16018 Hamilton Pool Rd.
Austin, TX 78738
(512) 263-0500
Sun: 11am-9am
Mon-Fri: 4pm-10pm
Sat: 3pm-10pm
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A left turn going north off Highway 71 past the bustling metropolis of Bee Caves will take you to Hamilton Pool Road: a county lane that meanders into the Hill Country through some lush green (at least when it rains) countryside. Hence the name Verdes that Joel and Aubrey Mungia decided to bestow on their new restaurant out here.

You want to talk about an area that has been underserved by the dining community? Verdes must seem like some kind of early Christmas present to the voracious locals out here.

The idea of Verdes is that of a Mexican grill. The menu, while offering nachos and queso, comes down more often on the side of grilled meats and fish. The appetizers or antojitos immediately convey the impression that Verdes is not your usual Tex Mex. The Bacon Wrapped Shrimp is a delightful way to begin. I love the notion of plump gulf shrimp stuffed with serrano peppers, wrapped in bacon, and grilled (not fried). Very cool appetizer! Likewise the Fish Tacos are an appealing and tasty version of a Baja classic. You begin with soft corn tortillas bursting with fried whitefish and chipotle slaw. The flavors here are beautifully integrated and the dish is large enough to pass as an entrée. And the Stuffed Jalapenos are also very original and engaging. The mixture of chorizo and goat cheese lights this appetizer up until it’s almost combustible. You will come back again for this one! Also try the Roasted Poblano and Shrimp Bisque. The flavor components here are mellow and nuanced: and the texture is spot on.

The Platos Tradicionales section of the menu is also very worthy of your attention. For me, the Chili Relleno is the deal closer here. Here’s what I’d do: ask for the roasted poblano pepper with pulled beef and the amazingly tasty poblano cream sauce (which is supposed to come with the chicken relleno). Trust me, you’ll love it.

Now normally, I don’t get that excited about Fajitas. But the grilled beef fajitas at Verdes served with homemade corn tortillas (flour also available) are the epitome of flavor and virtually seamless texture. The onions and bell peppers don’t overwhelm and the whole dish just rocks with good taste vibrations. Another fav is the grilled Chipotle Pork Chop. I’ve had this dish several times and it’s gotten better every time. Last time was amazing: the flavors just burst out of the 14 oz. bone-in chop that’s finished with a compelling honey chipotle glaze. It goes nicely with the poblano mashers as well. And why not order a NY Ribeye from a Mexican grill? It’s a terrific idea. This is a USDA Choice Ribeye and it comes to your table sizzling. I’d go with medium-rare plus (pink center) and just let the wonderful flavors wash over you. A nice California cabernet might go with this as well.

When Verdes opened, I was a bit hard on them for their Margaritas. This is something that every Mexican place must come to grips with. And after a shaky start, Verdes is now concocting a very credible margarita. In fact, I had several (hold the salt) on the last visit.

So head out to 16018 Hamilton Pool Road, to the Hill Country, and meander down about three miles to Verdes. You will be glad you stopped by.

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