Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Manny's Uptown Kitchen

9503 Research Boulevard
Austin, TX 78759-5817
(512) 794-0088


I was recently invited to taste the menu at Manny's Uptown Kitchen in North Austin. Some of you may remember it as the New York deli Manny Hatten's. Kind of kitchy, right? Well Manny's has been on a quest over the last 2 years to rebrand themselves. They've turned their deli counter into a wine bar.


Made the dining room less deli lunch and more upscale dinner.


And have totally redone their menu. They've kept the same old deli fresh sandwiches you've known and loved, but they've now added some interesting appetizer and dinner options. Which is what I was there to sample. I had been to Manny's a few months before for the Rueben Challenge they hosted (but thats a post for another day). And I had been a few times on my own when I came down with a craving for a fresh deli sandwich and I happened to be north (since most of you know I've been a southie for several years now). I had no idea, though, that they have been trying desperately to expand their menu (and clientelle) to include dinner.

We started out with a round of appetizers. First up were the Latkes. Now, Latkes, as most of you know, are shredded potatoes that are deep fried until crunchy and golden delicious. Some Latkes, however, can come out soggy and sodden in grease. But not these fresh Latkes, they were crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Manny's has even taken an innovative southern twist on their Latkes.On the normal menu, you can order Loaded Latkes, with bacon, sour cream, cheese & green onion, or Chili con Queso Latkes. They also served us a Mexican style Latke with guacamole and queso fresco. It was so fresh and delicious.

Up next, are one of my favorite new additions to the menu, the Pastrami Rueben eggrolls. Whats there not to like about pastrami, russian sauce and cabbage deep fried in an egg roll wrapper. Its a really interesting twist on two beloved New York dishes.

I went on this delicious dinner with Teddy of Fun with Your Food who is a Vegan/Vegetarian blogger. The next appetizer was her favorite new addition to the menu, Butternut Squash pierogies. They were incredibly delicious. A light pan fried crunch on the outside, and a soft tender butternut squash filling on the inside. Over the top was a light drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar and a light sprinkle of parmesan cheese.


Next we moved onto the entrees. The first offering was their Newcastle Pub Fish and Chips. Three large planks of perfectly golden fried cod with a house made tarter sauce. There was a curious glass of brown ale. We weren't quite sure if we should dip our fish in it or drink it. In the end, we did both. The beer helped cut the oil from the fish and the tarter sauce. It turned out to be a nice addition.


But what, do you ask, is the best new addition to Manny's dinner menu? The fresh, house-made pasta. Yes, folks, you read that right. They make their own pasta in house. And it is DELICIOUS. Probably the best pasta dish I've had in Austin. Seriously. We opted for the Chicken Marsala. The noodles were perfectly imperfect, coming in various shapes and sizes. the sauce, was a creamy, garlic alfredo with large chucks of perfectly sauteed mushrooms.

Throughout the meal, I was impressed by the freshness and quality of all the dishes. Each dish a small detail that was interesting and thoughtful. The guacamole on the latkes, the beer with the fish, the russian sauce in the egg roll. It's just different enough to keep even a hard core interested, but just pedestrian enough to make your grandma happy. Its a restaurant the whole family can enjoy.

Mariah ~ 8.5