Sunday, November 15, 2009

Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill

It’s fitting that I begin this online journey with a report on Sunday brunch at Moonshine Grill. Moonshine was the first restaurant I tried when I moved back to Austin a little over a year ago. I was so impressed with Chef/Owner Larry Perdido’s interpretation of classic comfort food that I made it my default “go to” restaurant prior to embarking on this quest to sample every great restaurant in town. At 303 Red River, it’s not the most convenient location, but with plenty of parking available, it’s worth navigating through the ongoing road construction.

Moonshine has a great low key vibe for hanging out, whether in one of their cozy dining rooms or outside on the patio, yet it would also serve as an upscale option for date night. On previous visits I sipped wine and nibbled on corn dog shrimp and baked brie with pear chutney appetizers, which were half price during happy hour. I've also enjoyed an early dinner of rainbow trout with corn bread stuffing, on the Moonshine patio, which reinforced my belief in the sanctity of marriage between these two perfect food groups.

Today, however, it was all about brunch. Every Sunday, starting at 10:00 am, Moonshine serves an “all you care to eat” brunch buffet. Voted “Best Sunday Brunch” the last four years by the Austin Chronicle, Moonshine’s popularity explains why we had to wait over 30 minutes for a table. Considering that we spent that time sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch in 75 degree weather, this 30 minute delay hardly detracted from our experience.

We were seated on the patio by our server, Daniel. His attitude was consistent with the other servers I’ve had at Moonshine in that they have all been excellent evangelists for their product. I’ve been to a lot of restaurants where I was served by knowledgeable staff, but it’s rare to find servers who are passionate believers in what they’re selling.

Daniel first pointed out the two most important features of the Sunday brunch, $3.50 Mimosas and Bloody Marys. I ordered a Mimosa, which was sparkly sweet, and, as always, brought on a late afternoon champagne headache. Such is the sacrifice of a would-be food blogger.

We commenced to filling up our plates with migas, salads, fruits, King Ranch casserole, biscuits with chipotle cream gravy, grits, ham and assorted sweet things. While it was impossible, even with three people, to sample everything, we were able to establish a variety of favorites. The broccoli cheese casserole was a unanimous favorite as was the ham with pineapple chipotle glaze. The ultimate winner in this brunch challenge, however, was the white chocolate bread pudding with bourbon sauce. I’m always on the lookout for bread pudding that meets my strict standards of ample gooiness and whiskey sauce subtlety, and Moonshine definitely delivered.

At $15.95 per person, Moonshine’s brunch is a great value and delivers a variety of yummy brunch fare. However, as a loyal fan, I’m partial to the menu selections, so I guess I’ll have to limit my Moonshine dining to a Monday through Saturday schedule. I think I can live with that.

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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