Super Bowl bites: Get a taste of New England and Georgia at Austin restaurants

Super Bowl 51 descends on one of the country’s best food cities (Houston) this weekend. In honor of the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, I’ve put together a list of Austin restaurants where you can get a taste of the two team’s regions. The following dishes nod to the foodways of Georgia and New England.

From shrimp to fried chicken and grits, Fixre covers a lot of food beloved in Georgia. (Contributed by Fixe)

From shrimp to fried chicken and grits, Fixre covers a lot of food beloved in Georgia. (Contributed by Fixe)

Flavors of Georgia

Black eyed peas and cornbread at Country Boyz Fixins

Black eyed peas, fried okra and pork ribs at Hoover’s Cooking

Boiled peanuts with buttermilk and honey mustard at Olamaie

Black eyed peas, sweet corn and corn bread at Southern Hospitality

Crab and parmesan grits at Perla’s

Fried chicken at Gus’s, Hoover’s, Lucy’s, Fixe, Country Boyz Fixins and Southern Hospitality

Grits (herbavore, carnivore and pescavore) at Fixe

Milk-braised pork butt at Salty Sow

Pulled pork at Franklin Barbecue, La Barbecue, Brown’s BBQ

Pork shoulder with pinto beans, and pork roast with peanuts at Fixe

Braised rabbit at Hudson’s on the Bend

Rabbit and dumplings at Contigo

Shrimp and crab toast at Fixe

Clam Chowda bowl at Salt Traders coastal Cooking in Round Rock Texas on Wednesday, December 28, 2016. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Clam Chowda bowl at Salt Traders coastal Cooking in Round Rock Texas on Wednesday, December 28, 2016. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Flavors of New England

Baked shells and cheese with lobster at Perla’s

Chilled lobster at Central Standard

Clam chowder at Clark’sSalt Traders Coastal Cooking,

East Coast oysters at Central Standard, Clark’s, Monger’s, Parkside, Perla’s

Fish and chips at Salt Traders Coastal Cooking

Linguine with clams at Clark’s, Salt Trader’s Coastal Cooking,

Lobster bisque at Perla’s

Lobster rolls at Clark’s,  Dock & Roll, Garbo’s, Mongers and Perla’s

Seafood chowder at Mongers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queso the Mondays: Azul Tequila, Papalote, Sazon and Torchy’s Tacos

I will slowly make my way around Austin over the next several weeks, sampling some of the city’s notable quesos.  I will post  about what I’ve seen and eaten here as part of this Queso the Mondays series. I have a list of about 30 restaurants, and hopefully it includes some of your favorites. But if there is a  place you think I should know about, holler in the comments.

azultequila

Azul Tequila. 4211 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-416-9667, azultequila.com. ($6)

When people think of queso, they probably imagine something like this offering from Azul Tequila. This is the kind of queso you could find at generic Mexican restaurants across the country. The mix, which I assume used Velveeta as its base, was milky, thick and somewhat bland. The poblano peppers added some texture, but no heat.  Overall score: 3/10

papalote

Papalote. 2803 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-804-2474, yumpapalote.com. ($3.99)

Considering that there is such attention to detail given to process and scratch cooking at this taqueria from the owners of Azul Tequila, it’s a little surprising there’s not more effort given to queso. This one had a smoother and thinner consistency than its sister down the street, with just a few soft green peppers floating around. Again, no real heat to speak of. The chips were the best of this week’s quartet, with a bubbled finish and a gentle shatter. Overall score: 4/10

sazon

Sazon. 1816 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-326-4395, sazonaustin.com. ($5.99)

This queso was separating on top and had lumpy consistency throughout. Raw green peppers and weathered cilantro didn’t do much to express themselves, and the queso tasted like most of its seasoning came from garlic salt. An odd choice. Bonus points for the doily. Overall score: 2/10

torchys

Torchy’s Tacos. 3005 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-614-1832, torchystacos.com. ($5.25)

Maybe they should change the name to Torchy’s Queso. The cheese dip that helped put the Austin-based chain on the map is still the best thing at the restaurant. A ’90s squiggle of Diablo Sauce (made with fire-roasted habanero peppers, tomato and vinegar) puts some acidic sting in this queso that is colored with flecks of skin from roasted green chilies that spread their heat throughout. A minor quibble: The cilantro and guacamole could stand out more in their roles of floral and fatty salve. The chips came out warm and salted, a nice touch. But though the menu says “homemade chips,” we were told the chips come from Austin’s own El Milagro. Overall score: 8.5/10

Chef Jorge Hernández to oversee Austin Film Society Cinema’s menu

final-16_09-25-afs-rendering
(Credit: Michael Hsu Office of Architecture and Designtrait)

The Austin Film Society will open its own arthouse theater in the space formerly known as Marchesa Hall and Theater (6226 Middle Fiskville Road) in early May, and is bringing in a chef with an impressive resume to guide their food and beverage offerings.

Chef Jorge Hernández, who has previously served as chef de cuisine at Qui and executive sous chef for José Ramón Andrés at Minibar in Washington D.C., will oversee the menu creation and executive at the AFS Cinema.

Chef Jorge Hernandez will oversee the menu at AFS's new movie theater. (Tom McCarthy Jr. FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Chef Jorge Hernandez will oversee the menu at AFS’s new movie theater. (Tom McCarthy Jr. FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The menu, which will riff on cinema classics, will include sustainably raised pork hot dogs; cheese and charcuterie plates; small-batch, heirloom popcorn; and local veggies with house-made dips. The food will be counter-service style, with guests allowed to take their food into the theater or eat outside of the screening salon. The full-service bar will serve beer, wine and cocktails like a rum and Coke made with smoked gum syrup.

“Watching a great film, talking about it with friends afterwards, it’s such a great way to create memories. We want the food and drink to reinforce that experience,” said Jorge Hernández . He continues, “we don’t think your theater fare should be a stale afterthought, and at AFS it definitely won’t be.”

 

 

 

Austin restaurant specials celebrating Chinese New Year

 Lions' Head Meatballs at Wu Chow. (Credit: Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Lions’ Head Meatballs at Wu Chow. (Credit: Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Celebrate the year of the rooster with specials at Chinese restaurants in Austin.

General Tso’Boy. 11501 Rock Rose #152, 512-339-6959, generaltsoboy.com. The sandwich lovers in North Austin will a traditional pineapple cake soft serve sundae topped with pineapple caramel (a collab with pastry chef Janina O’leary), as well as spicy pork wonton soup and spicy pork chili wontons, folded in a “prosperity” fold, as seen in classic Chinese New Year traditions.

Old Thousand. 1000 E. 11th St. 737-222-6637, oldthousandatx.com. The new Chinese restaurant in East Austin will serve a six-course prix fixe menu for two ($80) and an eight-course menu for four guests ($160). The dishes include spicy cucumber salad; Lion’s head meatball soup, salt-and-pepper crab, OT clay pot with pork belly, Chinese sausage, seasonal mushrooms, duck confit and chili-soy, and Cantonese roasted chicken.

Wu Chow. 500 W. Fifth St. 512-476- 2469, wuchowaustin.com. The upmarket Chinese restaurant in the IBC Bank building downtown will serve a prix fixe dinner on Saturday night for $88 per person. The special menu, which includes Sichuan lobster, red-cooked braised pork shank, Beijing roast duck with crispy skin, and Sichuan-braised spicy white seabass, will only be available for parties of six or more, and the entire table must participate. On Sunday evening the restaurant will host a party from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with complimentary passed appetizers from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., a traditional lion dance at 8 p.m., and drink specials.

Related:

 

 

Exclusive: Aaron Franklin and partners bringing Hot Luck food and music festival to Austin in May

The founders of the forthcoming Hot Luck festival plan to blend world-class culinary talent, live music and a DIY Austin aesthetic for an extended weekend of serious fun and eats from people who don’t want anybody taking themselves too seriously.

James Beard Award winner Aaron Franklin, Fun Fun Fun Fest co-founder James Moody and Mike Thelin, co-founder of the food festival Feast Portland, have wedded their particular areas of expertise in food, music and production to form the event that will take place May 18-21 in Austin.

While it would be fair to call Hot Luck a festival, Moody uses lingo that resonates closely with many Texans to describe the multi-day event.

“It’s certainly going to be a big ol’ get-together. This is going to feel like the best-run tailgate you’ve ever been to. It’s going to be super organized behind the curtain, but it doesn’t feel that way. And it’s definitely ‘all are welcome,’” Moody said of the vibe, referencing the motto of the Mohawk, a bar and live music venue he co-founded in Austin 11 years ago.

Franklin Barbecue's Aaron Franklin (left) and Mohawk co-owner James Moody (right) are teaming up with Mike Thelin of Feast Portland to bring Hot Luck to Austin. (Credit: Matthew Odam)
Franklin Barbecue’s Aaron Franklin (left) and Mohawk co-owner James Moody (right) are teaming up with Mike Thelin of Feast Portland to bring Hot Luck to Austin. (Credit: Matthew Odam)

Hot Luck, its name evoking a potluck dinner and the heat that fuels Franklin’s trademark barbecue, as well as a subtle nod to legendary Texan Willie Nelson’s stomping grounds, will center around a main event featuring live-fire cooking. But the central activity is just the hub of a wheel that will spin off into multiple overlapping food and music events throughout the day and night, featuring about 35 chefs and friends of Franklin from Texas and across the country (and maybe a couple of international names) at 8 to 10 venues around town.

The founders want Hot Luck to mirror Feast in that there will be a sort of choose-your-own adventure nature to the fest, with people able to select activities a la carte throughout the weekend instead of being offered only one or two major attractions each day.

“A la carte ticketing allows an event to be engaged with by a wider and more diverse audience,” Thelin said. “If you want to buy an all-in pass to every Hot Luck event, there will be that option. But if you want to go to just one or two things, and spend the rest of your time enjoying the city, the region and all of the amazing restaurants, you can do that too.”

The one thing all of the Hot Luck events will have in common? A laid-back vibe and very little pomp and ceremony.

“The thing that is going to be super memorable about it is having amazing, world-class food on a paper plate,” Moody said. “And these chefs want to have a good time. They want to be around their peers and relax.”

“It’s meant to be kind of how we roll here in Austin …. Just hanging out drinking beers,” Franklin added.

And just because the man most synonymous with smoked meat in Central Texas is one of the founders, don’t expect Hot Luck to be a barbecue festival. Franklin said there may only be one barbecue cook on the invite list.

“I want to get people a little bit out of their comfort zones, but I really just want people to have fun and be able to be creative,” said Franklin, who will weld some custom cookery for the event. “People won’t feel pinned into a six-foot table and tasting portions. This is interactive.”

Moody and Franklin, who was the drummer in the visceral rock band Those Peabodys before being anointed the king of Central Texas barbecue, will curate the live music together, and they intend to program a schedule of shows that will have a little something for all musical tastes.

“We want the curation of music to be as thoughtful as the curation of the chefs,” Moody said.

Tickets for Hot Luck are slated to go on sale at the end of February. Pricing and specifics have not been finalized, but organizers said there will be a weekend package sold, as well as a la carte ticketing options. While some of the details around programming remain fluid, the founders, who have discussed creating such an event for years, are in tune with their guiding ethos.

“It’s much like when Franklin Barbecue started. That was super DIY. We made that place exactly how we wanted it; didn’t ask anyone. Don’t care, we’re doing what we want to do. You stand in line, you make friends, you drink some beers, you take your family there, you hang out, and you have a great time. And the hospitality level is hopefully off the charts,” Franklin said. “It’s not just about food; it’s about that whole experience.”

Jason Isbell calls out Chuy’s on Twitter; restaurant obliges

Jason Isbell performs at ACL Live on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. Suzanne Cordeiro FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Jason Isbell performs at ACL Live on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016.
Suzanne Cordeiro FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Update: Well, apparently I am not as perspicacious as I thought. That or the clever Isbell’s Tweet was just too abstruse for me to parse. Or, maybe I just wasn’t deep enough into the language of the Internet this morning to pick up on it. But, an astute friend pointed out that Isbell’s Tweet to Chuy’s about sending in the Foodies to fix the “horrible carnitas” was very likely a reference to Trump’s threat to “send in the Feds” to fix “the horrible carnage” in Chicago. Seems pretty obvious now in retrospect. Well played, Mr. Isbell. I now have egg on my face and will go back to the corner of the Internet that is home to slow-witted restaurant critics. That is why he makes much more money with his words than I do.

In another sign that social media can lead to change big and small, brilliant singer-songwriter Jason Isbell may have just improved the state of Chuy’s carnitas. The Alabama native took to Twitter and, with tongue-in-cheek, called out Chuy’s for their dry carnitas. If he didn’t get redress, the former Drive-By Trucker threatened to “send in the Foodies.”

The Austin-based Tex-Mex chain that went public in 2012 responded with their trademark excellent customer service, promising Isbell the chance to make it right and giving an email address. Isbell, whose “Something More than Free” was one of the best albums of the past couple of years, was either satisfied with the response or shocked at the number of people who took quick notice of the post, because he deleted the Tweet soon after, but a screen grab is included below.

img_8296Isbell didn’t mention a specific Chuy’s location, though there are two in Alabama, so he could have been writing from any number of states. Here’s hoping the carnitas make an appearance in a future tune. For the record: I’ve never tried the Chuy’s carnitas. Also, let the clever Southern gentleman’s behavior be a lesson: you catch more flies with humor-tinged honey than vinegar.

For a revealing, funny and deeply personal interview (as well as a great Billy Powell impression) with Isbell, check out his appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast below.

UberEats will deliver Olamaie’s biscuits for breakfast, and deliver lunch as well

This news could be bad for your waistline. Or mine, anyway. Refined Southern restaurant Olamaie has teamed with UberEats to deliver their famous, off-menu biscuits to Austin residents on weekday mornings. The biscuits, all wispy clouds beneath a firm but yielding exterior, are available via the delivery app Monday-Friday beginning at 8:30 a.m.  And, yes, they come with the ethereal honey-butter that could make gravel taste good.

Additionally, UberEats now delivers Olamaie lunches from 10 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. This news comes just a few weeks after Olamaie suspended lunch service at the restaurant on San Antonio Street. The lunch menu includes smoked Dewberry Hills Farm chicken salad, pimento cheese sandwich, their revival version of a Mississippi Slugburger and more.

Related:

Contributed by Kate LeSueur
Contributed by Kate LeSueur

 

Events: Inaugural Taste of Black Austin offers evening of education and inspiration

Tavel Bristol-Joseph is executive pastry chef and partner at Emmer & Rye.
Tavel Bristol-Joseph is executive pastry chef and partner at Emmer & Rye.

The Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce will host its inaugural Taste of Black Austin event at 6 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Peached Social House (6500 N. Lamar Blvd.).

The evening will feature hors d’oeuvres rooted in Texas from a diverse selection of black Austin chefs and business owners that includes Guyana native Tavel Bristol (Emmer & Rye), Sharon Mays (Baby Greens), Demmerick Johnson (Old Thousand), Iba Thaim (Cazamance) of Senegal and several others.

The night will also feature a VIP cooking demonstration by Jennifer Cumberbatch, associate pastor at Agape Christian Ministries and owner of Cumberbatch Confections, who will discuss the history of sweet potatoes in America and their African roots.

Sharon Mays is the owner of salad-centric drive-thru restaurant Baby Greens.
Sharon Mays is the owner of salad-centric drive-thru restaurant Baby Greens.

The tastings will precede a reception with speakers and a curated photo exhibition in conjunction with the Austin History Center that traces Austin’s food history and traditions dating back to 1870.

“Food for us has been so much of community,” Chamber president and CEO Tam Hawkins said. “Food has been healing for our community, especially when we were transported as cargo and brought over to this country, we used food as a medium to heal our souls and our aching hearts.”

In addition to food’s cultural import, the night will focus on economic development and challenges to the black community in Austin over the past 150 years. The Black Chamber notes that in 1865 there were 19 black-owned restaurants in Austin, and today that number is not significantly higher.

“What’s at stake is a generation of young people not knowing some of that history and not being able to look at their parents as business owners, as well,” Hawkins said. “So it’s more than just food that’s being lost; it’s really preserving a culture and a legacy financially.”

Greater Austin Black Chamber communications manager Hakeem Adewumi, who created Taste of Black Austin, says he intends the inaugural event to serve as the kickoff to a series of conversations created to support black food professionals around Central Texas and educate area youth.

“We want to make certain that youth understand their opportunities here,” Adewumi said. (austinbcc.org)

Where to eat oysters in Austin

The weather’s prime for oyster eating. Whether you like sweet ones,briny ones, or the fat ones with whispers of iodine straight from the Gulf of Mexico, Austin has dozens of choices for oysters.

(Credit: Ari Auber AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
(Credit: Ari Auber AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Alcomar. 1816 S. First St. 512-401-3161, alcomaratx.com. Orange-habanero mignonette gives a sweet kick to the Gulf oysters at this coastal Mexican restaurant from the El Chile family.

*Apis. 23526 Texas 71, Spicewood. 512-436-8918, apisrestaurant.com. Start your meal at this rustic yet elegant retreat on the edge of the Hill Country with market oysters that may include smart touches like grapefruit and elderberry capers.

Apothecary. 4800 Burnet Road. 512-371-1600, apothecaryaustin.com. The wine bar in Central Austin serves a rotating selection of oysters.

*Café Josie. 1200 W. Sixth St. 512-322-9226, cafejosie.com. This neighborhood favorite serves large crispy Gulf oysters with apple slaw and bacon.

Central Standard. 1603 S. Congress Ave. 512-942-0823, centralstandardaustin.com. Coastal oysters in a posh big-city environment at the fine dining restaurant in the South Congress Hotel.

*Clark’s. 1200 W. Sixth St. 512-297-2525, clarksoysterbar.com. Selections like Kumamotos from California, Black Bears from Maine and a dozen more oysters from those two states’ neighbors help make up one of the best oyster rosters in town.

Crawfish Shack & Oyster Bar. 9500 S. Interstate 35, 512-280-0816; 2013 Wells Branch Parkway, 512-252-7556; crawfishshacktx.com. Gulf oysters on the half shell, or get them fried on a po’boy at either location.

Deckhand Oyster Bar. 500 Parker Drive. 512-368-3379; 4211 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-326-1963, deckhandoysterbar.com. You can taste the Asian influences here on oysters topped with a spicy masago sauce, while flavors have a more local feel on broiled oysters topped with topped with chopped bacon and Monterey Jack cheese.

Dine at the Radisson. 111 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-478-2991, dineradissonaustin.com. The crispy oysters with yucca chip, pineapple pico and habanero aioli harken back to chef David Garrido’s time at the original Jeffrey’s.

Eddie V’s. 301 E. Fifth St., 512-472-1860; 9400 Arboretum Blvd., 512-342-2642; eddiev.com. This Austin-born steak and seafood house offers a classic setting for oysters on a half shell. Get Louisiana oysters for $1 at happy hour, which lasts all night Sunday and Monday.

*Evangeline Café. 8106 Brodie Lane. 512-282-2586, evangelinecafe.com. The Oysters Contraband at this Cajun-inspired restaurant are served on top of homemade potato chips and topped with spicy sausage remoulade sauce.

*Foreign & Domestic. 306 E. 53rd St. 512-459-1010, fndaustin.com. East Coast oysters for only $1 are just part of the story at this North Loop restaurant on Tuesday nights.

Hillside Farmacy. 1209 E. 11th St. 512-628-0168, hillsidefarmacy.com. East and West coast oysters are available at this stylized former pharmacy in East Austin.

*Garbo’s. 14735 Bratton Lane. 512-350-9814, garboslobsteratx.com. This nautically themed family-friendly restaurant that started as a lobster roll truck serves a rotating roster of raw oysters from around North America.

*Isla. 208 W. Fourth St. 737-222-6906, islaaustin.com. The Peruvian restaurant that nods to the islands serves raw oysters with a red pepper cocktail sauce.

*Jeffrey’s. 1204 W. Lynn St. 512-477-5584, jeffreysofaustin.com. The crispy oysters at this Austin institution are long-running favorites. Their modern update includes mole, grapefruit and garlic aioli.

*Lamberts. 401 W. Second St. 512-494-1500, lambertsaustin.com. The broiled Gulf oysters at this “fancy barbecue” establishment are jazzed up with habanero tartar and cooled with cucumber.

*Lucy’s Fried Chicken. Multiple locations. lucysfriedchicken.com. The three locations of this Texafied joint serve raw oysters and grilled variations that pile on the flavor, such as the Hog Island (brown sugar, bourbon and chipotle) and Texan (house chorizo, garlic butter, house jalapeno salsa and pumpernickel crumbs) versions.

*Mongers Market + Kitchen. 2401 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-215-8972, mongersaustin.com. Get raw East Coast oysters or baked ones from the Gulf with tarragon, mornay and breadcrumbs.

Pacific Rim Sushi & Yakitori Lounge. 9070 Research Blvd. 512-458-8881, prsushi.com. You can get raw oysters in addition to raw fish and grilled meat at this North Austin spot.

Pacific Star Restaurant & Oyster Bar. 13507 U.S. 183. 512-219-5373, pacificstarfood.com. 351 W. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock. 512-255-3535. You can get your oysters raw here or spice things up with bacon-wrapped broiled oysters with jalapeno.

*Parkside. 301 E. Sixth St. 512-474-9898, parkside-austin.com. Watch them shuck any one of a dozen or so quality oysters right in front of you at this hip and classy raw bar. Oyster platters are half off at happy hour Monday-Friday.

*Perla’s. 1400 S. Congress Ave. 512-291-7300, perlasaustin.com. Sit on the expansive deck where the excellent people-watching and relaxed vibes are complemented by a star-studded oyster menu featuring more than a dozen varieties from across North America.

*Quality Seafood Market. 5621 Airport Blvd. 512-452-3820, qualityseafoodmarket.com. One of Austin’s most beloved homes of seafood, Quality Seafood features a huge oyster bar in the middle of the restaurant serving raw Gulf oysters and East coast varieties on the half-shell and about a half-dozen versions of grilled oysters.

*Salt Traders Coastal Cooking. 2850 N. I-35, Round Rock, 512-351-9724, salttraderscc.com. Chef Jack Gilmore’s seafood restaurant serves fried Gulf oysters, raw Gulf oysters and a small selection of oysters from those other coasts. The Gulf oysters are only $1 each on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Shoal Creek Saloon. 909 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-474-0805, shoalcreeksaloon.com. Gulf oysters on the half-shell at this Louisiana-lovin’ bar that offers a porch with a view of the creek.

*Sway. 1417 S. First St. 512-326-1999, swayaustin.com. This upmarket Thai restaurant serves oysters topped with spicy Thai chili sauce.

Trio. 98 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-685-8300, triorestaurantaustin.com. You can get raw oysters here, but you’d be wise to get them as a part of a seafood tower. Splurge — you’re at the Four Seasons.

Truluck’s. 10225 Research Blvd. 512-794-8300; 400 Colorado St. 512-482-9000, trulucks.com. Oysters in a classic steakhouse environment, with some very serious horseradish.

*Whole Foods at the Domain. 11920 Domain Drive. 512-831-3981, wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/domain. Did you know there’s an oyster and beer bar in the middle of the Whole Foods in the Domain? There is, and their chargrilled oysters are only $1.75 each at daily happy hour that runs from 3 to 5 p.m

 

Where to eat on Valentine’s Day in Austin

Uchi and Uchiko will serve special omakase menus for couples on Valentine's Day. (Ricardo B. Brazziell AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Uchi and Uchiko will serve special omakase menus for couples on Valentine’s Day. (Ricardo B. Brazziell AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The clock is ticking so loudly now that you can hear it from Spicewood to Georgetown. Many Austin-area restaurants are serving special fixed menus on Valentine’s Day, and the surrounding days. Get your reservations locked up soon, because it is sure to be one of the busiest dining days of the year. Asterisks denote my critic’s picks.

Andiamo Ristorante. 2521 Rutland Drive. 512-719-3377, andiamoitaliano.com. The Italian restaurant in North Austin will serve a four-course love-themed menu with sections like Happiness (prosciutto and cheese), Kisses and Hugs (shaved fennel and goat cheese salad), Destiny (shrimp risotto) and more. The meal costs $75 per person (additional $25 for wine pairings).

*Apis Restaurant & Apiary. 23526 Texas 71, Spicewood. 512-436- 8918, apisrestaurant.com. The Spicewood restaurant will sandwich its $95 Valentine’s Day prix fixe, which includes foie gras terrine and guinea hen stuffed with shrimp and pork belly, between $75 prix fixe dinners on February 13 and 15. Wine pairings will be an additional $65.

Blue Dahlia Bistro. 1115 E. 11th St. 512-542- 9542; 3663 Bee Cave Road. 512-306-1668; bluedahliabistro.com. A more budget-friendly option includes Austin’s favorite bistro, which will be celebrating Valentine’s Day in true European fashion with live accordion music. The restaurant will also be serving heart-shaped ravioli pasta and heart-shaped brownies. Large brownies for $4, 75 cents for bite-size, and an a la mode option.

*Boiler Nine Bar + Grill. 800 W. Cesar Chavez St. 512-220-9990, boilernine.com. The industrial restaurant built in the old Seaholm Power Plant will serve a prix fixe menu for $95 that includes grilled Akaushi sirloin, smoked quai, Kumomoto oysters and more.

Brix and Ale. 1101 Woodlawn Ave. Georgetown. 737-444-2700, sheratongeorgetowntexas.com. The restaurant at the Sheraton in Georgetown will serve its Valentine’s surf-and-turf menu from February 10 through 14 for $28.

*Carillon. 1900 University Ave. 512-404-3655, thecarillonrestaurant.com. The fine dining restaurant on the University of Texas campus will serve a three-course dinner for $65 (additional $20 for wine pairings), with a menu that includes lobster salad, red lentil soup, Chilean sea bass and filet mignon.

Cru Food & Wine Bar. 238 W. Second St. 512-472-9463; 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Suite #104. 512-339-4463; cruawinebar.com. The two locations of the wine bar will serve a four-course dinner for $55. The menu includes filet of sole, beef tenderloin and lamb loin.

Dine. 111 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-478-2991, dineradissonaustin.com. The restaurant helmed by longtime Austin chef David Garrido will serve a five-course menu for $65. The menu includes lobster bisque, sea bass and shrimp in a saffron leek sauce, and beef tenderloin.

Goodall’s Kitchen. 1900 Rio Grande St. 512-495-1800, hotelella.com. The restaurant at Hotel Ella at the top of Judges Hill will serve a three-course dinner (starting with complimentary sparkling rosé and chocolates) February 10-14. The meal which includes complimentary valet parking, includes tuna carpaccio, includes tuna carpaccio and filet mignon. Cost is $55 (with wine pairings for an additional $40).

*Hudson’s on the Bend. 3509 RM 620 N. 512-266-1369, hudsonsonthebend.com. The revamped Hill Country classic will serve a three-course meal for $105 per person, with dishes such as roasted beet and carrot salad, New York strip with mojo verde and uni-spiced quail.

*Kuneho. 1600 E. Sixth St. 512-436-9626, kunehoatx.com. The revamped sushi-centric restaurant from chef Paul Qui will serve a seven-course prix fixe dinner on February 13 and 14. The $85 meal ($125 with wine pairings) will include oyster, madai in leche de tigre, rabbit and more.

*Launderette. 2115 Holly St. 512-382-1599, launderetteaustin.com. Chef Rene Ortiz will feature an a la carte menu with special offerings for the day, such as dressed Kushi oysters, dates and figs with Humboldt Fog blue cheese, grilled lamb chops with almond-saffron oil and a surf-and-turf offering of New York strip and lobster thermidor.

*L’Oca d’Oro. 1900 Simond Ave. 737-212-1876, locadoroaustin.com. Getting in touch with its supper club roots, the Italian restaurant in the Mueller development will host a Valentine’s Day dinner inspired by the music of Stevie Wonder and Public Enemy, with guests having a “love” or “hate” dish for each of the four courses. Options will include frutta di mare, caviar, corzetti and arborio rice pudding. The cost is $65 ($95 with wine pairings).

Lucky Robot. 1303 S. Congress Ave. 512-444-8081, luckyrobotrestaurant.com. The casual Japanese restaurant will serve a set menu that includes a salmon and beet salad, braised short rib and a dessert of pistachio-matcha cake, salted chocolate, and raspberries from former LaV pastry chef Janina O’Leary. The cost is $50.

*Olamaie. 1610 San Antonio St. 512-474-2796, olamaieaustin.com. The refined and sophisticated Southern restaurant will host special dinners on both Feb. 13 and 14. The five-course meals includes venison heart tartare, ribeye with Carolina Gold rice and benne oil cake. The meal costs $100 per person.

Olive & June. 3411 Glenview Ave. 512-467- 9898, oliveandjune-austin.com. The modernist treehouse Italian restaurant from chef Shawn Cirkiel will run its Valentine’s specials February 10-14. The four dishes, which include salmon and butternut squash pappardelle, can be ordered individually or as a four-course prix fixe for $56.

Paul Martin’s Austin Grill. 3120 Palm Way #130. 512-953-8800, paulmartinsamericangrill.com. The newcomer in North Austin is celebrating Valentine’s Day Feb. 9-14 with specials like a chilled seafood platter for two ($26), seared ahi tuna with sesame ginger vinaigrette ($32), and a surf and turf of angus filet mignon with Dungeness crab and shrimp cake ($49).

Peached Tortilla. 5520 Burnet Road #100. 512-330-4439, thepeachedtortilla.com. The Southern-Asian fusion spot will serve a four-course menu for $45. It includes red curry noodles with Japanese eggplant and miso scallion creme fraiche, and buttermilk pie ice cream with passion fruit jam.

Searsucker. 415 Colorado St. 512-394-8000, searsucker.com/austin. The Austin outpost of this California-based restaurant is making the most of the holiday for lovers by offering its Valentine’s menu from Feb. 10 through Valentine’s Day. The five-course dinner costs $110 per couple.

Second Bar + Kitchen at Domain Northside. 3121 Palm Way, Suite 101. 737-300-4800, sbkdomain.com. Chef David Bull’s restaurant at the Archer Hotel will serve a prix fixe dinner for $75, with a menu that includes white lobster bisque and beef short rib ravioli. Wine pairings will be offered for an additional $40.

Sophia’s. 500 West Sixth St. 512-580-9990, sophiasaustin.com. The subterranean Italian supper club from Chicago will serve a three-course, family-style dinner for $55. The meal includes cauliflower bisque, rabbit, roasted quail and house-made pasta.

Swift’s Attic. 315 Congress Ave. 512-482-8842, swiftsattic.com. The clubby fusion restaurant will serve a three-course meal for $60 (additional $20 for wine pairings) with options like jicama tacos with harissa-roasted carrots, roasted pork shoulder in parsnip milk with potato gnocchi and seared scallops.

Three Forks. 111 Lavaca St. 512-474-1776, 3forks.com/austin. The downtown steakhouse will serve a dinner for $160 per couple from Feb. 10-14. The meal includes lobster bisque, filet mignon, chocolate lovers’ dessert and more.

Trace. 200 Lavaca St. 512-542-3660, traceaustin.com. The restaurant at the W Hotel Austin is serving a themed menu, with sections titled Crush (strawberry gazpacho), Flirt (foie gras parfait), Be Mine (pavlova) and more. The meal costs $65 for three courses and $75 for four courses.

*Uchi and Uchiko. 801 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-916-4808, uchiaustin.com. 4200 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-916-4808, uchikoaustin.com. The two sushi restaurants from chef Tyson Cole will both serve a seven-course tasting menu with some of the restaurants’ “greatest hits.” The meal, designed to be shared by two people, costs $150 per couple. Regular menus will also be available that night.

Vox Table. 1100 S. Lamar Blvd #2140. 512-375-4869, voxtableaustin.com. The restaurant across from the Alamo Drafthouse will serve a four-course dinner for $100 per person. It will include choices such as asparagus bathed in lavender, smoked yogurt and Meyer lemon oil; wild striped bass; and roasted duck breast.

Waller Creek Pub House. 603 Sabine St. 512-358-1903, wallercreekpubhouse.com. The bar overlooking Waller Creek is having some fun with the dinner by appealing to parties of one.They will serve an 18-ounce T-bone steak, loaded baked potato and glass of bourbon on the rocks and are calling their meal Relationships are a Mis-Steak.

Walton’s Fancy & Staple. 609 W. Sixth St. 512-542-3380, waltonsfancyandstaple.com. The cafe and bakery owned by Sandra Bullock will sell dinners for two to go, with customers having a choice of entrees and sides. The packaged meals will sell for $45.

*Wu Chow. 500 W. Fifth St. 512-476-2469, wuchowaustin.com. The Chinese restaurant in the IBC Bank building will serve dinner for $88 per couple (additional $20 for wine pairings) from a menu that includes shrimp, beef and pork meatballs; beef and shrimp dumplings; lobster and chicken stir fry and more. Their famed soup dumplings will also be served a la carte.