Sunday, February 21, 2010

Justine's, je t'aime.

Last night, Ross and I went to Justine's with a beautiful group of friends.

We had eaten there six days before for Valentine's Day.

I officially have a crush on this place!

A few months back, I wrote a little review on Yelp about Justine's.* Now, I've got many more an eatery to visit here in Austin, but from my experience, Justine's, East Side Show Room, and Blue Dahlia Bistro are the three sexiest places to dine in town.

(Of course if someone would like to refute this theory by treating me to Wink or Parkside - neither of which I've visited yet - then by no means will I stop you!)

Ross and I were talking the other night about the things we look for in a restaurant. His number one thing is food. My number one thing is atmosphere. I know - mine is a tad snobby. And if the food is terrible then of course I'll make a mental note of it. But when we go out to eat, I'm much more attuned to the mood of the space, the lighting, the small special touches (like East Side Show Room's steampunk lamps made out of machinery gears), than my food. Vintage chandelier > perfectly grilled salmon. It's true.

I've also decided that waiting has stopped being an issue for me. I'm not a patient saint all the time, mind you - the first time we ate at Justine's we had to wait a bit, and I was most definitely the annoying patron whining to the hostess every five minutes, "how far up on the list are we now?" - but as I discover the restaurants in Austin that I truly love, I find that typically, they are the ones that require a wait. And that is alright. Because the food is prepared by a few loving hands in a small kitchen. It's small because it's locally owned. (And nine times out of ten, I can drink while I wait, which makes things more than ok.) And because, where do I have to be, really. Nowhere. Between Twittering and texting and everything else, I think I'm starting to welcome these pockets of time where things run a bit slower.

Anyway, enough of all that. The REAL reason I'm writing this post is to show you these post cards Justine's made for their diners on Valentine's Day last weekend, and I loved them so much I asked her - Justin Gilcrease - if she wouldn't mind sharing.

Provocative, non? I heart.

*I am a terrible Yelper. This is one of exactly three Yelp reviews I've done, ever.


That Chelsea Girl™ said...

I'll have to check it out!
I'm all about food and the atmosphere together as one entity; I have to have both in order to really be into a restaurant. I think this is because of my step/parents being chefs and bakers and musicians.
The food part's gotten easier to like, though, since I've become a vegetarian, as I used to work as a cook and I can tell when my food is about to taste awful. It's a lot harder to mess up veggies!
About the waiting bit, it really sucks to work in the a kitchen when it's slammed, so I'm pretty patient waiting in line as well...anywho, great review, so I'll have to put it on my list.
Take care!

Camille @ Style Notes said...

Totally with you on the importance of atmosphere. If I walk into a restaurant at night with awful bright lighting and lack of music, I just want to get. out. of. there. We went to Justine's a couple weeks ago...while I normally would have been up for waiting for a couple hours, our growling stomachs won out and we left. But I'm determined to go back...this is the week! XO

Beth H said...

yeah, i've heard justine's is awesome - i wanna check it out! i totally agree on the atmosphere thing, but another thing i insist upon is a restaurant that knows how to make a good salad with lots of fresh & interesting ingredients (read: more than just a couple of unripe tomatoes on a pile of greens)!

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Chelsea - Ah! It's so great having a daughter of chef's / former cook's perspective on this one! Where did you used to work?

@Camille - Right. I'm glad someone's with me on this atmosphere thing. I feel like suuuch a snob, but when Ross suggests a place to go eat, and I happen to know it has florescent lighting, I pout (!) But. Admittedly, those places have the best food sometimes.

Do it! Go to Justine's! Go mid-week, and go early-ish for dinner. You'll love it.

@Beth - Yesssss to the creative salad business. Have you tried Blue Dahlia Bistro salads? The Shrimp Mango one is to die for. Ditto on the Black Bean Salad.

Beth H said...

yes, I love Blue Dahlia! their food is heavenly & so is their back patio. haven't tried the Shrimp Mango. thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Oh girl! Add Zoot to the TOP of your list of Wink and Parkside! Go for the five course meal with wine pairings and don't be afraid of the cheese. Mmm! I totally agree with your statements about Justine's and Eastside Showroom. For serious.

We need to act on that girl date (maybe invite some others as well) to a Wednesday at Parkside. 1/2 champagne and oysters. DIVINE.