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Review: Garrido’s (Austin, TX)

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Posted by johngl

Last Sunday (June 21) while dining at Fino, a small group of us decided that we’d hit Garrido’s this weekend.  What we didn’t know at the time was that the restaurant located at 360 Nueces was going to get a large favorable write-up in the Austin American Stateman three days later. I thought that getting into the place at 1pm Sunday (June 28) would be next to impossible.

Garrido's

Lucky for us, we met up at the bar and after a few minutes, were led to our table.

The restaurant is really quite contemporary in style:

Contemporary style

The rich color of the stained concrete floor contrasts the bright light colors of the ceiling.  There are bare concrete pillars here and there along with some areas of exposed concrete block walls.  The back wall, which stylishly hides the restroom doors, is covered with some interesting terra cotta tiles:

terra cotta tiles

Not only is the interior clean and sleek, the large expanse of patio area is completed in a similar vein.  I learned from the American Statesman article that the tables are reclaimed Spanish cedar and the building itself is city-certified “green.”

Nice Patio!

Had it not been 102° in the shade, we would have dined outdoors.  It really is a beautiful setting and Chef Garrido has done a marvelous job setting up the entire facility.

Enough about the physical plant, what’s the food like?

Shrimp Cocktail
Shrimp Cocktail “Acapulco” with Avocado and Cucumber

I opened by ordering the shrimp cocktail.  The shrimp were wonderfully cooked and not a bit chewy.  The avocado brings some fat to the dish which is nicely offset by the tangy lime.  I didn’t notice the cucumber nor did I seek it out.  The red sauce added a bit of zest without being “hot”.  I could easily rip through a couple of these servings.

Lamp pops
Lamb Pops with Plantain Chips and Roasted Garlic Ancho Chili Sauce

Perhaps my favorite on the day, the grilled lamb had just the right amount of chew to it.  Cooked to medium, the lamb is flavorful without being overpowering.  The chiles again added a dimension of flavor that worked well even with the chips and greens. They come three to a plate on the appetizer menu and, for those that really like lamb, it would be easy to order two of these and consider them an entree.

Oysters
Oyster Tostadas on Yucca Root Chips with Honey Habanero Salsa

Obviously an homage to those killer oysters Chef Garrido made famous during his 16 years at Jeffrey’s, these do not disappoint.  Perfectly cooked with just the right amount of crunch.  Damn, these are good!

Mahi Mahi "BLT"
Mahi Mahi “BLT”

I’ve not normally a big fan of fish tacos as they have to be done exactly right — and these are really quite nice.  This really did have the “BLT” taste boosted by the protein of the Mahi Mahi.

Since I’ve now ventured into the tacos, I have to say something about the tortillas.  These are definitely not your typical flour or corn tortillas.  These are more like crepes — thin and very flexible adding just a hint of texture without getting in the way of the other flavors.  I am now quite spoiled.

It’s also a nice touch that a variety tacos are available ala carte and range in price from $3.00 for the vegetarian to $4.25 for the ribeye. It’s easy to experience a lot of different flavors without spending too much.

Oyster Taco
Oyster Taco

Couple the fried oysters with those wonderful tortillas.  It’s a match made in heaven.

Grilled Chicken, Cheese, Avocado, and Salsa
Grilled Chicken, Cheese, Avocado, and Salsa served with Refried Black Beans and Rice

The most glorious spousal unit likes her beans and rice, so she ordered a taco plate. It’s almost like getting the beans and rice for free.

Pair of Tacos, Oyster and Ribeye
Oyster Taco (left) and Ribeye Taco (right)

This is another of my samplings. The ribeye taco had the full rich flavor of a nice cut of beef. There were even caramelized onions in there. They’re a great way to get a hit of red meat without going for the heaviness of a whole steak.

Pork Quesadilla
Roasted Pork Quesadilla with Asadero Cheese, Sliced Avocado, and Pineapple Habanero Salsa

The cheese and pork were great, but these were a little heavy on the salsa.  That is to say, these were just a bit too “wet” for my liking.  Pulling back a bit would help escalate these to the level of the other dishes.

I can certainly forgive this one little misstep.

At Garrido’s, you can get a lot of flavor in a tight little package.  The coolest thing is that there are a lot of different tight little packages from which to choose.

I will definitely be heading back!

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5 Responses to “Review: Garrido’s (Austin, TX)”

  1. Chef Robert says:

    You misspelled “definitely” as “definately”.

  2. Biz says:

    My word, I am definitely making some of these dishes!

    Shrimp cocktail with avocado and cucumber
    Roasted Garlic Ancho Chile Sauce (I think I’ll drizzle this over grilled scallops)
    and I am going to attempt to make yucca root chips!

    Thanks for the inspiration John – hope you and your wife have a great weekend!

  3. astigirl says:

    i concur !
    i popped into Garrido’s just last night – with my better half-
    just looking to say Congrats ! to David and have a drink and a few tastes at the bar.
    it was so crowded that we took a table on the lovely patio.
    and yes ! every little bite was packed with flavor and i love the menu being lots of those little bites.

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