The Austin Chronicle

Dining Beyond the Chains

Good food moves to the 'burbs

By Wes Marshall, July 18, 2014, Food

Jack Allen's Kitchen

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

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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