Monday, July 17, 2017

Threadgill's on Riverside in Austin, TX--Home Cookin' in the Capitol of Texas

King Ranch Chicken Casserole, spinach casserole, and San Antonio squash
Chicken fried steak (gravy on the side), mashed sweet potatoes, and green beans
On a recent trip to Austin I had occasion to go to eat with a friend at the south side location of Threadgill's. They are a long time Austin institution for home-style cooking and live music. I had long heard of it but had never eaten there.

After arriving around 12:45pm, we were seated after a short wait. The server did a decent job for us but looked less than enthusiastic to be at work. He was on top of my drink refills so no complaints that he was not in an extra jolly mood. Overall, the efficient and quick service for those folks that need to get back to work is appreciated.

I ordered the Friday lunch special of King Ranch Chicken, though I was very tempted to just get a veggie plate due to the plethora of options. Particularly items that I haven't had the frequent chance to eat since Sunday dinners as a kid at my grandparent's house. My companion went with the tried and true CFS, which Threadgill's is well-known for serving. A basket of jalapeno cornbread muffins and bread was on the table very quickly. We both chose the cornbread and it was yummy, not dry at all.

My lunch was filling and perfectly fine but not "blow me out of the water" delicious. I tasted my friend's chicken fry and the flavor of the meat came through the rather heavy breading. I admit that I prefer pan frying over deep frying when it comes to CFS due to the fact that the breading/meat ratio tends to be higher on the meat side when pan fried. It was a nice-sized portion without question. She doesn't like cream gravy so I don't know if that would have added to the experience. My friend commented on how much she liked that the sweet potatoes didn't have marshmallow or cinnamon added to them, letting the natural sweetness of the potato shine through. My favorite part of lunch was the San Antonio squash side dish on my plate. The squash still had some firmness to it and wasn't cooked into mush. I enjoyed the green chili flavor and the creamy sauce. The spinach was just fine but in retrospect I should have gone for something else, such as the butter beans or the okra.
Buttermilk pie

For dessert, I could not resist the buttermilk pie which is my absolute favorite pie of all time. The little dabs of whipped cream that were served on top added to the presentation. The pie had a thicker floury texture than other's I've tasted that tend toward a more custard-like filling. It was good pie but not as good as I've ever had in the past. My standards are sky high in this regard due to the superior baking skills of my grandma.

I think the fact that there are probably a fewer number of "comfort" or "Southern" food restaurants in Austin (in comparison to my neck of the woods) or people's nostalgia for the past are what  keep people coming back to Threadgill's. The meal was perfectly fine but the restaurant is not somewhere I would make a special trip to patronize. I do wish I had gotten those butter beans and some extra cornbread though. 

301 West Riverside Dr.
Austin, TX  78704
(512) 472-9304
http://www.threadgills.com/

Mon-Thurs 11a-10p
Fri 11a-10:30p
Sat: 11a-10:30p
Sun: 10a-9:30p
Sunday Breakfast Buffet: 10a-1p

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