Every now and then you hear about a place that is supposed to be a good place to eat so you decide to go try it out, but when you do you think to yourself (or if you are like me out loud) “what were they thinking”? This is the feeling I got when I tried Auden’s Kitchen in San Antonio off of East Sonterra BLVD.
When you walk in the door it has an odd feeling right off the bat. Is it a pub? Is it a bistro? Is it an eatery? Is it a wine bar? Its kind of all over the place. Behind the front desk was a black board with the daily specials written in chalk like lot of kitschy little places do but just passed that were shelves full of wine bottles like a wine bar and to the right was a little lounge area with leather couches and a TV. The front dining room was laid out with a decent amount of space between the tables and had an open feel to it while the back dinning room seemed to be delegated for prep work in the down hours because one of the waiters was ripping paper for table coverings almost the entire time I was there.
When it comes to food Auden’s kitchen has a wide variety on the menu and some really nice sounding dishes. Unfortunately if you go in on a Sunday the menu is cut down to a handful of selections for brunch only which I found a little disappointing. After looking through what they did have available I decided on the Fish and Chips, since the menu is an Americanized English pub style food I thought that this would be a great choice. My dining partner for that day went with the selection on the menu labeled simply as Burger.
When the food arrived it was hand delivered by one of the Chef’s who had the overall personality of a lump of wet clay and did not even look at us when setting the food down and waking away. That being said both dishes looked pretty good. The fries had a good texture and were seasoned nicely. The fish had a decent flavor but I was disappointed to see that the three little pieces they put on the plate were all about 75% batter and 25% fish. I would have thought if they were going to be so selective on the size of the fish they would have at least tossed a couple more on the plate instead of trying to hide it in an enormous amount of batter.
I did try the burger and it was pretty good and made me wish I had put more thought into my choice.
I don’t usually focus on the condiments but have to say something about the “House Made Catsup” at Auden’s. This is something that they make sure to point out on the menu and seem to be proud of. For starters go ahead and be prepared to ask for regular ketchup unless you like dipping your fries in something that tastes like a combination of apple sauce and cinnamon with a little tomato sauce mixed. I did not find it pleasing at all and it actually took a bit to get the awful taste out of my mouth before I could try to enjoy the rest of my meal. This is one of those cases where the person that came up with this concoction is obviously out of touch with their customer base.
I hate writing bad reviews almost as much as I hate the bad experience that leads to them but sometimes it is just unavoidable. So with all that being said I can assure you I will not be making a return trip to Auden’s any time in the future. The food is OK but the price you pay for what you actually get is not worth the trip.
This week I am going back to burgers. This might be because the local newspapers are running a March Madness type of burger joint playoff and it might just e because I like burgers. Or maybe, just maybe a little bit of both. Either way I decided to make my way down to McCullough Ave to a little place called Armadillo’s. This is one of those places that has been around for a while and comes recommended by the locals. It also comes highly recommended by a friend of mine that has been begging me to review it. So without further ado let’s get started.
First things first. If you go during peak hours you may have a hard time finding a place to park. It is located in a relatively busy area and has limited parking at the restaurant but do not get discouraged because there is a public parking lot behind it but you may be in for a walk to get to and from your vehicle. This isn’t really a bad thing though because you may need to burn a few calories depending on what you have to eat.
When you walk in you feel kind of like you are walking in to your favorite old dive bar. It is dimly lit with neon signs casting a low glow everywhere and has an old juke box in the corner usually playing some sort of classic rock. The booths against the walls also have their own personal juke boxes like the diners of old used to have. I know that at least some of you reading this know what I am talking about. The inside dining area is a little on the small side and if it is busy you may want to consider the outside dining area as it is much larger, just don’t fall into the giant cactus.
For this trip I ordered my standard bacon cheeseburger and Fries and an order of onion rings to try because I always have to try the onion rings. The burgers come in sizes from 1/3 lb up to a whopping 3 lb burger. I decided to go with the 1/2 pounder and was not disappointed. The burger itself is juicy with the crispy edges you only get from that hot griddle. The bun is just a standard hamburger bun, so nothing special there. While I usually don’t like my bacon cooked to death and super crispy I do like it to be pretty crisp when it is on a burger just so you can bite through it when you take a bite. If it isn’t done enough then it pulls right out and makes a mess. Unfortunately this was the case with this one, I had to fight it a little to get through. But it was still a very tasty burger, not the best I have ever had but still very good.
The fries are your standard cut fries that you get at most burger places. There isn’t anything mind blowing here because they taste like every other french fry out there, but they are good and go well with the burger. The onion rings were a little bit of a let down for me because there is no doubt in my mind that they were frozen only a few minutes before they hit the fryer. I guess I am a little biased after having the onion rings at Sam’s Burger Joint though. Those are pretty tough to beat.
When you go you may want to try some of the other sides they have as well. You can get Fries, Chili Cheese Fries, Bacon Cheese Fries, Onion Rings or Tator tots. They also do Hot Wings and a couple of different salads as well as grilled chicken sandwiches if you are feeling a little bit on the healthier kick. Overall it is a pretty fun place to visit and they have good food. It is somewhere I would definitely go back to for a burger fix.