Dining Beyond the Chains

Good food moves to the 'burbs

Greenhouse Craft Food

1400 E. Old Settlers Blvd. #110, Round Rock, 512/366-5567
Mon.-Thu., 11am-9pm; Fri., 11am-10pm; Sat., 9am-10pm; Sun. 9am-3pm

Farmhouse kitsch and brightly painted walls signify that this cute cafe means business when it comes to Southern farm-to-table cuisine. But good intentions can blow away like hot-air balloons unless something keeps them grounded. Greenhouse Craft Food's kitchen, while promising, sorely needs firmer footing when it comes to consistent execution. The biscuits served with the Sunday brunch were a pasty disappointment. The crust on the lemon bars was practically cardboard, while the curd topping was about as lemony as milk. The clumsy counter service format didn't improve the overall effect: We found ordering and receiving food to be a cumbersome process, especially during peak mealtimes.

Greenhouse Craft Food did nonetheless deliver some strong culinary contenders. We loved the Gouda and poblano soup for its gentle fire ($4.50). Outside the traditional Southern food genre, the white bean and hatch chile hummus ($5.50) was also a treat. An indulgence, the Big Pig ($8.00), was a lip-smacking pulled pork sandwich dressed up with chipotle aioli, briny homemade pickle slices, and smoked, caramelized onions. The balance between sweet, salty, and spicy was perfect on this very sloppy sandwich. The Greenhouse's Fish & Chips ($12.50 small; $16.50 large) was fried Southern style, instead of with a beer-batter, and made with black drum. The generous portion was enough for two to split. Throw in a side of macaroni and cheese ($5) because this creamy concoction can make just about anyone moan in ecstasy. Changing daily specials ensures there is always adventure on the menu.

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