The Austin Chronicle

What's Cooking at the Triangle

By Kate Thornberry, October 24, 2008, Food

Flying Saucer

815 W. 47th, 454-7468
Monday-Wednesday, 11am-1am; Thursday-Saturday, 11am-2am; Sunday, noon-12mid

Flying Saucer is all about the beer: An amazing 80 beers are on draft, and another 120 are available bottled, making a grand total of 200 varieties. It's a beer lover's paradise, no doubt about it. Learning about, sampling, and generally embracing the world of beer is strongly (yet responsibly) encouraged: There are theme nights and beer flights, daily $2.75 pint specials (Sunday is Texas beer night), and recognition (in the form of a memorial plaque called the Ring of Honor) for imbibing 200 pints.

Beer is the hub around which everything else revolves, including the food. The menu is lengthy and reads like a list of the world's beer-friendliest grub: bratwurst, big soft pretzels, pizza, burgers, chicken wings, cheese fries, queso, chili, nachos, and hot sandwiches and then a bump up the class ladder to charcuterie and European cheese tasting plates with suggested beer pairings. Because Flying Saucer is extremely popular and constantly jammed with people, turnaround is fast, and the ingredients are fresh, so the food is better than might be expected. The Reuben sandwich ($7.99) was fine: There was three times as much corned beef as sauerkraut, the Swiss cheese was nicely toasted, and it was properly dressed with Thousand Island dressing and served on genuine marbled rye. The Hippie Burger ($6.99), Flying Saucer's veggie burger, was a generous size and came with a half avocado on top, along with tomato, lettuce, cucumber, and a memorable jalapeño-pesto mayo that tied all the flavors together. Overall, the menu is interesting and well-executed, with a decent number of vegetarian options.

The decor and layout revolve around beer, as well: Everything is done up as an imitation Old World tavern. Expensive dark woodwork and paneling dominate, with bright kelly-green touches at the dartboard and in the lounge area. The outdoor patio is extensive and allows for both smokers and dogs. The clientele is drawn from the cubicle-and-condo crowd; it is clearly a popular afterwork get-together spot. The service is good, but the micro-miniskirt uniform seemed to hinder the servers by requiring near-constant adjustment. (Not to mention, it's pandering and verging on manipulative; I imagine that most of the patrons are here for the beer and would rather the girls be comfortable.)

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