The monopoly tycoons of the 19th century traditionally did their wheeling and dealing at exclusive restaurants, cleverly concealing the fact that they still lived with their moms. Feel as pampered as a railroad baron with today's deal: for $25, you get $50 worth of upscale American cuisine at Judges' Hill Restaurant & Bar, located within the historic Goodall Wooten House at Mansion at Judges' Hill boutique hotel. Reservations are recommended, so call ahead or have your butler formally announce you like he does when you enter a public restroom.
Although a part of Judges' Hill hotel, the restaurant is its own affair, a luxuriously appointed and intimate space with seating available both indoors and out. Chef Rob Snow's breakfast and dinner menu serves up a wide variety of upscale American dishes to please even the most picky and peckish appetites. Early birds whose beaks clatter with hunger can savor the breakfast tacos ($7.50)—three flour tortillas stuffed with egg, chorizo, green chile, potatoes, salsa, and cheddar-jack cheese—out on Judges' Hill's covered veranda. If a craving calls for something heavy, round, and flat, order up three buttermilk pancakes ($7.50) served with toasted pecan butter and maple syrup, as well as your choice of applewood-smoked bacon, spicy country sausage, or sweet maple sausage.
Once the meridiem firmly shifts from ante to post, you and your special lady, lord, or favorite UPS deliveryman can kick off a romantic dinner with appetizers as plentiful as strongmen in a boulder factory. Blue-cheese topped mushrooms ($6.50) come stuffed with braised beef and caramelized onion, while spinach artichoke dip ($8) and its retinue of mushrooms and crispy flour tortilla chips makes for happy sharing. Entrees are rich and hearty, such as the coffee-rubbed pork tenderloin ($14.50) accompanied by butternut-squash cake, sautéed spinach, and red-eye gravy. Sea bass ($19) plays low notes of mushroom risotto, saffron shrimp broth, and fried swiss chard. Herbivores and herbivoyeurs, meanwhile, can dance their rapturous tongues through the house-made pasta ($13), hand-cut pappardelle tossed with mushrooms, tomatoes, pesto, and "lone star" goat-cheese crumbles.
Fully restored and re-opened in 2003, Judges' Hill Restaurant & Bar is beautifully appointed with heavy chandeliers and warm drapes that hang over ceiling-high windows. Embroidered carpets, oil paintings, and architectural details call to mind the Gilded Age opulence of a harpsichord perpetually plucked by a trained, ladylike Alsatian. Ponder the storied history of Mansion at Judges' Hill before pondering whether dessert will be Texas pecan cake drizzled in brown-sugar icing and praline glaze and complemented by a side of peach ice cream, or a decadent chocolate crème brûlée served with caramelized bananas and mini snickerdoodle cookies. All desserts are $7.
Not valid toward happy hour. This Groupon expires in three months.
The Austin Chronicle rhapsodizes about Judges' Hill Restaurant & Bar, praising the alluring ambience:
- There is only one small dining room with 12 tables in the restaurant, but everything is luxurious, from the paintings to the decor to the 1950s jazz playing in the background...The restaurant food and service at Judges' Hill were of the highest standard our first night and very good the second. And for a romantic tryst, the intimacy and opulence are hard to top. – Wes Marshall