Friday, Jon and I wanted to go out to a casual dinner. Just a cheap burger, nothing fancy. I’d heard great things about the Hyde Park Bar & Grill, which is so-so close to our place, so off we went.
The ambiance was fantastic, buzzing with young couples, large parties with multiple generations and many kids running between strangers’ legs. Fortunately, the division of the rooms (because the building is a house, and we ate on what used to be an outdoor porch) meant that the noise was never too deafening. The wait was somewhat long, but the manager keeping the waiting list soothed us by remembering our names and faces (along with everyone else on the list) and by recommending a 4$ Maragarita that was generous with the Tequila.
The interior was warmly painted and lit like a romantic restaurant would be, which was a little strange given the boisterous crowd. Still, it worked. The lights accented the (amazing) photos that were currently exhibiting. (Hyde Park B&G does rotating exhibits by fantastic local artists.)
It was difficult to tear my eyes from the art and focus on the menu. When I did, the “casual burger” plan went to hell. We couldn’t bring ourselves to pass up some of the other dishes on the menu – like an entree order of Crab Cakes as an appetizer. Then there was the dinner salad (included) with the Blue Cheese vinaigrette. Some diners partook of the menu’s very down-home dishes, like Macaroni and Cheese, and others went with the menu’s more modern items, like the Turkey Burger.
We were on a pure burger mission, so that’s what we ordered. Only this was no simple burger. Kobe beef on a toastd foccacia bun was the most expensive burger they had at 8.95 (there are many extras to choose from, but they do cost extra), and that’s what we went with. The burgers were damn tasty anyway (Jonathan says the second best he has had in Austin so far), but then there were the fries…
Now, I must explain that when I go out for burgers, I’m not actually all that interested in the burger.Typically, I remove everything except the pickles, and then eat the burger/pickles, doused in ketchup and mustard, with a fork and knife (I did not do this with the Kobe Burger because the foccaccia was too good to pass up). What I really care about is the fries. A “burger” night for me hinges on great fries. This is where Hyde Park B&G nailed it home for me – long, perfectly crispy fries that have been dipped in Buttermilk before being fried. I flat out inhaled them.
Jonathan and I waddled out a little lighter in the pockets than we’d intended for the night, but 45$ got us three entrees, two salads, two drinks, a great art show and great people watching. So I think we’ll be going back, and paying with pleasure, frequently.