Last year, Amy Simmons and her team at Amy's Ice Creams took on a new venture that seemed like a natural
Reviewed by Claudia Alarcón, Fri., April 13, 2007
5620 Burnet Rd., 524-1212
Sunday-Thursday, 11am-9pm; Friday-Saturday,11am-10pm
Last year, Amy Simmons and her team at Amy's Ice Creams took on a new venture that seemed like a natural: a burger joint adjacent to one of the ice cream shops. Reading the menu, I was filled with anticipation. The burgers are cleverly named after Austin neighborhoods, and they all sounded delicious. The Allandale ($6.50) is your basic cheeseburger with traditional toppings served on a sourdough bun. The Crestview ($7) is a classic chili cheeseburger, while the Violet Crown is topped with blue cheese and grilled onions inside a jalapeño cheese bun. The menu also offers corn dogs, foot longs, beer, and even Texas wines on the menu. They have potato and sweet-potato fries, and you can order a mix. Of course, there are shakes made with Amy's ice cream.
Sadly, the only flaw at Phil's Icehouse is the cooking.
Knowing that new restaurants need time to adjust and perfect execution, we give them four to six months before we schedule a review. Phil's has been open longer than that, and on a recent visit I was still disappointed. We started with a Mini Burger Sampler Basket ($7.50), which I thought would be the best way to try as many burgers as possible. While the tiny meat patties were juicy and tasty, the slightly sweet buns were very dry, and since the size doesn't allow for too many toppings, the overall impression was bland. For example, the chili is tasty, but there's less than a teaspoon in each miniburger. My 8-year-old buddy Felix really liked the Brentwood (bacon cheeseburger with the works), and I enjoyed the 78704 (with avacado, jalapeños, Monterey Jack, and chipotle mayo.) So my best advice is to leave the miniburgers for the kiddos and go for the full-sized treatment yourself. Felix and I split a heavenly chocolate shake, so rich and dense it only could come from Amy's.
The Hot and Crunchy Fish Sandwich ($6.50) is described as "a battered fried trout fillet" in a toasted sourdough bun with chipotle mayo. Regretfully, the fish was neither hot nor very crunchy, and it looked remarkably like a generic prebreaded fillet. The grilled Foot Long Hot Dog ($6) was not grilled, so the cheese never melted; the bread was dry, and the overall result was disappointing. But my worst disappointment was the fries: Limp and cold, they seemed to have been cooked hours before. I can only imagine how good they could have been hot out of the fryer.
Phil's offers a family-friendly environment chock-full of fun for the kids. The adjacent playscape is extremely popular. The young front-of-the-house staff is enthusiastic and friendly, but the kitchen staff could use some extra training.