Garbo’s Review

Restaurant: Garbo’s
Location: 14735 Bratton Lane, Austin, TX  78728
Phone: (512)350-9814
Price: $15-$25
Hours: Mon-Fri – 11:00am – 2:00 pm, Mon-Thurs 5:00 pm – 9:00pm, Fri & Sat. 5:00-10:00pm

Food (9/10)

(9/10) New England Clam Chowder with Oyster Crackers.
This ‘bowl of love’ was fantastic.  Heidi Garbo is the owner and she bragged that the chowder was her Grandmother’s recipe.  (I would have given it a 10 if I was on the beach in New England perhaps.  Best I have had in Austin though!)  The chowder is velvety smooth and rich but, not too rich.  You will taste the faint flavor of Sherry in the bowl of goodness with potatoes and ample clams.  Don’t shortcut me on clams!  And they didn’t.  It is served with micro greens on the top.  Nice dish.

(5/10) Clam Fritters
Their very light fritters are much more like beignet batter.  They were warm and I am sure they were good.  I just have no palate for beignets.  Sorry.

Service (N/A):

I was there for lunch and they only offer counter service at lunch.  In the evenings they have wait staff.

Ambiance (8/10)

Very seaside and New England feel to the little place.  Tucked away in a strip center on the road less traveled sits Garbos. When you walk in you feel like you are on the streets in Cape Cod or the like.  Cape Cod gray-colored tables with white walls that are wainscotted with brick.  It had a nice seaside cafe feel.  A roll of paper towels and a candle can be found on each table during lunch hours. This is currently their only retail restaurant but, they have traveling food trailers.  You know never know where they will show up.  (Check their websites for the locations each week.)

They were are the Art Alliance exhibit downtown this weekend on Cesar Chavez.  I was glad to see them there and Sophie Garbo let me know that Heidi is expanding the main location to include an oyster bar.  Hot diggity!  I love oysters.  They also offer wine and food pairings in the evenings.  I like the ambiance for lunch.  I will have to go back and check out dinner, especially with the expansion.

Some of their entrees include Cherrystone Clams, New Orlean Barbecue Shrimp, Fried fish Sandwich, “Connecticut” Lobster Roll,  “Maine Lobster Roll” (and there is a difference.  I remember that from my travels to New England) Grilled Tuna, and I want to try the Seared Taylor Bay Scallop Roll. They have local beer & wine selections for your pleasure.  Just check the chalkboard when you go in.

More Information on the Reviewed Dishes

New England Clam Chowder: A hallmark of New England cuisine, this chowder’s roots run deep into the region’s history, where it served as a hearty and nutritious meal for fishermen. Clam chowder is known for its creamy base, enriched with potatoes and onions, and generous portions of tender clams. What sets Garbos’ version apart is the faint flavor of Sherry. This fortified wine adds an extra layer of complexity, elevating the chowder from a comforting staple to a gourmet delight. A garnish of microgreens adds a pop of color and a fresh, slightly peppery note that contrasts beautifully with the soup’s creaminess.

Clam Fritters: Fritters are a versatile dish that can be found in various cuisines around the world. In New England, they’re often filled with seafood such as clams. Garbos’ take on clam fritters is reminiscent of a beignet, a type of deep-fried pastry. While this light, airy batter might not appeal to everyone, it serves as a subtle vessel for the flavorful clams within, allowing the seafood to take center stage.

Cherrystone Clams: Named after Cherrystone Creek, Virginia, these clams are known for their sweet, briny flavor and tender texture. Whether steamed, grilled, or served raw on the half shell, they’re a seafood lover’s delight.

New Orlean Barbecue Shrimp: While not native to New England, the addition of this dish underlines Garbos’ commitment to providing a wide range of seafood options. This iconic Southern recipe typically features plump shrimp cooked in a tangy, buttery sauce laced with spices.

Lobster Rolls: There’s perhaps no dish more emblematic of New England than the lobster roll. Garbos offers both the “Connecticut” and “Maine” variations. The former typically features warm lobster tossed in melted butter, while the latter involves cold lobster mixed with mayonnaise. These two styles represent the friendly culinary rivalry between the two states.

Seared Taylor Bay Scallop Roll: Scallops, with their sweet, delicate flavor and tender texture, are a fantastic alternative to traditional lobster rolls. The choice to sear the scallops intensifies their sweetness and adds a delicious caramelized crust.

Reviewed by Linda for

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