Flip's Satellite Cafe

A textbook definition of 'tucked into a corner' is the only apt description of the location of Flip's Satellite Cafe, a southwest Austin offshoot of the Barton Springs mainstay

Satellite Cafe

7101 Hwy. 71 W. Ste. E1, 301-1883

Sunday-Thursday, 8am-9pm; Friday-Saturday, 8am-10pm

A textbook definition of "tucked into a corner" is the only apt description of the location of Flip's Satellite Cafe, a southwest Austin offshoot of the Barton Springs mainstay. The suburban strip mall where the cafe makes its home houses an Albertsons, Gattitown, and Big Lots among others: hardly sophisticated tenants. Still, Satellite bravely built a small deck outside of its nondescript suite, jazzed up the interior with Mexican, pierced-star lighting and a rotating selection of art from local artists on the walls, and it serves up an ambitious menu.

While the original location is coffeehouse first and foremost, this site makes dining its primary attraction. The menu is fairly expansive, covering entrée salads, sandwiches, wraps, pasta, and grill items. We stopped late one afternoon and amply bridged lunch and dinner with our meal of lettuce wraps, chicken breast, and pasta.

The Lettuce Wraps ($6.95) are listed among the starters, but it's a hearty enough portion to serve as an entrée. Between two of us, however, me managed to polish it off and still have room for the entrées to come. The wraps are DIY, with crisp and cool Boston leaves on a plate with a pile of matchstick carrots and fried wonton strips. Warm chunks of marinated chicken are piled into a broiler dish with a subtly spicy peanut dipping sauce on the side. We assembled a half-dozen generous wraps with the bountiful supply of meat and accompaniments.

For entrées, we selected the Jalapeño Herb Chicken Breast ($8.95) and the Garlic Cream Fettuccini With Shrimp ($9.95). The full (not split) breast of natural chicken was attractively and perfectly grilled with hatch marks on the exterior that yielded to a juicy interior. It sat in a buttery, herby sauce that, although plate-scraping good, had no discernible jalapeño heat. Still, it's a delicious take on what is often a ho-hum entrée. The accompanying veggies were treated with integrity, too: The green beans were still crisp, and the zucchini not too done.

The pasta dish also won our approval. Sitting atop al dente pasta cloaked in a tasty but not too heavy-handed sauce, the large and plentiful shrimp were fresh and juicy and grilled with the same care as the chicken. The bowl was a luscious treat.

It should be noted that all of the dishes we sampled, and plenty that we didn't, are available with tofu, making for a plethora of vegetarian options.

The wine list offers enough options by the glass and bottle to pleasantly complement the menu. In deference to the heat and our entrées, we both chose a glass of Paggio Pinot Grigio ($7), which worked well with both the shrimp and the chicken.

Although far from hungry, we indulged in the dessert special of the day: Key Lime Cheesecake ($4.25). It's a lighter, chiffony-type cake with a subtle lime flavor that we managed to polish off without much trouble. True to its Barton Springs heritage, a full coffee menu of espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes is available, too.

Satellites typically orbit celestial bodies, making their path away from the main attraction. Though this location is a bit of a distance from the close-in hustle of Barton Springs Road, this Satellite is a destination unto itself.

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