Located in the historic Ye Kendall Inn, Limestone offers diners tasteful twists on classic cuisine in a luxurious atmosphere. Before diving into the entrees, feel free to dip your hand-toes into the menu's appetizers, such as a creamy bowl of wild mushroom and gorgonzola soup ($6) or the Limestone calamari ($9). Savory entrees include pistachio-crusted chicken ($15) and yellow fin tuna stack with herbed couscous ($19), and a gluten-free menu is also available. Thanks to their impressive wine list and gracious campaign to adopt orphaned grapes, Limestone has been awarded Wine Spectator's Award for Excellence for 10 years running. Sophisticated and warm décor surrounds diners and sippers in the restaurant, including ornate paintings and upholstered seats, and a covered porch allows guests up-close seats to admire Earth’s impeccable hygiene.
If diners close their eyes and inhale as they approach Grey Moss Inn, the scent of mesquite charcoal might trick them into thinking they've been transported to old Texas. Opening their eyes would confirm this, as a rustic rock wall runs the perimeter of the property, which stays cool beneath the limbs of enormous oak trees. For 60 years, much of the menu has gone unchanged, with dishes made fresh every day with herbs culled from the onsite garden. Free-range chicken and aged chops get seared on the outdoor mesquite grill, and the Zagat-rated restaurant keeps an extensive wine list, which earned it Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence 2013, among other laurels.
A high-quality cut of beef really lets chefs express themselves, and Ounce Steakhouse’s owner, who works closely with cattle ranchers throughout the country, provides his chefs with handpicked USDA beef and renowned Akaushi beef. Akaushi grades three levels above prime and is raised in Texas in the strict tradition of Japan’s highly sought-after Kobe beef. With a menu of Akaushi, Angus, and USDA Prime, the restaurant’s chefs find plenty of inspiration for high-end dining techniques and rock operas about Meat Loaf and other fine beef. Among stone walls, original artwork, and sleek, modern decor, diners also relish equally elegant entrees of Chilean sea bass, Australian rack of lamb, and cabernet-braised short ribs. The restaurant strives for the highest fine-dining experience, complementing dishes with wine from vineyards across the globe while keeping small-batch, handcrafted California cabernet sauvignons as its main focus.
Kirby's specializes in searing steaks and charring chops for Texas-sized appetites. Award-winning chef Daniel Nemec serves midwestern grain-fed beef, aged to succulence in an au jus jacuzzi. Prep the palate for a meaty masterpiece with the jumbo shrimp cocktail ($13.95) or bleu cheese wedge salad ($7.95). Peruse the menu, then slice into a 10 oz. filet mignon ($35.95) or 22 oz. Cowboy Cut rib eye ($40.95)—served with homemade soup or salad and a miniature lasso made of baked potato skin. Kirby's also satisfies the seafaring set with the cedar-plank salmon ($26.95).
The Emerald Restaurant's quaint cottage, just minutes from Hill Country Galleria and Lake Travis, flings open its wooden doors to welcome diners into a fairy-tale-like milieu rich with Irish china, lace tablecloths, and fine crystal. Originally built as a private residence, The Emerald Restaurant has enjoyed 30 years as a community landmark under the ownership of the Kinsella family. Just like lunch in elementary school, most meals are presented on a silver platter, showcasing European-style and modern American cuisine including steaks, lobster, fish, and duck. The intimate space sets a romantic mood that frequently attracts wedding proposals and exchanges of everlasting-platonic-friendship rings.
Jeff Blank and his kitchen crew like to joke that other cooks must suffer from a "fear of cooking." That's because, for the award-winning chef, cooking is a kind of alchemy—an ambitious experiment that is sometimes fated to fail. But when it works, Jeff and his Executive Chef Kelly Casey transform fresh ingredients, often plucked from local farms and ranches, into piquant dishes adorned with housemade sauces, such as tomatillo white chocolate, mango jalapeño, and bourbon vanilla praline. Behind the kitchen, a stone smokehouse infuses ostrich, rattlesnake, and venison meats with dusky notes, creating entrees that have won them recognition for the Best Wild Game Dish from readers of the Austin Chronicle.
Diners take in the gustatory array on a patio and in a garden gazebo, surrounded by vegetable plants, flowers, and trees wrapped in petite nodes of light. Even the rustic, upscale décor—characterized by soft candlelight, red tablecloths, and vibrant paintings along exposed-stone walls—has earned acclaim, finding favorable mention in the New York Times' travel guide.