We traveled to Austin so Jason could attend the annual Xerocon conference. We arrived a couple of days prior to the conference so that we could take in all of the glorious food Austin has to offer. Check out a previous post on Austin's most famous BBQ joint, Franklin BBQ. Austin struck us as an exceedingly livable place--the city was clean, fairly walk-able, and filled with so many good eats. Insider tip: in between meals, head to Gourdough's for a donut that will put all other donuts to shame.
Chef Rene Ortiz opened up Launderette in February 2015 in an old Laundromat on the east side of Austin. Ortiz is known for being passionate about seasoning & choosing to pack a punch of flavor into each dish. Launderette is constantly on the "Best Of" lists for Austin and around the country, so when we visited Austin in December of last year, we knew we had to check it out.
We asked our waiter what to order, and he gave us the, "Everything is good on this menu, or else we wouldn't put it on the menu," line that we never know what to do with. There are always dishes that a server prefers to others on a menu, even if everything is good. Truthiness is important to Scallionpancake. With the waiter being no help, we decided to go with our hearts and Jason's extraordinary knack for ordering great things. The menu is broken up into four sections: "Snacky Bits," Wood Grill," "Vegetables," and "Specialties." The first three were tapas/shareable portions, while the specialties were larger, main course portions.
We decided to start off with the labneh. If you've never tried it, labneh is a middle eastern yogurt dip that is thick and tangy.
beet hummus, millet crunch, everything cracker
We loved this dish. Our only complaint was that we needed maybe seven more crackers? Kthanxbai.
escolar, citrus, cilantro, thai chile, crispy fennel
Essentially ceviche, and super delcious.
corona beans, Spanish chorizo, paprika, fried parsley
This dish was a swing and a miss. The octopus was over cooked, and no one likes to gnaw on a sad tentacle of octopus. Pass.
Piri Piri Prawns
crispy rice salad, tamarind, mint chutney
This dish nearly made Jason's top dishes of 2017 list, so you know it was fabulous. Our favorite part was the spicy & slightly sweet sauce on the crunchy prawns. Looking back, we should have ordered two plates of these.
Sticky Brussels Sprouts
apple bacon marmalade, pecorino, almond, pickled apple
These were basic brussels sprouts, and far from the best we've ever had (that honor goes to Flipside). They were alright. 7/10.
Chef Laura Sawicki is in charge of desserts at Launderette, and we were super happy with our dishes in this department. The birthday cake ice cream sandwich was a top dessert of 2017 for sure.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
caramelized white chocolate, sunchoke, black sesame, cassis, cocoa nib crunch ice cream
Jason gave this a 10/10, I went 6/10
Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sandwich
I mean, are you dying, or are you dying?
Let's talk color changing straws. Yes--color.changing.straws. Jason and I totally wanted to ask for a few to take home. Jason had iced tea, and I enjoyed a Wild Honey cocktail. It wasn't very strong and was on the sweet side, but the flavor was good.
mezcal, lemon, honey ginger syrup, chili tincture
Launderette was just too cute. We loved the whole 1950s vibe that was reflected in the seating, decor, and even in the servers' outfits. There was a cool contrast to the retro items with some funky art (with a 50s twist, like a punchy & modern picture of a record), and the lighting was perfectly dim. We enjoyed the chill vibe and felt very relaxed throughout our meal.
Southern Laundromat Hospitality:
As we mentioned above, our server was perhaps a bit less than helpful, but he seriously had about eight tables at once, so we forgive him. They weren't particular busy on the night we went, but perhaps they were a bit understaffed. Our food came out quickly, although we felt the pacing of the dishes was off.
Laundromats are the effing worst, unless you are eating a classy meal in one; Insert Nick Young meme when a waiter says everything on the menu is good; Do you think octopuses know that they are currently trending at upscale restaurants?; I looked that up--the plural of octopuses is just that, and not octopi; Insert "The More You Know" rainbow; Color-changing straws are the key to a long and happy life.