Central-city barbecue spots
Reviewed by Virginia B. Wood, Fri., March 2, 2007
401 W. Second, 494-1500
Monday-Saturday, 11am-2pm and 5:30-11pm
Sunday, 11am-3pm and 5:30-11pmwww.lambertsaustin.com
Lamberts is the newest attraction on the Austin barbecue trail. Popular longtime chef Louis Lambert is back in business here, and his legion of fans couldn't be happier. Lambert and chef Larry McGuire have teamed up to present upscale barbecue, grilled chops, seafood, mouthwatering family-style sides, and an appetizer, soup, salad, and dessert menu packed with the creative American regional standards on which Lamberts' reputation is based. The site they have chosen in which to present these riches is every bit as inspired as the food. The historic J.P. Schneider Store dates to 1873 and is a genuine Downtown jewel. The Lamberts team restored it from the ground up with a classy assist from Laurie Smith Design. The restaurant's interior features distressed pine floors and beams, whitewashed exposed brick walls, and plenty of natural light. Downstairs offers dining service and a bar, while upstairs you can eat, drink, and enjoy regular live music and the occasional old movie. The focus is on blues, but the booking is very eclectic. Meanwhile, the menu starts with quality products across the board: herb-crusted natural prime rib, brown-sugar-and-coffee-rubbed natural brisket, Berkshire pork ribs, Waygu beef short ribs, house-made jalapeño sausage, achiote-and-lime-rubbed free-range chicken, natural pulled pork, and Bandera quail. It's all well-prepared and somewhat more expensive ($7-14) than the local average. Augment any of the meats with more than a dozen sophisticated yet comforting choices of side dishes, served family style ($6 each). Top it all off with a big slice of Lamberts' legendary coconut cream pie ($5) or the divine new fried pies with ice cream ($6). Fancy barbecue: Why not?