Not the Best Week of Eatin'
Well, I dragged my Chuy's*/Bone Daddy lovin' team to Smoky Mo's one night last week on recommendation of an Austin resident from a foodie forum.
Now, I hate to say this, and perhaps it was just the location we visited (Cedar Park), but, well let me backtrack a second. One day for lunch, we were on our way to Serrano's. One of the team said he'd been to Serrano's before. Better than Chuy's I asked? He said no. I figured anyplace that could not even beat Chuy's was not worth goin' to. And my new standard for Austin Q, can it beat the Hooters of BBQ, Bone Daddy? (See below.) Sadly, Smoky Mo's could not.
I was put off upon entering when I saw there was no pit, only giant Southern Pride electric cookers with a bit of wood added. The wood in the oven did more to flavor the store's aroma than the meats. It showed. No visible smoke ring, no Texas flavor. Moreover, the brisket was tough. The ribs had some porcine flavor but were nothing special. The sauce was oddly bland, even the spicy version. Bone Daddy is objectionable in some (many) ways but at least you taste the pit.
The best meal of the week was a pre-Thanksgiving spread put out by the client. Second bet was Hoover's. I do find Hoovers a flawed restaurant. Some of the stuff was very well done, the smoked ribs, Elgin sausage, pork chops, jalepeno spinach, biscuits, but other stuff, chicken fried steak, mashed potates, green beans, seemed to be missing something. The buttermilk pie was sweet and delicious, the pecan pie flawed by a lack of carmelized crust. Catfish Parlor had some advantages, being inexpensive and highly efficient. I found the fish and shrimp, however, pretty cheap tasting. I did like the all you can eat sides, especially the hominey.
Being far up 183 makes it hard to try a lot of Austin. In addition, I'm on three Q places not opened at time of visit (Kreutz, Ben's and Jim Muellers). I am sure I could eat better given more control. So far, I have not got it.
Chuy's - 11680 Research Blvd (US 183) - Austin
Bone Daddy's - 11617 Research Blvd - Austin
Smoky Mo's - H.E.B. Center - 183 and TX 1431 - Cedar Park
Hoovers - 2002 Manor Road - Austin
Catfish Parlor - 11910 Research Blvd - Austin
*Standard example of why Tex-Mex gets a bad name.