Sunday, January 20, 2013

Snack Bar


Snack Bar has been in the heart of South Congress (in the old El Sol y La Luna spot, next to the Austin Motel) for a few years now, but I had only ever been once before for a brief visit. I met a friend there earlier this week and got to relax with a drink (sangria!) and some various dishes of food as we caught up.

I would call Snack Bar as having an eclectic menu, ranging from eggs and French toast for breakfast, sandwiches and salad options for lunch, and smaller plates -- from pate to sardines to fries and larger plates -- ramen, steak, root veggies for dinner offerings. Largely, I see Asian and Mediterranean influences throughout the menu -- something for everyone. They are also supporters of local food resources, which is always good!

We started with the flash-fried Brussels sprouts, which were delicious! Crispy, savory, well-seasoned, and the herb aioli on the side added creaminess and a touch of sweet if desired. We gobbled these up and could have easily eaten more. 
Next up was the Tamago Yoko, their take on the Japanese okonomiyaki -- think a large latke or shredded vegetable cake, this one made from cabbage, leeks, bacon, shrimp, with wasabi aioli and sriracha on top. It was not quite as good as the one I had from the Osaka Soul trailer last year (my previous post is here; Osaka Soul seems to be on a lengthy hiatus), but it was pretty darn good. The sriracha, as expected has a bit of a punch to it, but I didn't really get a whole lot of wasabi from the aioli; the whole thing could have been a bit crispier in my book, but the flavors were good. It does come with two over-medium eggs on top, which we asked for on the side; my friend is not an egg eater at all, and I am now just starting to like eggs with runny yolks. So the eggs, not pictured, were on a separate plate, and I DID eat mine with the Tamago Yoko. And I enjoyed it.
The mac and cheese (pictured above in the crock) was really the only thing that disappointed, as the macaroni was fairly mushy, and no discernible breadcrumbs (as advertised) on top.

For dessert we had Cookies + Cream -- house cookies with a scoop of vanilla Blue Bell ice cream; in this case, the cookies were a fluffy snickerdoodle style. 
Overall it was a good experience, and we had a good server. I do wonder though if they can be consistently good in all of their food, as they are open B, L, and D and they serve such a range of foods. I know I've been a bit critical of places like Cafe Malta (and I was there two weeks ago, and it was the same story) of trying too hard with different dishes and/or flavors, and then not all of them come through on a dish. However, given their location, in the heart of a touristy area, they can probably get by without 100% perfection. But it does make me wonder why I don't ever really hear any buzz on Snack Bar. More tourists than locals? Not sure, but I would go back!