did not get near enough of it, because after one bite, Donnie claimed it for his own! I traded him for his macaroni and cheese, resigning myself to the fact that I would just order a huge bowl of red beans and rice next time!
I certainly was not cheated in the trade though, Macaroni and Cheese has been done to death, and although I loved it as a kid, I never order it anymore. It has become bland and boring most places, and is frankly not worth the calories to me. Well, Moonshine is where you want to go to indulge yourself is you are craving this home-style favorite side dish. It is creamy, made with three cheeses, pimento, and slight hint of bacon. Donnie ordered it up with his Chicken Fried Chicken, but it was perfect with my barbecued smoked chicken. The chicken fried chicken was served with a chipotle gravy, so if you are a fan of chipotle and gravy, this is an interesting blend you will enjoy!
We were way too full to even think about dessert but our server, Kyle, assured us their desserts were prepared with "lotta love" so despite our full tummies, we chose the Fudge Stout Brownie. It arrived very quickly, and I should note first and foremost, none of their desserts are portioned for one, they are intended to be shared! Our super sized brownie was served warm, topped with ice cream, pecans, and hot fudge. That is nothing new, who doesn't serve their brownies warm and topped with ice cream right? Well, never judge a brownie by its toppings! The ice cream mound on this treat is homemade with crushed whoppers and seriously gives Blue Bell some competition. Donnie normally pushing the ice cream to the side, but he enjoyed this enough to eat half the scoop, rest assured I did not share my half this time!
We enjoyed our romantic evening at Moonshine Grill, and highly recommend it for your next date night, whether it be a first time blind date, or an anniversary celebration, your partner will thank you! Go by and have dinner, stop in for brunch, grab a tasty cocktail in the afternoon, but definitely give Moonshine a try the next time you find yourself unable to pick a restaurant. Try every side dish they have and treat yourself to dessert. You will enjoy the atmosphere and the food.....and you will be back, I know we will be!