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[Austin] Jeffrey's


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Jeffrey's is an old Austin institution and has been around for over 25 years. Lots of people consider it a "special occasion" restaurant. A lot of the buzz I've heard is that it is rather overrated.

Dale Rice reviewed it recently

Austin-American Statesman

Jeffrey's by Dale Rice

Long time special occasion restaurant introduces value bistro menu but desserts are shaky.

"To be a five-star restaurant, five-star quality must endure across the board. With three-star desserts, Jeffrey's drops a notch this year. But with Alcocer-Thomas' cooking and the new bistro selections, there's every reason to go back frequently. Jeffrey's deserves to be more than a special-occasion fling."

My friend and I decided to investigate for ourselves on Friday.

The restaurant is fairly small, about 40 seats in the main dining room, though there appears to be a large private room. The decor is fairly modern and eclectic, reflecting the menu. The crowd was exactly what the buzz predicted: mostly 50+ year old couples celebrating their anniversary. The seating was a bit too crowded as we at one point nearly got into a shouting match with the couple at the next table just so that we could hear each other. My friend was also repeatedly struck by the purse of the woman at the next table as she left to go to the restroom.

For appetizers we had the Crispy Oysters on Yucca Root Chips with Habanero Honey Aioli ($13) and Seared Foie Gras with Szechuan Creme Brulee Spoonful & Nectarines ($22). Both were to our expectations. The oysters were very fresh and fried to perfection.

The entrees were very disappointing. I had the Pheasant with Asparagus Ravioli, Pecorino & Tempranillo Glaze ($18) from the new Bistro Selections section of the menu. The pheasant was not a breast or leg piece as I was expecting but a meat loaf! Yes, it was ground pheasant with seasonings. Granted, the seasonings were great but a meat loaf is a poor use of quality meat and certainly not something I expected to pay $18 for. My friend ordered the Roasted Duck & Shrimp with Orecchiette, Chevre & Champagne Parmesan Cream ($26) and it was also meat loaf! I didn't have a chance to taste it but he felt it was very dry and unappetizing. My complaint here is that 1) meat loaf has no place in a high-end restaurant, 2) especially not at these prices and 3) the menu should have mentioned that the meat would be prepared in loaf form.

For dessert I had the Pistachio Gelato & Blackberry Sorbet ($9) and my friend the Chocolate Intemperance ($9). Both were fine and to our expectations.

This business with the meat loaves was a major turn-off. The appetizers and desserts were fine but not outstanding, especially considering the price. I think the buzz was right: Jeffrey's is overrated and overpriced. I certainly will not be returning.

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Alcocer is just not a very good cook. Also, Ron & Peggy Weiss and Jeffrey Weinberger (founders and owners) are turning 60 and are coasting, they own several other restaurants as well. The thing is that Jeffery's has always had an exellent chef, Raymond Tatum in the beginning, and Garrido for the last ten years. We'll see what they do...

Edited by BigboyDan (log)
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I'm really apalled about the meat loaf thing. I don't know... I normally am very gracious in restaurants and try my hardest not to be a pain, but at those prices, and basing what it was versus what the menu said, I would have been really tempted to send that crap back. I'm actually a little horrified, really.

I have never eaten at Jefferey's, mainly because now that it is somewhat in my budget for special occasions, all reports I've heard are like yours - disappointing. There are other places I'd rather spend that kind of cash.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I took my husband to Jeffrey's last year for his birthday. It was the worst meal I have had in Austin for the price. We had the tasting menu (I don't recall what we ate now), but there wasn't a single dish that we were impressed with. Everything was bland and underseasoned. The atmosphere was ok and the service was fine but it was such a waste of money. If you want really good food & great wine at a great price, go to Mirabelle. They food is consistently good, the service is great and the wine list is extensive and very reasonably priced.

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I think the buzz was right: Jeffrey's is overrated and overpriced. I certainly will not be returning.

Kent, I agree with you on this judgement. I have been to Jeffery's once on a friends recommendation. I will not be back, it was not nearly as good considering the price. Next time I go upscale in Austin, it will probably be the Driskell.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

My husband and I recently had a wonderful dinner at Shoreline Grill downtown, which is also owned by the people who own Jeffrey's. I had the seared scallops over goat cheese polenta and hubby had the tenderloin with crab and chipolte lime hollandaise. The limoncella tart for dessert was incredible. Best dinner we've had in Austin.

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