Saturday, December 8, 2012

Abi-Haus: A Little Bit of Austin in Abilene

Abi-Haus, Long Live Abilene

Abi-Haus is a new bistro in downtown Abilene located on N. 2nd east of Pine St. My friends and I decided to go there for a Christmas dinner. Firstly, I appreciate that they celebrate Abilene, the decor and advertising show it. Secondly, be prepared...the restaurant is tiny. It only has ten 4-top tables inside and four seats at the bar. There are also five two-person tables outside on the sidewalk. The decor is fun and kind of "warehouse" hipster albeit a very small warehouse. Abi-Haus proved extremely popular last Friday night. In fact, they had a problem with their reservation process and were severely overbooked so we didn't get seated for our 7:30pm reservation until 8:45pm. By the way, they only take reservations for parties of 6 or more. There were several apologies from the staff and one of the owners, Ryan. He comped us a couple of appetizers for our trouble. We spent our time waiting in a pub across the street. There is no where at Abi-Haus to wait for a table except the sidewalk.

The menu is eclectic but not extensive. They have some items, such as lamb that I haven't seen anywhere else in town. Every night there are rotating fish and rotating duck entrees. There are different menus available for brunch (Sat & Sun only), lunch and dinner. 

For apps we got the Farmer's plate which had grapes, strawberries, a few slices of sourdough, and a small amount of brie and goat cheese with some truffled honey. Everything was tasty but it is better to order this plate for two since the portion size is small. Menu price was $5. We also got shrimp and cheese grits. Menu price was $11. Loved the grits which were flavored with cheese and bacon and had grape tomatoes but the shrimp was underwhelming since they didn't have a lot of flavor. One of my friends also ordered some fry bread ($5). It was good but overpriced. I think it would be better served with the truffled honey instead of ranch dressing and mustard.
Fry bread served with grainy mustard and ranch
We had some questions about the menu and the server did her best to answer them. I imagine that the kitchen was backed up from the overbooked evening but it took about 45 minutes to get our food. We had burgers, steak and duck. The duck was served with a chocolate demi-glaze and it got a thumbs up from my friend. She had fries on the side. Everyone had the fries or "frites" as they call them and they were scrumptious.
Duck in chocolate demi-glaze
The next dish was a bistro steak in a sauce with onion confit. The steak was supposed to be medium-rare but came out medium-well. The flavor came mainly from the bordelais sauce.
Bistro steak
The rest of us ordered either the $5 Cheap and Cheesy burger or the $8 Abi-Burger. I had gorgonzola cheese with grainy mustard on my burger along with homemade pickles, lettuce and tomato. Mine was cooked just right and the price was super reasonable. The Abi-Burger is larger and comes in a vegetarian and Kobe beef version for an up charge. I was very pleased with my burger and there were several topping options.

Cheap and Cheesy Burger--Only $5!
There are some add-ons such as Abi-Mac and Cheese for $4. It had a nice flavor and I could tell the cheese was quality but it was a little bit on the dry side. Probably had been made earlier in the day.

Abi Mac and Cheese
There is a 20% gratuity added for six or more people.  Service was good though not speedy due to the crush of people. The servers need a little more training in regard to the menu. The bar manager also stopped by at the end of our meal and had a conversation with a couple of my friends about wine. Abi-Haus personnel were doing their best and I'm sure the problems with reservations and timing will improve. It always takes some time to work out the kinks. Next time I'm going for brunch...chicken and waffle. Brunch also has gluten-free and vegan entree options.

Another couple of new things for Abilene diners is that they take your card at the table and swipe it right there with an iPhone with 15%, 20% or no tip options and the water bottle on the table with tap water in it so that the servers don't have to bring out glasses of water. I think Abi-Haus is a fresh and needed addition to the Abilene dining scene.

(325) 672-7452
959 N.2nd St.   |   Abilene, TX 79601


  1. I totally agree that the fry bread needed the truffle honey sauce instead of the other options or in addition to them. And salt. The crew also need to work on getting their drinks more enjoyable. Too much lemon juice in the Sidecars and even my Hemingway Daquiri was too sour. I enjoyed the atmosphere and decor. It's a fun addition to downtown!

  2. I agree with your review 100%. Place is way too small though and when it is winter time... no where to wait. They need to remove 1 table inside so you aren't all up against other people. I also thought the Mac N Cheese was dry. But all in all, it was very good. Some portion sizes are good, others seem small. Fries are very good. The iphone tipping is strange, what if I want to tip 10% or 25 %? I Guess if the servers are happy with 0-15-20. I could leave cash I suppose.