Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Louisiana Longhorn Cafe

200B East Main Street
Round Rock, TX 78664

Hey, fellow foodies. It's been a while since the last time I've had a chance to post a review for Mariah and Laura. What can I say? I have no excuse save the same one that any of us have: I've been totally slammed. It's been so hard to find time to go out and find time to write. However, sometimes motivation just falls into our lap, and we have a story that is so good it would be a shame to not share.

Let me paint the picture. Last Wednesday, I was finishing up a trip to the grocery store getting ingredients for what I envisioned to be an amazing pork chop dish with a citrus pecan sauce, roasted potatoes, and pureed carrots. Just as the last of the groceries enters my trunk, the trusty cell phone rings. It's my girlfriend, Michelle, calling to ask me if I had taken the big screen TV into get serviced. She sounded rather confused. She got home to discover that the TV was gone, but there was a strange chihuahua running around the house. To quote her directly, "I'm serious. I would not make this up to f*ck with you."

I immediately raced home to discover that someone had broken into the house. The TV really was gone. A strange chihuahua really was running around inside the house. I can't even begin to describe the sense of confusion this brought about. Well, to make a long story short, by the time the police showed up and I verified what was stolen, cooking dinner was the very last thing on my mind. So, off to get dinner.

We went to the Louisiana Longhorn Cafe. This is a restaurant that Mariah and I have been talking about reviewing for months now, but have never gotten around to it. So, in looking for that sometimes hard to find silver lining, I am proud to say that being the victim of burglary, I am able to finally write this review.

Walking into the place, we were greeted with a warm Austiny feel. The decor is laid back and mismatched with lots of tribute to our beloved Longhorns via a Bevo-esque gator head mounted to the wall above our table. You gotta love that warm Austiny feel. It's enough to settle two victims of theft and a ravenous 6 year old.

Now, with Austin with us, it meant an order of Fried Pickles for an app. I can't say that these pickles are anything above and beyond the typical fair you'd get at other restaurants or the state fair, but they certainly filled the role nicely. They are served very crispy with a light battering and with a side of very cold ranch dressing.

Michelle had the fish tacos. They looked very good. The fish looked nice and flaky with very decently sized fried fillets that didn't obnoxiously over fill each taco. The tacos also came with an order of the house red beans and rice. I'll save discussion about the authenticity of red beans and rice for another time, but these were definitely well above average and quite flavorful.

It had been a while since I had any of the gumbos that Louisiana Longhorn offers, and I couldn't remember how good they were. So, I ordered a small cup of the seafood gumbo to remind myself. I'm glad I did. The soup was made with a very nice, dark roux that permeated each bite. Most impressive, though, is how much seafood the restaurant managed to stuff into the bowl and easily maintain that it was a soup.

As for the entree, I went with Pirogue. Imagine a toasted hoagie roll filled to the brim with fried oysters and covered in etouffeee sauce. It's definitely not a sandwich that you're going to be able to tackle without fork and knife. Oysters were lightly fried and maintained the crunch of the breading even underneath a rich etouffee sauce that hinted at spice. This also came with a side of that sausage filled Red Beans and Rice.

I have to admit that the kids menu isn't very unique or original. It looks like a collection of stuff that was easily pulled together by buying in bulk, but they had one. I can also add that it did feel quite appropriate for the little ones. Austin ordered the cheeseburger off that menu and ate it well.

While I hope that no one here suffers from a break in as well, I can assure you that if anyone comes home to find that electronic devices have mysteriously morphed into chihuahuas, that disconcerting feeling you experience can be settled with some good company and the food at Louisiana Longhorn Cafe. It worked for me, anyhow.

Bottom Line: Austin-like atmosphere in Round Rock with a good combination of Cajun, Creole, and Southern food.

Lee - 9

Laura's note: Fried food is fried food, and as custom dictates, at the end of your fried appetizers you'll have a nice little puddle of leftover grease. It's important to note that they do not have vegetarian options on the menu. In fact, I doubt they know what a vegetable is unless it's overcooked and/or served covered in bacon. The salads are really pitiful. I understand if you are craving some cajun food this place might do it for you and that you can probably get a decent po-boy or etouffee. But really Lee, a 9? I question your judgment. I generously give it a 5.

Mariah's note: When I dated that dude that lived way up in Jerrell, we used to eat here as "middle ground." While it's not the best Cajun food I've ever had, it's the best I've had in Austin. The decor is fun and its on a street thats nice to stroll up and down after dinner. My experiences there haven't been mind blowing, but its a good decent place to have some fried shrimp and gumbo. I'd give it an 8.5 but since they don't have any vegetarian options, I'd knock it down to a 8. Recommended if your in the area and hankering for some mudbugs.