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Tapioca Dextrin's Profile

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Just came back from Zoot. It was a huge disappointment. Three of us all had the tasting menu. $55 for five courses ($85 if you had wine, we didn't). The meal started with an amuse bouche. Slivers of frozen melon. Nothing wrong with it, but in my mind the purpose of an amuse bouche is to amuse the bouche. The melon was tasteless. Next up was seared scallops served with corn and toasted sunflower seeds. When I say scallops, there were three of them. For three people. The corn was kind of semi creamed. It wasn't a bad dish, but normally the seared part of the scallop should be at least slightly warm. Ours were room temperature. And where was the taste and texture? Scallops don't have a lot of flavor, so they need something help them along. Creamed corn is not the answer.

And then there was a salad. The waitress informed us that the green were locally grown. She neglected to inform us the Parmesan was local, too. Come on. Bland with no character. Fish next. oven baked halibut, the size of a fish stick. The fish itself was really good. Fresh and perfectly cooked. The rest of the dish, though was lacking. It was served with straw mushrooms, snow peas and a wonton (filled with what might have been cream cheese) in a five spice consomme. It might have looked good in a photo shoot for a supermarket magazine, but the reality was pretty bad. Everything was drowned in the bitter, yet bland consomme.

At this point, I ought to point out the speed of service. It was glacial. The first three courses were so small that they took no more than five minutes to actually eat. And an over an hour to bring from the kitchen, which brings us to meat course.

NY strip. "How do want that cooked?" is usually a good place to begin when ordering steak. Not at Zoot. It was our way or the highway. The four ounces of meat was obviously top quality before it was cooked, but something went wrong in the process between refrigerator and table.

I want to remind readers that this was a tasting menu. May I'm weird, but I expect a tasting menu to have food that tastes of something.

The steak dish consisted of four types of squash that were steamed to perfection and very nicely presented, and the steak mentioned previously. The steak had a nice crust and was barely pink in the middle. It had been barely seasoned. There was no sauce. I took one slice and before it reached my mouth, I knew I was going to be disappointed. It was dry. It had obviously been sitting under a heat lamp for at least twenty minutes.

Did I mention the speed of service? As the steak was brought out, my companion noted that he could see our desserts being prepared. Unfortunately, this time saving idea didn't really pan out. By the time we had eaten the steak, dessert had liquefied and had to be thrown away.

When dessert#2 turned up, it was almost pretty good. Goat cheese pan acotta with strawberries and served on a balsamic reduction. The pana cotta was excellent, as was the 1/10th of a strawberry. Note to chefs out there - if you make a balsamic reduction, using HEB own brand is a poor place to start.

To sum up, it was the exact opposite of what a tasting menu should be .Bland, boring and poorly thought out and badly prepared. I will never go back.

May 29, 2009
Tapioca Dextrin in Austin

Private Room at Nice Restaurant for Holiday Lunch Party?

Green Pastures might fit the bill. Private rooms, classy, expensive and open for lunch.

Dec 08, 2008
Tapioca Dextrin in Austin

Fujian Grand Buffet

Went there on its opening night on Friday. $10.99 + drink. Pay before you eat. It's a very, very mixed bag. Anyone who ever went to the Old San Francisco Steakhouse will know that building is a really good size, so there's plenty of seating and plenty of space for the buffet. There are two areas for preparing fresh food - a small and very disappointing sushi bar, and a Mongolian BBQ type noodle bar. And here we come to the first of two problems. The ingredients were fresh and good quality, but there were a dozen or so sauces, none of which were labeled. Hot sauce, garlic and soy sauce are easy to recognize, but the others were kind of pot luck.

This lack of labeling was pervasive throughout the buffet. I would guess that less than 1 in 4 dishes had a label. It's pretty obvious what a prawn toast is, but what if you have to choose between 4 almost identical chicken in sticky sauce? Are those spring rolls vegetarian?

The other problem, apart from the lack of labels, was a lack of Chinese food. There was a nice looking salad bar, pizza, fish and chicken nuggets, plenty of fresh fruit, a huge dessert section with four colors of jello, banana pudding, chocolate pudding, ice cream etc., but very little else.

There were plenty of Chinese appetizers, but for the entrees, I don't recall any pork or lamb dishes at all. There were one or two beef dishes, three or four chicken dishes - and that was it. Even the fried rice was American style - light, fluffy and impossible to eat with chopsticks.

Oct 26, 2008
Tapioca Dextrin in Austin


I usually get mine from Central Market. Last time I tried their Pork and Blueberry. Not only was it delicious, but the kitchen smelt like I was making Blueberry muffins. It was a strange, bot not unpleasant experience.

Sep 21, 2008
Tapioca Dextrin in Austin

Brunching on Eggs Benedict in Austin

I'm not entirely sure there's room to post an entire list of what was on offer. Smoked salmon (excellent) smoked trout (OK). Roast Prime Rib with mustard and horseradish sauces. Seared Ahi tuna, cols chicken with mango chutney, cold flank steak, green lipped mussels (not good) and regular mussels (excellent and spicy), all manner of salady things (i remember artichokes with sun dried tomatoes. There's a seperate table for eggs (tea stained (average), devilled and quiche.

Then there's dessert.

Two or possibly three kinds of cheesecake (key lime was good), brownies, a chocolate fountain with marshmallow and strawberries. Trifle and chocolate oblivion. Both looked good. I opted for the bread pudding with creme anglaise. Only my waistline complained :)

We were sat in the conservatory/sun room. It's a good brunch spot. The restaurant wasn't too busy to begin with - we arrived at just past 11 o'clock. It certainly was pretty busy by 12. The clientèle was a surprising mix as it always is. I always expect it to filled with rich old ladies, but I'm always wrong. They were there of course, but there were plenty of others ranging from family groups with small kids to young couples, to out of place college kids in shorts. Green Pastures doesn't have a dress code, but it's just not a jeans 'n' t shirt kind of place.

The service was pretty decent considering it was a buffet (last time we went, the service was terrible and the restaurant comped us a free buffet for three). There's endless fruit or milk punch. I'm not a fan of either, but everyone else loves them).

Sep 21, 2008
Tapioca Dextrin in Austin

Brunching on Eggs Benedict in Austin

I went to Green Pastures a few weeks ago. Apart from the price ($33). The eggs Benedict were just as they should be - fresh muffin, nice ham, almost undercooked egg and creamy but light Hollandaise. The rest wasn't too shabby, either.

Sep 19, 2008
Tapioca Dextrin in Austin

Lancashire hotpot and other Brit grub

I've lived in Austin for seven years and have never found anything resembling British food in a restaurant anywhere in Texas. Even if you find somewhere that serves Shepherd's Pie, it will be made from beef, not real shepherds.

Dec 26, 2007
Tapioca Dextrin in Austin

Breakfast Burritos vs. Tacos?

Although they aren't enormous, the tacos at Mi Madres on Manor Rd are foil wrapped (and delicious).

Apr 30, 2007
Tapioca Dextrin in Austin