So when I first started thinking about the creation of this blog, I decided it would be a mix of recipes, my adventures in the kitchen, and reviews of Austin restaurants. Thus far, I’ve only fulfilled 2/3 of those goals. It’s not due to lack of motivation, but more because I feel that I’m not exactly a restaurant-y person. When I was a kid, my parents didn’t really take us out to sit-down restaurants unless it was a special occasion. As a result, I generally leave a restaurant thinking two things: first, everything was pretty good; second, I could make that at home for so much cheaper… which is to say, I’m not very critical of restaurant food and, at the same time, I don’t often think it’s just mindblowingly incredible. Does that make sense? Sort of? I’m not sure why I’m prefacing my first restaurant review by saying that I’m not a good restaurant reviewer. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ll review restaurants that, in general, I like, but don’t expect me to give a professional opinion on anything. So let’s move on…
Shady Grove is one of my favorite restaurants in Austin, primarily because an interesting ambiance is important to me (which is why I also love SnoBeach, Home Slice Pizza, and Sushi Niichi). Shady Grove is basically a refurbished trailer park turned restaurant. The inside has a quirky cabin-like decor, but I usually eat outside. There’s always tons of shade and you can people-watch. The food is basic American cuisine.
I went to Shady Grove recently with my mom, dad, little brother, and two uncles. We ordered onion rings to share and I ordered a Hippie Sandwich, which is what I usually get here: “grilled eggplant, oven-roasted bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, arugula, tomato & mozzarella cheese, served on our famous Hippie Bread with pesto mayonnaise.” The onion rings were a favorite, especially with their famous Jalapeno Lime ranch dressing (which is half the reason I come here). The sandwich is also very good — one of the best grilled veggie sandwiches I’ve found in Austin — though some of the vegetables lack flavor and it wouldn’t kill ’em to be marinated in something before they were cooked. The pesto mayonnaise and arugula make up for it though, and I was pleased that their grilled veggie sandwich didn’t just consist of peppers and onions. However, I would advise vegetarians to stay away from their veggie burger: it’s just a Garden Burger. It always irks me when I go to a restaurant and they’re serving microwaveable food from a grocery store. Rude. Another vegetarian option that I haven’t tried but seems delicious are their Campfire Veggie Kabobs, which are roasted vegetables on a bed of roasted vegetable chili and green chile rice. It’s one of the house favorites and sounds pretty incredible.
On the whole, I love Shady Grove. An afternoon sipping sweet tea outside in the shade is always an afternoon well spent. Check our their menu here. Shady Grove is located at 1624 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX.