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plinko21's Profile

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Mandola's Winery Rebrands

Mandola is definitely not out. Damian chose to sell the winery to his business partner to allow him to pursue alcohol licenses for his other restaurants. Changing the name of the wine is certainly a questionable decision- why change a name that has years of brand building behind it? Confusing to say the least...

Trattoria Lisina- the restaurant next to the winery is still owned and operated by Mandola. Apparently there is some friction though. The restaurant will not sell the new wines because of a lingering dispute over the terms of the sale of the winery and "pricing issues" with the winery.

Trattoria Lisina
13308 FM 150 West, Driftwood, TX 78619

Jul 07, 2010
plinko21 in Austin

Italian Food in Austin?

If you are really ready to drive anywhere for good food- try Trattoria Lisina in Driftwood- amazing food and amazing setting- in the middle of nowhere but well worth the drive. Winery next door and vineyard out front. Ciola's and Asti also get the nod.

Jun 02, 2009
plinko21 in Austin

Siena Restaurant

No excuse for delivering courses out of order- but 2hrs for a five course meal seems reasonable. Taking time to enjoy each course individually is all part of the experience- especially in Italian restaurants. From a service perspective, it is very difficult to serve multi course meals to people who are used to the American style dining experience for the very reason that you were unsatisfied. The American style is to pile courses on top of one another and get a check on the table asap. I have had some very disappointing meals in nice restaurants because the entree course lands five minutes after the first course hits the table. "Turn and burn" restaurants are ok if you serve burgers and fries, but not at a place like Siena. Again, bad service is bad service, and the server should have modified the tempo of the meal to your taste, but I would venture to say that five courses taking two hours is not out of the ordinary.

Jan 04, 2009
plinko21 in Austin

great tables

I had the opportunity to eat at the kitchen table at PF Changs last year and found it very strange- you are at a ten top that faces the expediter station- so we watched three kids run food all night- not very exciting- but the server was phenomenal and the food was good.
Other interactive tables that I like- the kitchen counter at Trattoria Lisina- chef is a New Yorker and has the occasional slip of the tongue, but you can ask him what he is cooking and he will chat you up, accent and all- and the sushi counter at Mikado. For a great view, try Steiner Ranch Steakhouse- you get an Oasis type view with food that you can actually enjoy.

Jan 01, 2009
plinko21 in Austin

Best steakhouse?

I second that- best steak I have had to date in Austin was at a Eddie V's- better than Ruth's Chris, Fleming's, or ALC. One caveat, Eddie V's is technically a chain- with locations in Phoenix and a few more supposedly opening elsewhere. One other "steak" that I love is the hangar steak and fries at Jeffrey's- I have ordered it every time we have visited, variety be damned.

Dec 14, 2008
plinko21 in Austin

Austin wine bars?

Visited Uncorked last week- wines were interesting and well priced, menu has recently expanded. Gnocchi were very tender and brown butter sauce was great; local cheese tray was my favorite because it was appropriatley goat cheese heavy (although the bread served alongside was less than impressive- day old perhaps), seared tuna was wonderful if a little overpriced. Homemade cookies for dessert were good, not great.
Service was casual and courteous- our server was a transplant from Saltlick 360 (??) and had lived in South Africa- very knowledgeable, extremely helpful with the flights, very personable. There are some kinks being worked out- he let us know on a few occasions there might be delays on food due to several orders being in the kitchen at once. The check was handwritten- unusual in 2008 to see that.
View from the back patio is great- as long as you don't look directly at I35.
Overall, I loved this place- it was much more comfortable and less snobby than some of the other wine bars in Austin. For some, this may be a turnoff. If you're there for the scene, stay away- if you don't mind an East side vibe with you vino- get there asap.

Sep 22, 2008
plinko21 in Austin