Food-O-File Is On the Range This Week

There's a red hot serving of local restaurant news right here.

El Naranjo Restaurant
El Naranjo Restaurant (by photo by John Anderson)

Fall is always a busy time for restaurant openings and we know of three important ones that have happened within the last week. We've got the scoop on lots of new brunches around town, as well.

La Dolce Vita provided the coming out party for the McGuireMoorman Group’s Clark’s Oyster Bar (1200 W. Sixth), with the staff serving up ethereal little corn blini topped with a decadent lobster salad and caviar. If the rest of the menu is anywhere nearly as good as those bites, these guys should have yet another hit on their hands. . . .Up in Georgetown, the long-awaited El Monumento (500 S. Austin Ave.) is now open. This Mexican eatery is brought to you by the same folks who own both Monument Café and Monument Market, with the kitchen under the direction of popular Austin chef Mizael Saucedo. Chronicle colleagues who ate there last weekend were impressed with a Shrimp Relleno and some vegetarian enchiladas and said the building and garden are gorgeous, offering a lovely view of the San Gabriel River Park. . . .Barbecue lovers in Spicewood are happy about the opening of R.O.’s Outpost Barbecue Trailer (22518 Hwy 71 West), just a few hundred yards west of the original location that was sold out from under them last year. The trailer is open from 11am-8pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays, and offers most of the same meats, side dishes, and delicious pies that R.O,’s fans have loved for years. Randy and Kathy said to come on out and see them again! . . . There are more opportunities to enjoy Iliana de la Vega’s distinctive Interior Mexican cuisine at El Naranjo (#85 Rainey) because the restaurant is now serving lunch from 11:30am-3pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays, Happy Hour with appetizers and drinks from 4:30-5:30pm, and Sunday Brunch from 10:30am-2pm. . . . Café Josie (1200 W. Sixth) is now open for both lunch and dinner on Mondays and they are excited about some new menu offerings. . . .If you’re a fan of the weekend brunch at Tacos & Tequila (507 Pressler), they’ve recently added a Wednesday Brunch that offers a version of their buffet for $11.95 plus a drink between 11am-2pm. . . . Something else we discovered at La Dolce Vita is that Urban at the Westin (11301 Domain Dr.) now offers a Farm to Urban dinner every Thursday evening featuring a three course dinner based on locally-sourced items for $30 per person, complemented by Texas wines, spirits, and live music. . . . This month, chef Josh Watkins is offering a three-course Taste of October in Texas dinner for $29 at the Carillon (1900 University) every evening from 5:30-6:30pm. . . .New chef Jacob Hilbert is doing his best to upgrade the quality of food at Zed's (501 W. Canyon Ridge Rd) so that it matches the beauty of the setting. He’s recently added a Tuesday evening prime rib dinner where guests can get a 10oz slice of hickory-smoked prime rib with whipped potatoes, vegetables, and a choice of dessert for $25. Hilbert’s Texas-meets-the-deep-South Sunday brunch menu also looks very inviting. We’ve got to check it out sometime soon. . . .Speaking of new brunch offerings, Dr. Foo Swasdee has recently added a Thai Weekend Brunch to the menu at Satay (3202 W. Anderson Ln.) with many delicious South Asian dishes priced in the range of $4.95-$7.95. . . .Undoubtedly the most outrageous brunch announcement to land in my inbox is from Parind Vora’s new Bar Mirabeau (800 W. Sixth) where they are offering a Pajama Brunch every Saturday from 10am-3pm with oldies from the Seventies and Eighties playing while guests enjoy Huevos Rancheros Enchiladas, French Toast Jezebel, or an Elvis Monte Cristo sandwich served by the pajama-clad waitstaff. Guests wearing the “sexiest” pajamas will receive a complimentary mimosa. I have to say this idea struck me as just as off-base for Austin as the Jezebel dress code and I'm pretty sure the sexy-pajamas-at brunch-crowd is an as yet undiscovered clientele hereabouts, but time will tell. Perhaps those Downtown highrise apartments are full of new Austinites eager to dine out in their skimpy skivvies. Mirabeau’s Sunday brunch will be more traditional, offering live jazz on the patio overlooking Shoal Creek.

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