Restaurant Review: Restaurant Review
Artisan sausage debuts in Austin, all wrapped up in bacon
Reviewed by Claudia Alarcón, Fri., Nov. 6, 2009
Frank407 Colorado, 494-6916, www.hotdogscoldbeer.com
Monday-Wednesday, 8am-10pm; Thursday-Saturday, 8am-2am; Sunday brunch, 11am-3pm
"Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?"
"Dad, those all come from the same animal."
"Yeah right, Lisa, a wonderful, magical animal."
– Homer and Lisa Simpson
As an umami addict, I consider pork my favorite meat, with charcuterie as my preferred vehicle of delivery. So imagine my glee upon discovering Frank, a self-proclaimed "proud purveyor of pork & its tasty friends" where bacon is present in practically every menu item, from cocktails to dessert. We stopped by on a rainy afternoon and found the rotating daily specials so enticing that we started with an appetizer to allow us time to choose. The green chile chorizo cheese fries ($6) are a huge basket of house-cut waffle fries topped with homemade chorizo, roasted green chiles, and melted cheddar. "Oh man, how will we be able to eat anything else?" I thought. But once we'd made up our minds, our lunch came out so quickly we had no time for second thoughts. A buttermilk marinated catfish and bacon sausage ($8) came nestled in a hot crusty French roll, topped with roasted green chile remoulade, shredded lettuce, and chopped tomato, like a catfish po'boy without the grease. The decadent foie gras and duck breast sausage with grilled balsamic asparagus and pickled red onions was served in a similar roll, rendered sloppy by an orange duck demi glace. The combination of firm duck meat with the soft texture of foie gras in the middle was just irresistible. Everything disappeared from the table quickly.
We soon returned for happy hour. Having lived in Northern Germany for years, my hubby was surprised to see a familiar currywurst on the regular menu. Aside from the fact that it wasn't served over a pile of fries, he proclaimed the basket of sliced homemade bratwurst topped with ketchup and curry powder to his complete satisfaction. While we snacked on it, we sampled a couple of the house signature cocktails. The Red Headed Stranger ($8 for 12 ounces) is Frank's Bloody Mary, spiked with bacon-infused Dripping Springs Vodka and garnished with a celery salt rim and a jalapeño-stuffed olive, pepperoncino, and cheddar-cheese skewer, with a strip of crispy bacon for good measure. We also enjoyed the refreshing Triple Crown ($8) made with bacon-infused Maker's Mark, Blenheim ginger ale, and fresh lemon juice. The cocktails are expertly prepared and appropriate for food pairing.
The Chicago Dog ($3.75) is a good rendition of the classic. But the winner this visit was the Carolina Pork It ($6.50), a deep-fried 100% Vienna beef frank stuffed with green chile pimento cheese and wrapped in bacon, topped with an incredibly delicious grilled slaw tossed in a creamy horseradish dressing. (Unfortunately, we couldn't distinguish the green chile pimento cheese flavor.) The only disappointment was the muffuletta ($8), a Cajun-spiced prosciutto, salami, and roasted red pepper sausage topped with a green olive salad that tasted flat rather than flavorful.
Dessert consists of yummies like bacon maple cupcakes ($3) with maple cream cheese frosting and candied bacon garnish. And, along with an impressive selection of local brews and craft sodas, Frank also serves great single-origin coffee and blends from Intelligentsia. The recently added Sunday brunch is next on my list to try; I've heard that Frank's fried chicken and waffles is one of Austin's best.
There's also a small convenience store inside the restaurant, featuring some food items, candy, cigarettes, magazines, and gifts, and soon to include Frank's own meats, plus cheeses, pickles, and more of pork's tasty friends.