Dining Del Lago 2012
In the Hill Country Galleria
Cafe Blue12921 Hill Country Blvd., #120; 366-5230
Monday-Thursday 11am-10pm; Friday 11am-11pm; Saturday 9am-11pm; Sunday 9am-10pm; Saturday-Sunday brunch: 9am-3pm
We first looked at Cafe Blue a dozen years ago in its original iteration on Lake Travis at Sandy Creek Marina. It was a strikingly good-looking location and the food was some of the best on the lake. Its only drawback was the weather. When it was 70 degrees and breezy, sitting on the deck was a lovely experience. But the heat on a Texas summer afternoon would impress Mephistopheles himself. Many of us thought it would be nice if we could have Cafe Blue's food in an air-conditioned setting. Hallelujah, they've opted for Bee Cave's Galleria shopping center for their second location, and the place is crisply cool.
The local owners state their mission as "a celebration of coastal cuisines from all over the world, including ... a variety of Caribbean inspired cocktails by the glass or pitcher." That sounded pretty good on a hot June night. We had extraordinary good luck with our server, who was quite knowledgeable and willing to help. We collaborated to pick two appetizers. First was their Thai-Style Mussels ($12), which were a nice surprise. The broth was a delicious combination of fish stock, coconut cream, and a tiny bit of hot curry. We went through the unimpressive grilled French bread quickly and then started to dip the calamari ($11) into the coconut curry. The yeast rolls were dipped next, and finally I just ladled the curry sauce out in a spoon. The calamari was nicely done, crispy the way it should be, but its sauce was uninspiring, almost as though it had been poured out of a can.
The fish in both main courses were cooked just a touch more than we normally prefer. The redfish ($18, or $27 with Oscar sauce) was firm and juicy, and the Oscar sauce had a generous amount of crab. Someone found a pretty darn big rainbow trout for the Trout Almondine ($23), and whoever was making the sauce did an excellent job. It was perfectly emulsified and its flavors were beautifully balanced. We finished with a huge serving of Cuban bread pudding ($8) that was buttery and rich even before the caramel sauce and Amy's Rum Raisin Ice Cream were added. The second Cafe Blue is a delightful addition to the Bee Cave/Lakeway dining area.
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