Tried this place last night, based on numerous glowing reviews.
Am I missing something?
I love that the place is an institution, and has been there forever.
But I won't be going back.
The decor hasn't been updated since what appears to be about 1970. Which is great in a retro way, but honestly it just felt dirty.
The tables are formica, with large missing parts on the sides, etc. The walls are panelling from the 70s.
But the real problem is they are about four inches too tall. You sit on very cheap metal folding chairs, and unless you are very tall it's actually uncomfortable to try to eat at that height.
I looked around and entire tables full of people were trying to hike their elbows up on the tables to try to eat.
Very limited menu. Basically half a dozen steak choices, plus maybe chicken if I remember.
The salad, as others have noted, is a one choice thing. I liked the salad. Some may not.
We both had the ribeye. It comes in 10 ounce, listed on the menu. Or they ask if you want 16 ounce. We went with the larger. I didn't realize the extra size bumped the price from $16 to $25. That's not mentioned anywhere on the menu.
The side (only one offered) is a very large potato wedge. It was crispy and hot, but absolutely no flavor.
You can order other sides (like fried zucchini) but they aren't listed on the menu and you sortof have to know that's an option. We had fried zucchini. It was very hot, heavily breaded. Diner quality.
The steak itself was cooked as ordered (medium rare). But I found it sortof tough and tasteless. It comes in a butter lemon sauce. Lots of sauce. Basically swimming in it. It's basically melted butter. I was expecting from the description some sort of nuanced highly flavored sauce. It isn't.
I found myself salting and peppering the steak, and covering it with A-1 to try to liven it up.
The staff was extremely friendly and efficient.
I guess I left feeling like I just didn't get it. A $25 steak that was diner quality at best. Which is basically what this is - a diner.
I understand original charm. But the weird uncomfortable tall tables and folding chairs and really dated decor, after decades of serving pretty high priced food, seems almost insulting to customers. Surely the owners could spring for something other than folding chairs.
Again, maybe I'm missing something. But I sortof felt like this was almost a joke - like something newcomers to Austin are pointed toward as some sort of a litmus test testing how polite you will be about an experience that just isn't that good.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.