Dining Beyond the Chains

Good food moves to the 'burbs

Dining Beyond the Chains
Dining Beyond the Chains
Photos by John Anderson

Jack Allen's Kitchen

2500 Hoppe Trl., Round Rock, 512/215-0372
Mon.-Thu., 11am-10pm; Fri.-Sat., 11am-11pm; Sun., 10am-10pm
www.jackallenskitchen.com

I have to admit a little personal antipathy to comfort food restaurants, but somehow JAK's consistently outperforms my expectations. Take the delicious Carl Miller's Layered Chunky Queso ($8.99): A spoonful of tasty pork plus a scoop of fresh guacamole lift this queso from boring to yummy. Unfortunately, ours came out lukewarm. The server immediately noticed the problem and brought us a piping hot replacement. The last time we dined at JAK's, we devoured their chicken-fried beef ribs ($13.99). So, to partially atone for prior sins, this time we both chose seafood. The Baja-style fish tacos ($12.99) featured tender black drum with a slice of avocado and a generous hit of JAK's scrumptious pico de gallo. The chile mango shrimp tacos ($12.99) were drenched in a tasty sauce and served with a side of small tortillas and guacamole. It also arrived at a tepid temperature. The recipes are usually delicious, but the kitchen's single Achilles' heel seems to be serving temperature, even with the fresh seafood. We finished with a peach and blackberry cobbler ($7.99) with a crispy crust and decadent ice cream topping. If I lived in Williamson County or was shopping at IKEA, this would be my restaurant of choice.

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