Dedicated to satisfying seasoned gourmands and casual diners alike, Palmer’s menu offers everything from sizable steaks and chicken dishes to lighter, plant-based victuals and veggie-nestled seafood. Try the grilled ahi tuna steak with chipotle aioli, chef’s rice, and seasonal vegetables (4 oz., $14; 8 oz., $17), or nibble the tenderloin sandwich with tomato and portobello to harness the necessary brainpower to conquer your Sudoku-based home-security system ($14). A comfy atmosphere replete with multiple stone fireplaces colors the eatery’s interior, and a clean-air garden encourages postmeal relay races in the fountain courtyard.
Waterloo Ice House was named best restaurant in the Austin Chronicle Best of Austin 2010 Readers Poll. Yelpers give the Escarpment Boulevard, 38th Street, Southpark Meadows, Bull Creek, and Burnett Road locations an average of three stars.
Glowing chandeliers scatter light across the sheer copper drapes that frame Pakwan Restaurant's 96-seat dining room, which is sheathed in spice-hued fabrics suggestive of the sumptuous cuisine emerging from the kitchens. Guests dig into aromatic plates of authentic Indian cuisine, from traditional curries and tandoori to village-style vegetable dishes and kebabs marinated in yogurt and special spices. Executive chef Laila Prasla and her crew utilize traditional Indian cooking methods, stirring authentic ingredients such as desi ghee—clarified butter—into entrees before sliding them onto hand-crafted copper vessels and sending them off to the dining room. Behind a black-topped bar, Pakwan's resident mixologist concocts taste-bud-tantalizing "molecular" cocktails, which offer a fresh spin on traditional bar drinks. Those opting for a bar beverage will also be gifted with four complimentary snacks to prep human food processors for main-course meals.
In what was once a generic roadside warehouse, Patsy's Cowgirl Cafe now brims with inviting, kitschy personality. Shannon Sedwick and Michael Shelton, the entrepreneurs behind comedy hotspot Esther's Follies, decorated the ceiling with tumbleweeds and tree branches and built a bar inlaid with mosaic tilework. There's a stage for live music or tomato-throwing duels, behind which a mural depicts a cowgirl on horseback rearing up against the sunset. In the words of Austin Chronicle writer Virginia B. Wood, "Patsy's has great style and personality, the drinks are good, and the eclectic selection of local music is free."
The food is another popular reason to visit. Chefs prepare Texas staples such as hand-breaded chicken-fried steak with cracked-pepper gravy, and they also put their own spin on the classics with dishes such as chicken-fried portobello mushrooms in vegetarian cilantro-cream sauce. There's also a roster of burgers and veggie burgers named after local celebrities, and libations such as the mexican martini with tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and olive juice.
Baker St.'s Oklahoma City menu offers pub classics along with tacos, sliders, and generously portioned sandwiches. Start with an order of the tripper dipper ($7.99), a medley of fresh salsa, creamy queso, and savory spinach-and-artichoke dip served with tortilla chips. Then filch a hearty helping of shepherd's pie ($8.99), a delicacy of seasoned ground sirloin, cheddar, whipped potatoes, and tomato mixed together and served with green beans and potatoes. From tender, crisped fish and chips ($7.99–$9.99) to a buffalo-chicken sandwich ($7.99) and southern-style mini-chicken sandwiches ($7.99), the menu's flavorful items bode well with a liquid companion. An impressive beer selection and a full bar shine during daily drink specials and happy hour, but they also provide an equally enjoyable sudsy-nectar blast to taste receptors at any time.