Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill

303 Red River St.
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 236-9599
Mon-Thu: 11am-10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am-11pm
Sun: 10am-2:30pm
Sun: 5pm-10pm

If any of the ghosts of the ill-fated Emilia’s (the prior occupant) at 3rd and Red River still are hanging around, I suspect that Chuck Smith and Larry Perdido who reopened this space as Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill have long since exorcised them.

Moonshine is the antithesis of the somewhat snooty restaurant that preceded it. It’s been going strong for over three years by serving up Perdido’s unique and affordable brand of comfort food and creating a wonderfully comfortable ambiance as well.

My last visit to Moonshine was typical. We arrived at about 9pm on a Friday evening. The place was packed, but our wait was a pleasant fifteen minutes. And then we gorged on some of Perdido’s irresistible appetizers. You have to love the Spinach and Artichoke Fondue. It’s got a very mellow flavor with accompanying garlic toast that provides the right contrast. Nice dish. One of my original favorites that still graces the menu is the Corn Dog Shrimp. Use your imagination on this one and substitute the shrimp for the dog. The batter, using milk, eggs, a dash of cayenne, and cornmeal flour makes for a very compelling coating. Dip it into the honey mustard sauce and enjoy. Another fun appetizer, from my perspective, is the Baked Brie. The Ancho Pear Chutney is the perfect pairing for this incredibly fulsome cheese. And I always managed to down an inordinate number of their homemade potato chips with a warm sour cream and chive dip. These are sinfully tasty.

My single favorite entrée remains the very popular and exceedingly interesting Flat Iron Steak. This has become one of the most popular cuts in the country over the past few years and it’s easy to see why. Served with bleu cheese butter and a port wine sauce, the dish just conjures up every notion of what makes for a fun steak. No less tasty is the Rainbow Trout.

The fish is broiled and presented with a cornbread stuffing and sage butter. The stuffing sets off the fish very nice. Try this one. Another favorite is the Dixie Beer Can Chicken. Fans of the beer can approach know that this really maximizes moisture and flavor. The Creole BBQ sauce is the final element. Now this is comfort food. And on those days when I need even a higher level of culinary nurturing, the Green Chile Macaroni does it for me. The taste is pleasantly subtle, as a dish like this should be, but at the same time full of a variety of really nice tastes. The macaroni is pleasantly al dente and the grilled chicken is a nice touch.

Larry Perdido’s Red Velvet Cake is legendary on the local scene and I would be remiss in not mentioning it. For that matter, his pies are amazing as well.

Moonshine is at 3rd and Red River, open for lunch and dinner with a really neat Sunday brunch as well. Who said comfort food had to be something you got at Marie Callender’s? This is great, upscale comfort food that is worthy of your attention.